Hamid A. Shirvani, Bismarck
Marlys Orluck recently wrote to me and your publication. I share my response:
I appreciate your concern regarding the new admissions index for North Dakota's four-year institutions. I was touched by your reference to our educational freedom in America. Please rest assured that I treasure this freedom wholeheartedly.
Let me address your concerns. While the ACT will factor into an applicant's index score, it's only one of three main criteria in evaluating student preparedness for college coursework.
You speak of students' determination and desire to succeed in college; I agree that these attributes are essential for any prospective student. I also feel that the index's other main factors, high school grade-point average and core course completion, well reflect the effort students put forth into preparing themselves to succeed in college.
The index will not be the sole judge of students' qualifications for college admissions. While the index will give some students automatic admission, case-by-case review of students' applications will still be used to comprise a substantial portion of colleges' freshmen classes. And should students not gain admission on that basis, our community colleges remain open in their admissions, and will now better prepare students to transfer and succeed in our four-year institutions, thanks to the Pathways to Student Success plan.
The new admissions index is meant to streamline the application and admission process for well-qualified students-not to exclude applicants similar to those who have gained admission to North Dakota colleges in years past. I hope that the index is additional motivation for students to burnish themselves for post-secondary education beginning in their high school years.
I always appreciate hearing from fellow educators as we work together in the best interest of our students. Thank you.
(Shirvani is chancellor of the North Dakota University System)