Campus Connection: simplifying the application process | Local News


As an admissions coach at Western Technical College, Bethany Jacobson helps guide students through the application and registration process – something that has always been cumbersome and outdated.

Western is an open-access institution, offering everyone the opportunity to pursue higher education. Despite this, an application is still required for admission. Application requirements include transcripts, test scores, and more.

But for some students, getting things like high school transcripts — especially adult learners — can be a challenge.

“Tracking transcripts after 10, 15, 20 years after high school can be tricky,” Jacobson said. “Some schools may not even have a record in their records.”

At the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Western temporarily waived transcript and testing requirements for students. Part of the thinking was twofold: avoiding face-to-face contact and removing barriers at a historic moment. Instead, coaches like Jacobson worked one-on-one with students, determining their academic level and readiness for various courses. In addition to the obvious benefits, it speeds up the application process.

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“We really start by asking about other factors that might affect their academic performance,” Jacobson said. “What else is going on in your life? Do you work? Do you have children? These are better ways to determine which classes and credit load are the most appropriate.

During these individual meetings, students are also informed of the academic support options available. These include math and writing tutoring, counseling, access services, peer support and others. Knowing that these options are available helps students set clear academic goals.

There are exceptions to the transcript requirement. All public health and safety programs except Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Nursing Assistant (NA) still require it. However, the General Studies, Commerce, and Integrated Technology programs have all dropped the requirement permanently.

“People are surprised they don’t need these items,” Jacobson said. “It has been well received by students who fear finding their transcripts and taking standardized tests. This helps reduce anxiety for students who might enter higher education after a large time gap. »

So what was the result? Western found that the students performed as well, if not better, than before.

“Over time, we’ve discovered that transcripts and tests aren’t necessarily exclusive components for measuring a student’s potential readiness for Western,” said Deb Hether, acting associate vice president of the service. and student engagement at Western. “So far the results have been very positive.”

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