Kim Manahan (Whetstone staff writer)

Enrollment Graph

Enrollment Graph

U.S. News and World Report says that Wesley College is “less selective” admitting students than many other colleges.

Wesley officials are unsure of how this figure is reached.

“Many of us in admissions have often been left scratching our heads over the years as to how the magazine reaches some of its rankings,” said William Firman, dean of enrollment.

According to the U.S. News and World Report website, college selectivity is determined by “enrollees SAT and ACT scores, number of students in the top 10 percent of their high school class, and acceptance rate.” (

The percentage of applicants received by the college and denied has increased this year, Firman said.

The percentages of students enrolling in remedial courses also have increased.

There has been a 7 percent increase this fall in the number of students enrolled in EN099 (Basic Writing).

It could be because of poor preparation before entering college, said Dr. Patricia Dwyer, vice president of academic affairs.

EN099 and MA099 are remedial classes for students who need help with grammar and math skills, she said.

Admittance into EN099 is based on SAT or ACT scores.

“On the first day of class, a diagnostic writing sample is administered to ensure that students are accurately placed,” said Dr. Mika Shipley, associate professor of English.

Forty percent of freshmen are enrolled in EN099, according to JICS, the college’s main web portal for faculty and students

In 2007, only 26 percent of freshmen were enrolled in EN099.

“EN099 begins at the paragraph level rather than the essay,” Shipley said. “Students are required to write five paragraphs and three short essays. In EN100, students start immediately with essays.”

The number of freshmen who need help has increased so much that the college has instituted this fall a “conditional admissions” policy.

Wesley admitted 24 students this year under the new policy.

“This status was created to allow us to review applicants for whom evidence existed for potential academic success with proper academic support,” Firman said.

In reviewing applicants, Wesley noticed that some students in high school had high GPA but low SATs, or vice-versa, Dwyer said.

“We decided at least to review the ones where the student had potential,” she said. “Students with potential might have a variety of reasons why they didn’t have the GPA, but had the SAT.”

The program is not unique to Wesley.

“It is offered at many colleges and universities in the U.S.,” Firman said. “By offering it, Wesley is formalizing a practice that has occurred for many years – giving a deserving student a chance to prove themselves.”

At the end of the semester, the office of academic affairs reviews student grades to determine if full admission will be granted, he said.

“Up until this year, we accepted students with grade point averages of 2.0 and above,” Dwyer said.

The GPA for admission to Wesley has been raised to 2.25 this year, Dwyer said.

The average GPA of students entering the college this fall was 2.75. In 2009 it was 2.68; in 2008, 2.64.

“Every year the college enrolls students with 4.0 high school GPA’s,” Firman said.

Six freshmen were admitted with GPA’s below a 2.0, making up 1.1 percent of the class, he said.

“Wesley has always evaluated the individual – as a whole – not merely as a number on a transcript or a score sheet,” he said.

Fifty-eight percent of first year students had below a 3.0 GPA, according to

Six percent had above a 3.7.

At Bethany College in West Virginia, a small, private liberal arts school like Wesley, 13 percent of first year students had a high school GPA of over 3.75.

In fall 2009, 63 percent of applicants were admitted to Wesley.

In Delaware, other schools are also on the U.S. News and World Report’s list.

The University of Delaware, which accepted 57 percent of applicants, is categorized as more selective.

Like Wesley, both Delaware State University and Goldey Beacom College in Wilmington are listed as less selective.