The University of Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is making changes to its admissions process that will become effective in fall 2007.
The new program is aimed at students from Wisconsin applying to UW, who plan on a having a career in agriculture in the state.
According to a release, as long as Wisconsin students meet "normal" acceptance expectations and prove to be "highly qualified and deeply committed" to a career in Wisconsin agriculture, they will be accepted early in the admissions process rather than being put on a "postponed decision" list.
"Agriculture is a vital and important economic force in this state, and we remain intensely committed to our mandate to train the next generation of agricultural leaders for Wisconsin," CALS Dean Molly Jahn said in the release. "We need to insure that our best and brightest students who are committed to the state's agricultural future are not lost to other professions or other states."
UW horticulture professor Brent McCown said the new admissions initiative might allow CALS advisors to better direct students because the students would have a more precise idea of where their interests lie than the majority incoming freshman.
"[CALS] is more than just science and education — we're actually educating people for careers," McCown said. "It might be able to attract more of the potential students in the state that have an agricultural interest … because this becomes the place to come."
Rob Seltzer, CALS director of admissions, said in a release that the new program would correlate the admissions process with UW's mission to provide for the future of Wisconsin.
The new program pertains to students who apply to the dairy science, animal science, agronomy, horticulture, forest ecology, soil science and biological systems engineering departments, according to the release.
"The initiative is expected to affect a small percentage of our applicant pool who have a strong and demonstrated interest in seven majors by accelerating their notification of admission," Seltzer said.
Students seldom complete all the requirements for their major in the proper sequence, McCown said, because students often shift majors while they are in college. McCown added that many of the students in his introductory level courses are juniors, and the new CALS admission program could prevent some students from taking the same path.
"If this kind of admissions situation could do something to help students decide a little bit earlier that the agriculture profession is one of the things they really want to get involved in, then cool," McCown said. "That would be a fantastic advantage."