Posts Tagged ‘admissions factors’

Leading community college redesigns math program

Categories: Admissions Advice

In today's challenging economy, it's more important than ever for college students to have a solid grasp of mathematics. To address problems with its struggling remedial math program, a community college in Rockville, Maryland, has changed the way that math education is delivered, reports Inside Higher Ed.

Officials at Montgomery College decided to approach math using an "emporium" style of teaching to improve completion rates at the school. Now, math classes at the community college are delivered in workshop-style computer labs, a significant shift from the traditional lecture format of math courses at the school.

These classes were redesigned because many students enrolled in traditional remedial math programs become discouraged and subsequently drop out, negatively affecting completion rates.

"The issue of remedial math is the key for the completion agenda," Louis Soares, director of the postsecondary education program at the Center for American Progress, told the news source.

Officials at other schools, such as the California State University system, have adopted similar approaches. According to Mercury News, Cal State recently introduced an Early Start program to improve the number of students successfully completing remedial math courses.

If you're enrolled in a math program at a community college, make sure you study as hard as you can. Solid math skills and high test scores in numeracy can be major college admissions factors at some universities.

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What is a weighted GPA?

Categories: Admissions Advice

If you're in your senior year and are considering filling out college applications, you may be wondering what a weighted GPA is. Some colleges ask for this information as part of their admissions process, but what does it mean?

The difference between weighted and unweighted GPAs is how schools calculate student achievement based on the difficulty of the classes. For example, you may be taking some Advanced Placement (AP) classes as part of your final year. These classes are intended to prepare you for college-level material, and are more challenging than regular courses you might take during your senior year.

To reflect the difference in the difficulty of AP and regular classes, schools assign different values to each grade. A student who earns three B grades in regular algebra class may not have the same GPA as a student who achieves three B grades in AP algebra, since it is naturally harder to get a B in a more challenging class. The difference may not be much, but a weighted GPA will reflect the increased difficulty of the course material.

For example, an A grade at AP level is worth five points, whereas an A grade at regular level is worth four points. The difference in value applies for other grades, with AP classes offering an additional point per grade. So, a B grade at AP level is worth four points, and a regular B is worth 3 and so on. This means that, on the traditional 4.0 GPA scale, it's possible for a student who gets all A's in advanced classes to achieve a GPA of 5.0.

Unweighted GPAs are calculated simply by the number of points earned by a student, regardless of the difficulty of the class. Things can get a little confusing when schools offer A+ grades that are worth 4.3 points, but students who receive these grades will still achieve a standard GPA of 4.0 on an unweighted scale, no matter how hard their classes are.

Although some colleges may ask for your weighted GPA as part of their admissions factors, many will not take this into account when assessing your application. Weighted GPAs can sometimes be used to determine class rank, but again, many schools will not use this information to determine whether your application has been successful.

Above all, regardless of whether your prospective colleges require it, you should study as hard as you can in all your classes. When you're filling out college applications, make sure to check whether they require you to submit a weighted GPA. 

Indiana education officials revise performance guidelines

Categories: Admissions Advice

Officials in Indiana have revised the way that funding to schools based on their effectiveness is assessed, reports Inside Higher Ed.

Under the new initiative, colleges throughout the state will receive various levels of federal funding depending on how many students reach specified "credit thresholds." Two-year colleges will be funded based on the number of students achieving 15, 30 and 45 credit hours, and four-year schools have to meet 30 and 60 credit hour thresholds to meet the criteria to receive state funds.

Other criteria that will be taken into account are admissions factors for low-income students and those from ethnic minorities, the number of students who graduate on time, and how many individuals earn degrees in science, technology, engineering and math – or STEM – majors.

"We need more quality, more volume, more at-risk degree completion, and we’re placing a premium on some high-impact degrees," Teresa Lubbers, state commissioner for higher education, told the news source.

States such as Missouri are considering introducing similar incentives. According to The Republic, an education task force recommended earlier this week that colleges in the state be rewarded for improving graduation rates.

If you're thinking about filling out a college application, look into the graduation rates of the schools that interest you.

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