MU Admissions aims for transparency

University of Illinois practices investigation 'unlikely' to occur in Columbia
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 10:58 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 13, 2009

COLUMBIA — University admissions practices like those under investigation at the University of Illinois are unlikely to happen at MU, Director of Admissions Barbara Rupp said.

MU admissions requirements

The first step in meeting MU's admissions requirements is to complete at least 17 units (yearlong classes)  in English, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language and fine arts, with each subject having its own unit requirement, the MU admissions Web site states.

The next step is to review students' test scores. If the student has a 24 or higher on the ACT or a 1090 or higher on the SAT, the student is eligible for automatic acceptance to the university, it states.

Students who don’t meet those two requirements still have a chance at gaining admission based on a sliding scale that looks at their test score and class rank.

To view MU's admissions requirements, go to

Students who enter the Trial Admissions Program can enroll in an English and math course during the summer, and if they earn a C or higher, they will be allowed to enroll in classes for the fall on academic probation.

If students need to take the two courses off campus, that option is also available. Some students may need to work during the summer and stay in their hometown, Rupp said.

To view the University of Illinois' admissions requirements, go to

Nearly 800 University of Illinois applicants in the past five years have received support from political figures and trustees who pushed for these students to be admitted.

As a group, these admitted students had lower average test scores and class rankings than the average of all University of Illinois freshmen, the Chicago Tribune reported.

An Admissions Review Commission appointed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is now investigating the undergraduate admissions practices, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Because MU doesn’t cap enrollment and has a transparent admissions process, a similar incident couldn't occur here, Rupp said.

“There is no mystery surrounding how you get into Mizzou,” Rupp said.

MU students are admitted if they meet the university's published criteria, which are available online, Rupp said.  

“Unlike institutions with a cap on enrollment, if we admit someone on probation, it’s not taking a spot in the class away from someone else,” Rupp said.

At the University of Illinois, 20,000 high school seniors apply for 7,000 available seats, according to the university's Web site.

The MU Office of Admissions sometimes receives calls from legislators, but there is a philosophy from the chancellor that they don’t intervene, Rupp said.

The only thing the admissions office can do is let others know the likelihood of the favored student being admitted by directing them to the admissions requirements, she said, and to encourage them to participate in the Trial Admission Program if they are not admissible.

The university offers the program to allow Missouri residents denied admission a second chance at attending MU in the fall.

When freshman applications arrive at the admissions office, they are first data-entered into the system. Next, seven full-time evaluators review them, Rupp said.

When a freshman applicant is missing a core course, Rupp reviews the application herself or with the assistant directors, she said. In some cases, students will be missing one or two core courses, but test well. In others, they will have high test scores, but not meet the academic requirements, she said.

“Ultimately what we are looking for is if there is evidence that this student can succeed at Mizzou," Rupp said.

As of June 15, the admissions office has received 16,171 freshman applications. The final applications received for 2008 and 2007 were 14,522 and 12,125, respectively. As of Saturday, 13,461 students have been admitted. There were 12,139 students admitted in 2008 and 10,262 in 2007, Rupp said.

Not all freshman applicants end up attending MU.

This fall, MU's Office of Admissions expects 5,700 freshmen to enroll in classes, slightly lower than the 2008 class of 5,782 freshmen. The class is still significantly higher than the 4,982 freshmen admitted in 2007, Rupp said.

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