Texas A&M University-San Antonio will raise admission minimums for all first-year students entering college for the first time starting in fall 2020.
The Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System approved the new standards in April 2019. The decision was made after a working group of 17 A&M-San Antonio faculty and staff members recommended the changes.
Antoinette Curl, director of Academic Advising at A&M-San Antonio, served on the group during the review process.
“We’re making sure that we admit students that are ready to be successful in college,” Curl said. “We want students who are admitted here to be retained and to graduate. We don’t want students to leave after a semester or after a year with failing grades.”
The new admission standards are as follows:
Source: Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s Office of Admissions webpage
The working group was made ad hoc with the specific purpose of looking at the university’s freshman admission standards and making recommendations on how to change them, Curl said. She said the group’s members represented the university’s student affairs, admissions and academic affairs departments.
She said the group found that the university’s admission standards weren’t in alignment with the best practices for student success and retention.
The new standards will be complemented by strategies that address academic readiness and persistence, growing enrollment and retention goals and further engagement with partner organizations to enhance college readiness, according to the university website.
Brandy McLelland, vice president of Enrollment Management at A&M-San Antonio, said she is hopeful the change will help students complete their degree plans at higher rates.
“The intent is that this won’t have any change in terms of the amount of new students we are bringing in,” McLelland said. “Our intention is to bring students that are going to want to come here, are going to be successful here, be engaged their entire time on campus and they’ll graduate.”
McLelland said A&M-San Antonio is partnering with feeder high schools and education programs around the city to prepare incoming students. One of these is Cafe College, a service provided by the San Antonio Education Partnership. She noticed a 20% increase in retention for students who use the programs before coming to A&M-San Antonio.
Lisa Cunningham, executive director at SAEP, said Cafe College partners with 32 high schools in San Antonio, helping students throughout their academic journey.
“Here they provide support services on all things college access,” Cunningham said. “They help students with their financial aid applications, college applications, provide workshops. We have the ability to meet with students five days a week, year-round. There is no appointment needed and students can come in whenever they feel they need to meet with an adviser.”