New requirements for admission into the Connecticut State Universities, taking effect in 2015, were voted upon by the Board of Trustees in anticipation of the state’s more defined high school graduation requirements, according to trustee Andrew Chu.
“All we did was literally be more specific, as the Connecticut high schools are being more specific in terms of the curriculum,” said Chu. “We’re trying to make sure their efforts in pushing a stronger curriculum at the high school level are being applied here in college.”
The new requirements include four years of English, four years of mathematics, three years of science and one year of an elective in STEM. Three years of social studies, two years of foreign language, one year of an elective in a humanities and one year of coursework in the arts are also needed to meet the requirements.
Chu, a graduate intern of Judicial Affairs, said the new requirements, adopted on Sept. 23, are more detailed than the ones now in place.
For example, the four years of mathematics requirement now specifies an algebra-intensive course such as trigonometry or statistics and probability, to be taken in a student’s last year of high school.
The new requirement focuses on a STEM elective, consisting of an extra year of coursework in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
“When they come to college and start to learn it here, it can be applied, it can be improved on, but they still have that groundwork that’s done in high school, “ said Chu.
Chu, who is working toward his MBA after having graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southern, said the requirements indicate improvement in the state’s education in general.
“I think it shows that the education system in Connecticut is growing,” said Chu. “Not only in one area, such as higher education, but across the board from K-12. We’re doing the best we can to advance student learning in Connecticut. I think we’re doing a good job of it too.”
James Pechette, a guidance counselor from Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven said he “absolutely” encourages his students to apply to the Connecticut State Universities.
Pechette, who received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Western Connecticut State University, said he is favor of the new requirements.
At Wilbur Cross, students do not need the language or STEM requirement to graduate.
“I am in favor of (the requirements),” said Pechette. “Students should have four years of math and science. I’m glad they’re focusing on language requirements and extra science, or STEM.”
Paula Kennedy, the director of admissions at Southern, said the STEM requirement is important because of the need for students to be able to compete globally.
Kennedy said admissions bases its evaluations primarily on students’ academic profiles, noting how much they’ve challenged themselves. Application essays, SAT scores, and letters of recommendation come second to the high school transcript.
With a rise in undergraduate admissions to the Connecticut State Universities over the last 10 years, even more so in recent years because of the economic downturn, the new requirements are a positive thing, said Kennedy.
“The schools are more popular and in higher demand,” she said. “It makes it more difficult to get in. We can accept students of a higher caliber.”