TWIN FALLS — Students with qualifying grades and college entrance exam scores were admitted to several Idaho colleges without having to apply.

More than 18,000 students across the state received letters this month from the State Board of Education informing them of their acceptance into some of Idaho’s colleges. The letters were sent to students who met a certain GPA and SAT or ACT thresholds for free and without requiring an application as part of the state’s Direct Admissions program.

Eligible students in Twin Falls School District got their letters last week.

Brisa Laris, a senior at Twin Falls High School, is undecided on a future career but is considering a degree in a range of topics from English to biology. While attending school in Idaho isn’t her first choice — she hopes to attend University of Michigan — the automatic admission letter gave her a confidence boost, she said.

“I don’t think the application process will be as stressful now,” Laris said.

Lauren Maxwell, a senior at Twin Falls High School, wants to be a nurse practitioner and is looking at colleges both in and out of state. She said it’s nice to know she could got to a school in Idaho if that’s what she decides on.

“This is really nice to have the reassurance that even if I don’t get accepted into my dream colleges then I can still go to college and not have to worry about being accepted,” Maxwell said.

While the direct admittance letter provides a guarantee of acceptance into school, students still must complete the necessary paperwork to apply to the schools of their choice. The Apply Idaho program allows students to apply to 10 state colleges and universities for free with one universal application.

The programs could convince kids who are undecided about their future to go on to school, said Twin Falls High counselor Dan Hawkes. The fact that the admission process is free is a big part of that, he said.

“A lot of kids if they’re not going to, it’s about money,” he said. “For these kids who don’t have jobs, $50 that’s a lot. Not all parents just have $50 for four different applications. It can add up.”

Both programs are part of the state’s attempt to get more students to go on to college.

Only 44.6% of Idaho’s high school graduates went straight to college in 2018, according to the State Board of Education. That rate is mostly unchanged since the state adopted its goal of having 60% of its young adults holding a post-secondary credential by 2025.

Gov. Brad Little proclaimed October as Next Steps Month in Idaho and wants to students to reflect on their career goals and make plans for their future.

Idaho colleges began taking applications Oct. 1.


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