As Fort Lewis College gradually merges into its higher admission standards, due to take full effect in 2019, it’s seeing a corresponding improvement in the achievement levels of students.
On Monday, as the Class of 2020 went to its first classes, students were the best prepared in the college’s history. Nearly one-third had high school grade point averages of 3.5 or higher.
Since 2006, the mid-50 percent ACT scores have increased from a range of 18 to 23 to 19 to 24 – that is half the enrolled students had ACT scores falling within the range. The percentage of students who have scored 30 to 36 on the ACT math test, a key indicator of ability to handle requirements in majors such as engineering and the sciences, has increased from 1 percent to 2.4 percent in that time period.
“This milestone is a result of a push by FLC to admit students who are better prepared to hit the ground running on the first day of their college careers,” FLC spokesman Mitch Davis said.
“With new programs like computer engineering beginning soon (2017), incoming students will need increased preparation before college to thrive in the challenging curriculum they will find at Fort Lewis College.”
Another indicator of higher preparedness is the number of freshmen who have indicated an interest in the “Finish in Four!” program, students who believe they can get their degree in four years. With the Class of 2020, that’s up 26 percent to 333 students from 2015’s 265 students, said Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Carol Smith.
The incoming class of freshmen and transfer students – whose numbers will be officially counted Sept. 12 – went through orientation Thursday and Friday, culminating in Convocation on Friday afternoon. The ceremony, with faculty in gowns, charges the students to excel in and enjoy their college experience.
To spur them on, President Dene Thomas shared accomplishments from alumni and upperclassmen, including the Skyhawks Cycling Team, rated second in the nation, and Giancarlo Vigil, an economics major who graduated in 2015, and his continuing business-development success with the Maté Exchange. His fledgling business won the inaugural FLC Hawk Tank business plan competition and was recently accepted into the Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs.
The college is also showing success in students going on to careers in the sciences. The National Science Foundation recently found Fort Lewis to be one of Colorado’s top producers of students going on to earn doctorates in chemistry, with the college coming in fourth after Colorado State University, the University of Colorado Boulder and the Colorado School of Mines. [email protected]