Acceptance with a catch

by Lauren Holzmann | arts and entertainment editor

You have been waiting years for this moment. The moment where you finally figure out where you will potentially spend the next four years of your life, depending on if you applied early or not. You pace back and forth; internally debating whether or not you should even open the envelope that’s staring you right in the face. As you reach out and grab it, tearing it open and quickly glancing at the paper before you, your eyes seem to focus in on two words in particular: “provisionally accepted”.

Over the past few years, provisional acceptance is a relatively new concept that some colleges may choose to offer to specific students. This form of ‘acceptance’ is primarily sent to students who demonstrate some college readiness at the time that the letter was sent, however if the student does not maintain and/or improve in regards to their academic standing, the provisional status may be replaced with a rejection letter. Some schools in Texas offer this as an additional option in order to meet the necessary admission requirements.

Some options offered with provisional acceptance include attending a local community college and earning a certain grade in order to qualify for regular admission into that particular college. However, there is a definite distinction between being provisionally accepted, versus attending a university and then choosing to transfer upon completion of prerequisite courses.

For example, Texas Tech is one university that offers a program in which students can either attend summer school at Tech, or take some online courses, and if a student earns a certain GPA, you may be eligible for official acceptance rather than being classified as provisional. Baylor University offers a provisional readmission. You can be provisionally accepted for your first year, attend their school and in order to be able to attend the following year, you have to earn a certain grade and have a certain amount of hours to finish before you are able to re-apply for the next year.

Provisional acceptance may also mean that your standardized test scores may need some improvement, and/or your overall GPA didn’t quite make the cut. However, there are still ways to improve your status. First, you can either take, or retake, your SAT or ACT in order to obtain a higher score. You can also try and raise your GPA at school to meet the grade requirement of regular acceptance.

In a 2010 study conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, of the 238 colleges surveyed, both public and private, only 148 offer provisional acceptance. Out of those 148, only 33 are public universities. Since the survey was conducted six years ago, the numbers may have risen. However, at the time of the study, the idea of provisional acceptance was still a relatively new concept, but now is another option that some seniors may be considering.
If students receive a letter of provisional acceptance from a school they really want to attend, they should contact the college and have a discussion with their admissions counselor about the best way to proceed. Each school has a different program they offer to allow students a chance to prove their academic readiness for college.

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