A WAY TO LURE HIGHLY PROMISING STUDENTS WHO MAY GO ELSEWHERE
“We started this because we wanted to recruit students the University of North Carolina who were looking at other schools with three- or four-year programs, and try to better compete for those students,” said Lawrence Murray, director of the undergraduate business program at Kenan-Flagler.
One of the school’s recent recruits is Alexis Shiro, a sophomore at UNC majoring in business and political science. She was also considering attending Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis when applying to schools her senior year of high school. Admissions staff at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill informed her she was eligible for entry into Kenan-Flagler’s Assured Admit Program, and she jumped at the opportunity to get a head start on her business studies.
“Regardless of the presence of the Assured Admit program, Kenan-Flagler is a top-tier business school. However, I do think that the prospect of assured admissions lures students that were learning towards other schools towards Chapel Hill,” she said. “…to be accepted early to such a prestigious program was a huge draw for me.”
GETTING A HEAD START ON A BUSINESS EDUCATION
The program has put her in the midst of like-minded high-achieving students, and given her early exposure to business classes and recruiters, she said. For example, she took two business classes at Kenan-Flagler freshman year with other assured admits from her class, had access to recruiters and business clubs and even participated in a case competition, something most students don’t get to do until their junior or sophomore year, she said.
Direct admit programs can be a boon for schools are faced with overwhelming demand for business majors, a growing problem at larger state universities. For example, at The University at Albany School of Business, part of the State University of New York System, business is a “restricted major,” which means that if students don’t maintain a 3.25 GPA by their end of their sophomore year, they can’t declare business or accounting as a major.
The school’s Direct Admit Program allows students who indicate on their applications that they’re interested in being a business major and meet certain requirements (a high school GPA of 90% or better and an SAT score of 1200 or upwards or a 27 or better on the ACT) to be automatically placed in the direct admit pool of students for the business school, said Jason Cotugno, the assistant director of undergraduate students services of the University at Albany’s School of Business.
Besides guaranteed admission, there are other benefits that make the program appealing to prospective students, Cotugno said. For example, the school created “Direct Admit” only sections of financial and managerial accounting and business law. Those classes are more intimate and have between 60 to 80 students, as opposed to the 400 or so students in other sections of the class, Cotugno. Another perk? Networking events start as early as the spring of their senior year of high school, when the direct admits receive invites to receptions at Deloitte and Ernst & Young in New York City, and students get early access to career advising services.
“It is a program that admissions likes to tout to prospective students and parents in order to attract the more exceptional students, “ Cotugno said. “It makes us more attractive to parents, and most importantly, gives students peace of mind that their admission to the business school wouldn’t be in jeopardy.”