University should be careful with applicants

The University’s selectiveness may step on a few local toes on the way to national recognition.

Over the past decade, the University of Minnesota has seen record numbers of applicants for admission. The trend allows University administrators to be more selective when choosing which students to accept for enrollment.

The University is not alone. The country’s public four-year universities saw an average growth in applications of 47 percent between 2001 and 2008, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

The surge in applications is a double-edged sword for both the University and its applicants. The increase can encourage high school students in the state to earn higher marks, and it allows admissions officials to admit students with more exceptional academic records.

However, the inflation also creates tension between the University’s mission to its community and state and the University’s need to compete and generate profit.

Rachelle Hernandez, associate vice provost for enrollment management and director of admissions, told the Minnesota Daily that the University is now looking to both sides of the country and is tailoring its recruitment process for potential students.

While this isn’t bad, it is worrisome when the number of Midwestern high school graduation rates may be waning, as Bob McMaster, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, told the Daily. When out-of-state students, who pay more to attend the University, take priority, it may affect our school’s balance with state, local and community interests.

It’s a delicate line to walk when the University’s peers face similar trends. If it continues, there are other “safe schools” for future students beyond the University.

The University’s increase in selectivity is something to be celebrated, but not without consideration of those it may leave behind.