Rigorous GE courses required for transfers



    The single most important thing students planning to transfer to BYU can do is to take rigorous courses that fill the general education requirements, said Erlend D. Peterson, dean of admissions at BYU.

    Students who show pursuits of academic excellence in serious GE courses are considered to be students who will most likely be successful at BYU, he said.

    Transfer students come from a number of universities and junior colleges throughout the country. However, more students transfer to BYU from Ricks College than any other school. For Fall Semester 1996, 604 Ricks College students transferred to BYU.

    BYU receives the second largest number of transfer students from Utah Valley State College. Ninety-one UVSC students transferred to BYU for Fall Semester 1996. The rest of the colleges and universities in Utah provide a number of transfer students each semester. Mesa Community College in Mesa, Ariz., also provides BYU with a number of transfer students each year.

    The average grade point average for transfer students parallels that of incoming freshman, which is approximately a B+ average, said Jeff Tanner, assistant dean of admissions.

    The GPA of a transfer student accounts for about 75 percent of the admission decision. The remaining 25 percent is based on things like letters of recommendation, leadership positions, service involvement, the strength of ecclesiastical endorsement and unique characteristics and circumstances of the student.

    The GPA of a student who has taken intensive GE classes will be weighted more heavily than that of a student who has taken only nonacademic courses. With this system, an A in a basket-weaving class is not nearly as impressive as a B in a chemistry or English course.

    If a student has been involved in his or her institute program, extra weight may be given to their application, Tanner said. However, he emphasized that students who have not been actively involved in institute programs are not precluded from admittance.

    Sometimes students hoping to transfer to BYU fear that if they do not have a 3.9 GPA, a wide variety of extracurricular and institute involvement, as well as leadership positions, that admittance to BYU may be nearly impossible.

    While these extra amenities are beneficial, special circumstances are also a consideration in the application process. Peterson related the experience of one young woman who applied to BYU who had not graduated from seminary, didn’t hold church or school leadership positions, and did not have the highest GPA.

    However, this young woman’s bishop had written a letter which described her special circumstances. Her mother had passed away a few years earlier, and she had acted as a mother for her eight siblings.

    After a student has taken 32 semester credits, high school grades and ACT scores are no longer taken into consideration, Tanner said. The average transfer student has completed 50 semester credit hours before coming to BYU. Tanner suggests that students come with their associate’s degree.

    BYU accepts nearly 82 percent of high school seniors who apply for admission. However, of the 18 percent who are not initially accepted, a significant number reapply and are admitted as transfer students, Tanner said.

    Kristy Crandell, a senior majoring in elementary education from Mesa, Ariz., attended Mesa Community College for a year and a half after high school. During this experience she said that she was able to prepare herself for admission to BYU. “I just studied harder and reapplied,” Crandell said.

    BYU is interested in accepting students who have not only achieved academically, but who are also involved in service and leadership positions.

    Peterson suggested that students be diligent in their studies and look for service and leadership opportunities. “Most students can get in, it’s just a matter of paying the price,” Peterson said.

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