KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee-Knoxville will join other flagship universities by moving to competitive admissions in 2001 if UT trustees approve.
UT President Joe Johnson will ask the UT board next week for a change in policy that would allow UT-Knoxville to base freshman admissions on a competitive pool of applicants rather than continuing automatic admissions even to those who have minimum qualifications.
A 60 percent jump in applications in the past five years and the policy of keeping enrollment at approximately 26,000 students prompt the recommendation, Johnson said.
Many universities like UT-Knoxville, including Illinois, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, have competitive admissions policies, he said.
The new standards, which also would change transfer student admissions, would be effective for the fall semester of 2001, Dr. Bill Snyder, UT-Knoxville chancellor, said.
“UT-Knoxville is increasingly viewed as a school of choice by outstanding students,” Snyder said. “These changes would help us assure we are providing the courses and other services students expect.”
Dr. John Peters, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the number needed to keep enrollment at the 26,000-level would determine the size of each year’s freshman class. The campus currently has approximately 20,000 undergraduate and 5,500 graduate students.
The entrance test score and grade point average in core high school courses would continue to be the primary factors used for admission. The new policy also would consider class rank and weigh the grade average to reflect honors and Advanced Placement courses.
“The most reliable predictor of success at UT-Knoxville is a challenging high school program. We want to encourage prospective students to take rigorous high school courses,” Peters said.
Students would also submit writing samples with their applications.
The new policy calls for an Oct. 1 early acceptance application deadline that would allow scholarship offers for high ability students to be made earlier than the current Feb. 1 date. The regular admissions deadline would move to Jan. 15 from June 1.
Those not admitted in October would have until the first of May to reserve their admission “slots” by submitting a small deposit that could be applied to the summer orientation fee, Peters said.
After May 1, students on a waiting list would be offered admission on a space-available basis. Scholarship athletes would continue to be admitted under existing policy.
A transfer student entering in fall 2001 would be required to have completed all required high school units and 30 hours of transferable college-level work with a minimum 2.0 grade point average. Currently,a transfer student is required to have only 12 hours of credits and a 2.0 GPA.
Peters said the university would publish an annual class profile for prospective students, parents and guidance counselors. The profile would give high school students an idea of their likelihood of being admitted to UT-Knoxville, he said.
Peters said UT-Knoxville would do an extensive public information campaign to prepare for the fall 2001 implementation date if the policy is approved.
The UT board meets June 17 in Knoxville.