A new School of Education faculty member recently lent his expertise on direct admissions — a practice that allows high school graduates automatic admission to colleges and universities — to the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, spurring stories in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Wisconsin Public Radio.
Taylor Odle, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, presented his recently-published research on direct admissions to an August meeting of the Board of Regents. The regents are in the early stages of considering implementing direct admissions policies at some UW System campuses.
In an interview, Odle told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that direct admissions provide a sense of empowerment to some high school students who may be overwhelmed by the process of applying to college.
“We know students don’t always have good information on their options,” Odle said.
At the Board of Regents meeting, Odle explained the results of his analysis, which evaluated another state’s direct admissions program. In 2015, Idaho became the first state in the country to roll out a direct admissions policy, proactively admitting all high school graduates to a set of public institutions. The study, which Odle co-authored, was published in Research in Higher Education in January.
The Wisconsin Public Radio story quoted an element of Odle’s presentation that outlined an increase in Idaho’s first-time undergraduate and in-state enrollments after its policy was implemented.
“We actually find that these impacts at the campus level range from between 4 and 8 percent for full-time undergraduate enrollees,” Odle said. “And this was predominantly driven by new in-state students coming in.”