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UI admissions officials happy with 48-hour application turnaround

BY STACEY MURRAY | SEPTEMBER 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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University of Iowa officials say they are pleased with a new application process implemented this year, despite concerns from some that a 48-hour admissions decision may be too much of a quick turnaround.

The University of Iowa adopted a new process this year that allows first-year applicants to self-report their GPAs, test scores, and classes taken, eliminating the transcripts and extra paperwork. Students will receive an admissions decision within 48 hours.

UI Admissions Office officials maintain that all applicants are accurately receiving an admissions decision within that time frame.

“At first when I heard about people doing this, I cringed,” said UI Senior Associate Director of Admissions Emil Rinderspacher.

Instead of receiving up to 20,000 transcripts and leafing through each transcript before offering admission, students self-report the needed information for the application. This information is calculated into a Regent Admission Index score, something that used by each of the regent universities. Transcripts and final test scores are still required before the student officially enrolls at the UI.

Yet some prospective students are feeling a slight anxiety about this quick turn around.

“An admission to a university is a big deal, and I just want my application to go under appropriate consideration, which might be a stretch in two days,” said Kate Huber, a senior at Maquoketa Valley High School in Delhi, Iowa.

While Huber may be anxious about the response time, she appreciates the quick response.

“If it was a longer amount of time, I would spend more worrying, and I don’t want to worry for weeks,” the 18-year-old said.

The speedy replies aren’t the only potentially problematic changes to the system. The students’ self-reporting leaves room for intentional error.  

This doesn’t seem to be a concern for the UI.

“We’ve talked with [other schools] about this,” Rinderspacher said.  ”Students are honest and I think this is one of the reasons this works.”

Iowa State University adopted the self-reporting program three years ago and has had success without dishonesty.

“In today’s times, many students have access to their information pretty readily or pretty quickly,” said Maura Flaschner, the associate director of Iowa State’s Admissions Office. “It’s not surprising that students know what credentials they have.”

Iowa State reported that it rescinded fewer than 10 students last year and not all were due to academic dishonesty.  

If students accept their admission to the UI, they will eventually be required to submit final transcripts, along with official class ranking and test scores, Rinderspacher said.  This keeps nearly 15,000 transcripts out of the Admissions Office, cutting down on paperwork.

With less paperwork, the UI’s process has efficiently responded to applications of nearly 3,000 students thus far, averaging roughly 850 applications per week, Rinderspacher said.

But Rinderspacher believes the busiest months lie ahead, but the work has been significantly reduced due to student-reporting.  

“It concerns me a little that the process is so quick, but if they feel they can accurately do it, then I’ll gladly take a two-day response,” Huber said.


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