EDITORIAL: WKU needs to raise the bar

Jan. 31, 2012 Editorial Cartoon

Herald Staff

THE ISSUE: WKU has recently changed its admission standards which will not go into effect until the fall. Under the new standards, a student is automatically admitted to WKU with an ACT composite score of 20 or a high school grade point average of 2.5 and ACT score of 15 or more. 

OUR STANCE: The Herald commends WKU for raising their standards, however the new standards do not do much to change the safety school reputation that WKU has gotten.

Students attending WKU have much to be proud of: a beautiful campus, nationally ranked departments and surging athletic teams. However, some students would agree that the pride they have in attending WKU would be heightened if they knew it was more difficult to get into. 

When the new standards go into place in the fall, an ACT score of 20  and 2.5 grade point average are the academic credentials needed for automatic admission into WKU. While there is no denying it takes hard work for any student to make it to college, these are not credentials that are difficult for most students to achieve.

Changing the admission standards is one of several things WKU has done to improve student retention and academic success in college. Despite these changes, the quality of students they are admitting, on paper, is still pretty much the same. 

The Herald believes the new standards are far better than the previous 2.0 GPA requirement, but more work still needs to be done on WKU’s part. The standards need to be raised higher.

WKU’s enrollment has grown tremendously in the past decade, but would that be the case if the admission standards weren’t so low?

Does WKU want to continue to be known as simply a safety school that ranks among the nation’s highest in acceptance with a 92 percent acceptance rate?

WKU does have initiatives in place that help its standing in the region: the only  Honors College in the state and the many national awards that WKU students win yearly. 

On that front, the Herald applauds WKU and hopes they continue the good work. However, those distinctions don’t completely overshadow the fact that — for the average high school student — being admitted to WKU does not take an outstanding academic record. 

The Herald believes that WKU is on the right track by changing its admission standards, but for WKU to truly be the college it aims to be, the “Leading American University,” it has to admit students with leading scores. And right now, a 20 ACT and 2.5 GPA isn’t it. 

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member editorial board.