Increased admission standards better USF’s value

When thinking of prestigious schools in Florida, people often look at the University of Florida and Florida State University — two schools with decades of tradition and storied football programs. But the educational quality of a university has to do with much more than age and reputation.

University trends — such as more selective enrollment and higher GPAs for incoming freshmen — reveal that USF should be considered among the state’s top schools.

Robert Spatig, director of Undergraduate Admissions, said USF’s academic standards are similar to those at other state universities, such as FSU and UCF.

USF has received 27,000 freshman applications so far this year, Spatig said. Of those, only about 40 percent were offered admission. This is significantly less than in 2003, when nearly 70 percent of applicants were accepted, according to the Tampa Tribune. 

These numbers indicate that USF is moving away from being just the “safety” school.

A look at freshmen admitted to various state universities shows that USF holds its incoming students to a higher standard.

According to College Board, 47 percent of incoming freshmen at USF had a high school GPA of 3.75 or higher — the same percentage as at FSU. At UCF, only 41 percent of freshmen reached that mark.

“We are looking for students who take AP, IB or dual enrollment courses. For students who are taking dual enrollment, we give preference to those who have at least a 3.0 average in their courses,” Spatig said. “We are also looking at students who have more than the minimum number of math, science and foreign language courses.”

Increased enrollment standards have resulted in a more positive image for the University. USF ranked 14th on the 2009 U.S. News and World Report list of up-and-coming national universities.

Bettering University standards will make degrees from the school worth more.