Although it may seem daunting to think about DePaul's commitment to a more holistic admission review without the benefit of a single standardized measure, the groundwork for doing so was put in place several years ago when DePaul introduced the use of ''noncognitive variables'' in the admission process. For three years, DePaul piloted the use of its DIAMOND essays based on the scholarship of Dr. William Sedlacek at the University of Maryland (click here for more on Dr. Sedlacek's research).
While most applicants still submit test scores for admission to DePaul, those who do not are considered primarily on their high school record in college preparatory courses. In addition, required essays that are designed to reveal proven predictors of student success in college—including leadership, knowledge in a field, perseverance and self-confidence—are considered.
Value of Noncognitive Variables
For years, admission officers have expressed interest in learning more about students than what is contained in the academic record. This contributed to the decision to begin using noncognitive (or nonacademic) variables in the admission process in fall 2008. An analysis of two years of data (from the entering classes of 2009 and 2010) using these noncognitive variables in the admission process at DePaul led to the belief that the essays tell us about important student attributes that are different from information gained from a standardized test score.
These noncognitive indicators help predict student success, which DePaul defines as both satisfactory grades and completion of sufficient credit hours to progress to sophomore status after the first year of college. At DePaul, an internal analysis supports the fact that successful first-year academic performance and progress puts students on a path to retention and timely graduation.
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