Beginning next fall, freshmen won’t have to worry so much about the interview to get into the business school.Currently, TCU students are required to have 60 hours, including business prerequisites, and pass tests over Microsoft Office programs to be able to apply. Then, the students go through a formal interview process, said Dan Short, dean of the business school.
Next fall, freshmen will be admitted directly into the business school, Short said. The business school will give the TCU admissions office a target number of freshmen to base admissions quota on.
This way, Short said, students will be guaranteed a spot in the school early on.
“What we’re trying to do is take the risk and uncertainty out of it,” Short said of the new admission process.
Many students had been nervous going through the interview process and were worried they would not get in, while others viewed the process as a formality.
Jennifer Sims, a junior biology major, said her roommate worried about getting admitted to the school.
“She went to look for a business suit six months before the interview and was freaking out every day until the interview,” Sims said.
But Keegan Martin, a junior business and criminal justice major, said she has never heard of students not being admitted and said the new process seems almost the same.
However, every semester, some students are turned down.
In spring 2005, 275 students applied and 256 were admitted and in fall 2004, 117 students applied and 91 students were admitted, said Lynn Cole, director of the Neeley Student Resource Center.
Short said students are advised regularly and when they have reached 30 to 40 hours, if it looks like they will not be admitted to the school, they are strongly advised to switch majors.
“We don’t want people to get (to 60 hours) and not make it,” Short said.
Lauren Vaughan, a junior accounting and finance major, said she knows some students do not make it into the school and said it puts them behind. She said some students will wait and apply again the following semester, but said others change their majors.
“I think it’s to the students advantage that they are changing it,” Vaughan said. “It gives them a better idea about their future at TCU.”
Next fall, students will be guaranteed a spot in the business school, but they will still be required to pass all the Microsoft Office tests, go through a formal interview and keep their grade point averages above a 2.75.
Short said it will be more of a pass or fail situation. If students complete everything, they will remain in the business school.
For example, Short said, if an interview does not go well, the student will have to take a class on interviewing skills and try again.
“I think it will reduce the anxiety,” Short said. “It won’t be used as a screening process.”
The business school will still allow for transfer students, but admission into the school will be more competitive and a spot is not guaranteed.
“People who transfer have some degree of risk,” Short said.
The admission process varies at other schools, such as Baylor and Southern Methodist universities.
Blaine McCormick, associate dean for undergraduate programs at Baylor’s business school, said they admit students after completing 60 hours because they want to base admission on college performance.
But he said schools that do so must have an early-warning system to track students to let them know of any concerns.
Even if students know they are not doing well in the core business courses and are thinking about changing majors, McCormick said, they need to hear it from someone else, too, such as an adviser.
“(Students) are looking for extreme validation that it isn’t working,” he said.
McCormick said he likes admitting students into the business school based on their college performance because not a lot of students go into college wanting to be a business major. Instead, he said, many think they want to be doctors or lawyers.
“Once they are on a college campus, they can see the opportunities of being a business major,” McCormick said.
SMU has a different approach. There are two ways to be admitted into the business school at SMU: a program for high-achieving high school students and an application process after 45 hours of college coursework.
Stephanie Dupaul, director of admission of undergraduate programs, said entering freshmen can be admitted to SMU’s business school through the Business Scholars Program. The school looks for quality students with exceptional high school grade point averages and SAT scores.
The ones who don’t get in through the Business Scholars Program can apply after taking 45 hours, including a subset of business courses.
“We don’t want to close that door,” Dupaul said. “We want to reward kids who do well here at SMU.