Originally created 07/20/02

UGA will change entrance policy



ATHENS, Ga. - SAT scores and grades still will be weighted heavily in University of Georgia admissions, but factors such as student essays and the level of course curriculum likely will get more careful scrutiny under a suggested revamp of the university's entrance process.

University of Georgia President Michael Adams is scheduled to announce changes to the admissions policy July 31. The university is revamping its policy after losing a court battle to keep a slight minority preference.

UGA's admissions policy for 2003 is being overhauled in the wake of the university's losing court battle to keep its race preference, which gave a slight boost to minority applicants.

A subcommittee of faculty and administrators has recommended that faculty pitch in to read more files and dig deeper into applicants' backgrounds, giving more flexibility to next year's admissions choices.

"There's going to be a more definitive reading of every file, with an academic assessment of every file," university spokesman Tom Jackson said. However, Mr. Jackson said "the vast majority" of new students will likely still be ushered in based solely on grades and test scores.

Mr. Jackson said the 2003 entrance process has not been finalized and will likely undergo continued study and revision throughout the school year.

Last year, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that UGA's admissions policy arbitrarily granted preferences to minority applicants and did little to promote diversity. The court found the policy unconstitutional. This year, high school seniors applying to enter the school were evaluated without regard to race, gender or county of origin.

Also gone from the admissions process were evaluations on legacy - the tradition of favoring applicants who are related to UGA graduates.

This fall's freshman class of about 4,300 students was admitted on the basis of an interim formula that combines high school grades with standardized test scores.

The changes for next year's process are being studied behind closed doors by an ad hoc first-year task force. It started by recommending traits such as integrity that should be sought by the school, then it went on to study application processes at other schools and to meet with consultants.

Final recommendations must meet approval of Mr. Adams and the UGA faculty admissions committee.