COLLEGE PARK-Want to get into the University of Maryland, College Park without taking the SAT, writing a lengthy essay or waiting for your application to be reviewed?
Just go to Montgomery College or Prince George’s Community College and graduate with your associate’s degree.
A model program signed Friday by the presidents of the three institutions just made that possible. If successful, the program may be expanded to other community colleges and other four year institutions in the state system.
The new program, called the Maryland Transfer Advantage Program, adds to existing rules that require the state’s four-year universities to accept Maryland community college graduates as transfers.
Those rules were mandated by law in April 1998, and since then four-year colleges in the state have seen the number of transfers from community colleges increase, said Barbara Ash, research director for the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.
The law “doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to go to the college of your choice,” Ash said. “It also does not guarantee you get into your program” of study at the university.
The University of Maryland, College Park does admit every student with an associate’s degree from a Maryland community college, Ann G. Wylie, interim dean of the graduate school, told the University System of Maryland regents at their October meeting in Hagerstown.
Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach said as a result of the law and increasing transfers, for the first time her university had to limit the number of transfers from places other than Maryland community colleges.
“We have to accept someone with a two-year degree and a 2.5 GPA (grade point average) over another student who may have fewer hours but a higher GPA,” Dudley-Eshbach said. “A lot of really qualified students are turned away.”
The majority of students who started at Salisbury in the fall were freshmen, but the transfers were more than 42 percent of the incoming students.
The same is true at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where 40 percent of this fall’s incoming students were transfers.
The agreement signed at College Park strengthened an already prominent pipeline into the University of Maryland. President C.D. “Dan” Mote said 60 percent of the university’s transfers are from Montgomery College and Prince George’s Community College.
Mote said 80 percent of transfer students graduate from the university within four years.
“This was the proverbial no-brainer for us,” he said. “These are students we would admit anyway. … We are not lowering our standards.”
Only students from the two suburban Washington community colleges will be eligible for the model program, which will start next fall. They can be accepted at the university after completing 15 hours of coursework or about one semester of a two-year associate’s degree program.
Then students can take a class each semester at College Park at a 25 percent discount, and university advisors will help them plan their course work while they are still community college students. But they won’t actually start at College Park full time until they graduate from community college.
“What is unique about this is the students can begin the transition at a very early stage,” said Verna Teasdale, academic assistant to the vice president for instruction at Prince George’s Community College.
Mote said this allows the students to gradually get used to the size of College Park, which has nearly 35,000 students enrolled this fall. Admission to community college does not require an SAT score, said Steve Simon, director of communications for Montgomery College. Simon said if a student hasn’t taken the SAT, he or she takes placement exams for math, reading and English.