One of Iowa’s Regents institutions has cut the freshman admissions process from several weeks down to a couple days. Iowa State University senior associate director of admissions Phil Caffrey believes I.S.U. is the first school in the Midwest to offer the simple, online program. It allows high school seniors to submit their application and receive notification of their admission in two business days.
“But it’s not just about dramatically reducing the turnaround time on applications,” Caffrey said. “Our new process means there will be approximately 10,000 fewer high school transcripts that we’ll have to receive, sort, scan, index, data enter and manually evaluate. We’ll save thousands of dollars in overtime expenses.”
Most high school seniors apply to multiple colleges and universities between October and February. Many will wait for weeks or months to learn where they’re accepted. Caffrey says he and other admissions officials at I.S.U. began investigating a streamlined program about this time last year as they were working overtime to process applications. They found Rutgers, Georgia and UCLA had been offering rapid response decisions for years.
“So, we took a look at how they went about it and we think we improved the process even more,” Caffrey said. Unlike the other online admissions programs, I.S.U. doesn’t require a list of every course the student took in high school. Instead, I.S.U.’s process covers four questions about the student’s class rank, ACT score, grade point average and the English, math, science, social studies and foreign language courses covered in high school.
“From those four answers, we will make the admissions decision,” Caffrey said. “The thing I do want to emphasize is that we do require every student who is offered admission must have an official final transcript sent to us after graduation. Those transcripts will be reviewed very carefully to ensure that the student does indeed meet the admission requirements.”
Caffrey says I.S.U. receives roughly 15,000 freshman applications every year, but 10,000 of them ultimately don’t end up attending Iowa State.