University admitting fewer freshman applicants

USF will accept less than half of its freshman applicants for the next academic school year, partly because Admissions has increased its standards and a greater number of high school graduates have been applying to college in recent years.

The Tampa campus has received 27,000 freshman applications thus far, said Director of Undergraduate Admissions Robert Spatig. USF’s rolling admission deadline is April 15.

Spatig said that of those 27,000, roughly 10,600 students — almost 40 percent — were offered admission to the University.

“Our intent is to enroll somewhere around 4,200, which is the same as we did last year,” he said.

In the past few years, USF’s academic standards for admission have increased, Spatig said.

“I think a lot of people are surprised because they are getting into FSU or UCF, but they aren’t being admitted to USF,” he said. “We are looking for different things now, things that we specifically know attribute to student success at USF.”

Spatig said admission requirements are different this year than in the past.

“We look for a certain number of what we consider to be ‘academic success factors,'” he said. “These factors are based on students who have been the most successful at USF.”

This was the first year the Office of Undergraduate Admissions used the SAT writing portion and ACT with essay as factors in its decision process, Spatig said.

“We are looking for students with an SAT writing score of 550 or above, and for the ACT with essay we want students to have a (combined) English/writing sub score of 24 or above,” he said.

USF looks for students who did more than the minimal load of coursework in high school.

“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.”

Spatig said not all students will have to meet those requirements.

USF Admissions officers look first at grades, then at academic successes and test scores, which are less of a factor for students with a 3.4 GPA or above.

Spatig said Admissions is also increasing the number of freshmen in the Summer B session.

Glen Besterfield, associate dean for Undergraduate Studies, said Academic and Student Affairs are working together to establish “Summer Stampede,” a program that will admit an additional 300 to 350 freshmen who are first-generation college students.

The program will require students to take two summer classes — University Experience and one of four general education courses that are selected by the University, Besterfield said.

He said the offices plan to offer fun activities for students participating in the program, such as Movies on the Lawn, which is usually not offered during the summer, or a trip to the Riverfront Park ropes course so freshmen can make friends with their classmates.

As in previous years, USF will admit first-generation students to the Freshman Summer Institute and the Student Support Services Program, which together will enroll another 300 freshmen, Besterfield said. The students in each program will be housed in separate residence halls.

He said USF will select roughly 200 “gunners” — freshmen who want to start classes in the summer — as well.