Several post-secondary schools in the United States have an ‘Open Admission Policy,’ which means that these institutions admit all students as long as they have completed high school or a high school equivalency. The process is unselective and non-competitive. This practice aims to remove barriers to higher education, especially for students from underprivileged backgrounds and students with disabilities.
More than 25 universities have this policy; some known examples in the U.S. include Humphreys College, Briar Cliff University, Wright State University, and Washburn University.
Two post-secondary institutions in Canada have a full or partial open admissions policy: Athabasca and Thompson Rivers.
Athabasca University has the following statement on their website’s entrance requirements page: “We believe in education and learning opportunities for everyone. That’s why Athabasca University programs’ are made to work for our students regardless of level of experience, previous grades or degrees… our admission policy accepts undergraduate students to a program as long as they pass the minimum age restriction of 16 years of age.”
MUN must develop an open admission policy. For many years, MUN has been one of the most accessible universities in Canada in terms of tuition costs. It is the kind of university MUN is — a school for everyone.
Our province has a unique history and a special obligation to our people to be educated. It was named Memorial as a tribute to those who fought and died in World War I to ensure students remember the sacrifice these individuals made. These soldiers wanted to be sure that those who came after them had a chance for a better life. We are lucky to study at a post-secondary institution, and each of us should try to do our best in memory of them. Therefore, we need to continue making education accessible to the masses.
The entrance average at MUN was historically 60 percent, but it was later increased to 70 percent. Some administrators and faculty are said to believe that it should be higher and should be more in line with other universities across the country. This notion perpetuates the idea that low admissions criteria lead to MUN graduating so-called “weak students.” This argument is nonsense.
It is time to stop enforcing rigorous academic standards and give all who desire to learn the opportunity to do so.
There is also the argument that if a student attends university for only a year and drops out due to poor grades to attend a college, they wasted money attending university. This argument is also nonsensical — students learn a lot in the university environment and gain valuable experience.
The idea that MUN cannot have such a policy because most other universities in Canada also do not is absurd. Why can’t MUN lead the way instead of always having to compare and uphold the status quo? If MUN is indeed a school for everyone, it needs to have its policies reflect that.
Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.