Changes in admission requirements make graduate work more accessible

PLAINVIEW – Changes in admission requirements at Wayland Baptist University should make graduate education more accessible to students in the future. Approval by the Board of Trustees on March 22 made the changes official.

According to Amanda Stanton, coordinator of graduate records for WBU, admissions for graduate students will no longer require entrance exams such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Instead, admissions will be based on undergraduate coursework grades.

“We did an extensive study on procedures in graduate admissions from many other schools and decided that it wasn’t feasible anymore to have the GRE and GMAT as requirements,” Stanton said. “For some of our campuses and students, there was increased difficulty in getting to the testing sites, so it made it harder for them to fulfill that requirement.”

New requirements for admission are on a sliding scale based on the cumulative grade point average for the final 60 graded hours of a student’s undergraduate work at an accredited university or college. If a student earned a 3.0 or better on those hours, admission to the graduate program at Wayland is automatic. If their GPA falls between 2.7 and 2.999, the student will be required to submit a writing sample that is similar to the written portion of the GRE and must score at least a four (4) to be admitted.

If a student’s grade point average is between 2.5 and 2.699, they will also have to complete the writing sample and may be required to complete an interview for admissions. They may also be admitted on a probationary basis.

Graduate admission requires an application for admissions and a $50 non-refundable application fee, which is not applicable for current or former WBU students. Applicants must also submit official transcripts from all institutions attended for the undergraduate degree.

Stanton said the change in policy was precipitated in part by the new online master’s degrees being offered in public administration, Christian ministry and human resource management. By being offered 100 percent online, the degrees are available now to students from areas without a WBU campus nearby – sometimes in remote areas with no university or exam testing site. That made it difficult for them to complete the admissions requirements.

Registration for the Virtual Campus – which oversees enrollment into courses for those online degrees – was held in February and the next term will begin in May. The changes are in place to make enrolling for the programs and the classes as seamless a transition as possible.

Stanton also noted the new policy will affect students who may be enrolled conditionally to the graduate programs, meaning they can complete one term before taking the previously required exams. Those students may complete a form for a change of catalog to the 2007-08 regulations and be “grandfathered” into the new policy, removing the need for the exams. They would still need to follow the policy based on their undergraduate GPA.

Stanton said she expects enrollment in the online degree programs to nearly double with the new regulations. Given the trend in online education, that growth should continue well into the future.

The Master of Public Administration degree is aimed at those seeking careers or advancement in justice administration or government administration, and two tracks are offered depending on the student’s focus. The Master of Christian Ministry degree offers practical Biblical study for those entering or currently in ministry. The Master of Arts in Management degree – offered online only in the human resource management specialization – in designed in a cohort format through the Plainview campus, with a focus on building skills and knowledge for human resources in the current business environment.

For more information on graduate admissions, contact Stanton at (806) 291-3414.