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UMSL puts prospective students on fast track to admissions

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Joseph Hill wanted to join his twin brother in the accounting program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis this fall, but he didn’t quite have his act together.

That’s why he was glad to hear about the campus’ Quick Admit Day on Wednesday. He was able to get admitted, talk to an adviser, look at possible courses and even take part in orientation if he chose, all in one day.

He was one of dozens of prospective students who took part in the inaugural program on the campus, which is trying to bolster its enrollment by signing up more transfer students.

“They’re very organized, very helpful,” said Hill, 23, who has attended classes at Saint Louis University, St. Louis Community College at Meramec and Kenrick Seminary. “If it wasn’t for this option, I probably wouldn’t be coming here in the fall. I was grateful to have it.”

That kind of response is the whole purpose of Quick Admit Day, according to Christy Hummel, a transfer specialist at UMSL. She said the campus is always looking for different ways to recruit students, and the lightening round was a good approach to take.

“Usually,” she said, “waiting on official transcripts is the longest process in getting admitted to UMSL, so we just wanted to create a one-stop shop day where they could get everything done at once.”

Spreading the word on community college campuses, online and elsewhere, Hummel said she had hoped for 50 students to take part. By Tuesday night, 90 had already signed up online. As the morning progressed in room 351 of UMSL’s Millennium Student Center, more chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the growing number of participants.

Summer can be a busy time for students who are leaving one school and shopping around for another, Hummel said, and UMSL wants to help ease the transition.

“This is kind of a good way to bridge that gap between transferring and getting admitted to UMSL,” she said. “Classes have been filling up, so the quicker they can get that done and have everything done for August at this point, the better.”

Because students have to sign an affidavit that they are submitting accurate transcripts, she said she isn’t concerned that the ones who are seeking an expedited process are somehow inferior to those who follow more standard procedures.

“Other than the way we speed up the process,” Hummel said, “it's really no different. All of these students will have to meet the normal admissions standards for transfer students.”

After students got admitted and met with advisers, they went down the hall to the Student Life office, where they found university personnel ready to help them with classes and other questions – not to mention a table laden with fruit and cookies.

There, Bertha Savala, 24, talked about her plan to enroll in nursing school after earning 60 hours of credit at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park.

Credit Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio
Bertha Savala, left, learns more about UMSL at the campus' Student Life center.

“I have a couple of friends that attended UMSL,” she said, “and they said that they loved it and had good experiences here.”

Her time at Quick Admit Day confirmed that view, Savala said.

“They just took my unofficial transcript, had me speak to an adviser, got me admitted in less than half an hour,” she said. “It was pretty cool.”

The University of Missouri Board of Curators holds the license for St. Louis Public Radio.

Follow Dale on Twitter: @dalesinger

Dale Singer began his career in professional journalism in 1969 by talking his way into a summer vacation replacement job at the now-defunct United Press International bureau in St. Louis; he later joined UPI full-time in 1972. Eight years later, he moved to the Post-Dispatch, where for the next 28-plus years he was a business reporter and editor, a Metro reporter specializing in education, assistant editor of the Editorial Page for 10 years and finally news editor of the newspaper's website. In September of 2008, he joined the staff of the Beacon, where he reported primarily on education. In addition to practicing journalism, Dale has been an adjunct professor at University College at Washington U. He and his wife live in west St. Louis County with their spoiled Bichon, Teddy. They have two adult daughters, who have followed them into the word business as a communications manager and a website editor, and three grandchildren. Dale reported for St. Louis Public Radio from 2013 to 2016.