College readiness dampens success

Katie Wilborn/The News

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

 

Students who fail to meet the standard admission criteria for Murray State are the main focus of the College Readiness program, which makes college available for those who otherwise would not meet the requirements.

With College Readiness, those who score below the American College Testing benchmark in reading, math and English can gain conditional admittance to Murray State, take remedial classes to make up for low scores and begin their college careers.

To gain traditional admission to Murray State, students must score an 18 on the ACT and have either a 3.0 GPA or rank in the top half of their high school class.

However, under College Readiness, students can still gain admittance with ACT subscores between 11 and 36.

While the program is effective for students who are below the benchmark for one subject, 5 percent of freshmen are in the College Readiness program for all three subjects.

It seems like the program means well by offering an avenue for students who have trouble getting into college, but College Readiness can also hurt students who are not ready.

College Readiness encourages students who fell below the benchmark in more than one subject to attend Murray State when they need to be more academically prepared. Students who score as low as an 11 on a section of the ACT will likely not be successful in college-level courses.

Situations like this make us wonder whether the University cares about the educational success of these students or if they just want their tuition money.

Murray State’s acceptance rate is at 82 percent, which is slightly lower than that of Morehead State, which has an 89 percent acceptance rate and of Western Kentucky at 92.3 percent. The six-year graduation rate of Murray State is at 54.2 percent, which also beats the likes of Western Kentucky (50 percent) and Morehead State (45 percent).

For now, we are statistically competitive with neighboring universities in the state, but there is a chance that the College Readiness program will hurt these numbers.

Retention rates will lower after more freshmen withdraw after an unexpectedly difficult first semester and, in turn, graduation rates will also fall.

The program allows students below the benchmark to enroll at Murray State, but it does little to ensure their long term academic success.

The University’s acceptance rate proves that the admission requirements are not too out of reach for most. According to the ACT’s official website, the national average ACT score lies between a 20 and a 21, which is above the requirement.

Taking in students who did not excel in high school makes the University function more as a cutthroat business and not an institution that promotes quality education. Students are paying for a service and Murray State should offer the best service available.

College Readiness is an effective program for those who struggle in one subject, but excel in other areas.

However, it also attracts students who should wait before enrolling in a college curriculum. In turn, these students may be forced to withdraw and face looming debt after enrolling under the false promises that they were ready to pursue and also succeed in higher education.