Next year, admission changes to the University of Calgary will affect both incoming and current students.
Currently, frosh students can directly enter only the Faculty of Communication and Culture, Engineering, Nursing, Kinesiology and Fine Arts. In the Faculty of Communication and Culture, students spend one or two years in pre-program before applying to other programs such as Management or Biological Sciences. However, in fall 2002, frosh students will be able to apply directly to most faculties and programs without spending a year in pre-program--a change that some at U of C welcome and others continue to express concerns about.
According to student advisors, quota programs are going to be "interesting." Some will continue as before, but others will need to balance new students, transfer students and current students.
"Some quota programs you're entitled to change into in your second or third year," said Acting Assistant Registrar Fred Rosmanitz. "You don't have to apply in your first year. You can apply to it with credit elsewhere or here. They have a quota for each year and they know how many students are coming in. The change is in some programs, like Management, where students can enter a quota program in the first year where in the past it was after General Studies."
In particular, the Faculty of Management is not changing anything for current students wishing to enrol in Management in fall 2002. However, this year's frosh will directly enter the faculty.
"For fall 2002, we'll have direct admission from high school, second year and third year," said Associate Dean of Management Lynne Ricker.
But in 2003, Management will no longer admit second year studentss.
"There's no pre-program for them," explained Ricker. "[Students who are not admitted in third year] are recommended to take a different degree and minor in business."
However, Nic Porco, Students' Union Vice-President Academic, has concerns with those plans, especially in regards to grade point average.
"The third-year GPA will go way up," said Porco. "The third-year students are going to be in for a surprise. They may leave the university or may be forced to stop their education at that point."
According to the Acting Director of the Undergraduate Program Office Natalie Lindsay, many changes in advising came from the Student Advising Review Team. One change is the name change from Undergraduate Student Affairs Office to Undergraduate Programs Office.
"One of the proposals of the [SART] report was that there would be an overall committee to oversee advising on campus and provide a uniformity of administration," said Lindsay. "[The committee] would be the Academic Advising Coordinating Committee. It has been set up by [Associate Vice-President Student Affairs] Dr. Patterson's office. In addition, we used to report to the Faculty of Communication and Culture and now that has changed so it's clearer. We report to a management committee made up of the deans and associate deans of the [Faculty of Science, Social Science, Humanities and Communication and Culture]. It will have student members and staff members."
Another change student advisors might have to grapple with is a change in academic probation.
"Up until now, if a student had a GPA between 1.5 and 2 at the end of each winter term, then they could be placed on probation to raise their average back to a 2," said Lindsay. "The faculty is raising the lower level of that average to 1.7. That'll be a higher bar for students to meet to continue."
While Lindsay is fully confident in student advisor's preparation, Porco is worried about the quality of advising.
"As long as you consider the current advising to be good, then the new [frosh] will have as good a time with it," said Porco. "But I sometimes question the current quality of advising. If students were getting good advising, they'll continue to get good advising. But the students who weren't, they aren't going to get any better advising and it may get worse."
Prospective students and recruitment
Issues surrounding prospective students include "richer" faculties, possibly over-recruiting students with resources "poorer" faculties do not have. A forthcoming Director of Enrolment Services is expected to address those issues.
In addition to the Director of Enrolment Services, the Prospective Student Office is informing incoming high school students.
"The main thing is we're in communication with high schools," said PSO Recruitment Officer Shannon May. "We'll update counsellors from all over Alberta. We're keeping high schools up to speed with the changes that are occurring. The main focus is direct entry. We'll have a panel to answer questions that counsellors might have."
The PSO is aware that some faculties may aggressively recruit students but have planned events like "U of C and You" as coordinated recruitment so every faculty has a voice.
The general opinion of the administrators and faculties interviewed is that they are ready for fall 2002. Porco, however, is hesitant.
"I think that the university is still grappling with issues," said Porco. "I think certain people wonder why we did direct entry at all. I'd rather not name names but they're important people that should be confident about direct entry."