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UWRF admission requires diploma or equivalency

April 30, 2009

The admissions process at UW-River Falls evaluates the applications of prospective students who hold varying types of completion certification ranging from high school diplomas, high school equivalency degrees (HSED) and general educational development (GED) certificate.

The two types of diploma equivalency certification are available in the state of Wisconsin through the Wisconsin department of public instruction. Each will result in a different kind of documentation upon completion and both will result in different qualifications. To complete a GED, the recipient must complete a series of tests successfully in order to earn this type of certification. The GED indicates educational development, although it is not the equivalent of an HSED.

HSEDs are more similar to a high school diploma and are becoming the minimum credential needed for employment. There are a number of ways to earn a HSED, although the completion of a GED could be a possible starting point toward obtaining a HSED, according to the department Web site.

Alan Tuchtenhagen, associate vice chancellor for enrollment services, said that the Admissions Office upholds a regulation set by the UW System Board of Regents when processing the applications of students that hold degrees of educational completion other than a high school diploma.

“There is a Board of Regents regulation in the state that requires us to require an HSED from a Wisconsin resident,” Tuchtenhagen said. “The feeling is that the standards typically for a GED are not as high as what most employers would like to evaluate them to be equivalent to a high school diploma.”

An HSED is not required for students who are out-of-state applicants, and in that case it would be possible for an applicant who holds a GED to be admitted to UWRF. Tuchtenhagen said that the admissions office does receive applications with GEDs but that the occurrence of such application submissions is rare. He said also that applicants with HSEDs are more common in the admissions process.

Tuchtenhagen said home schooled students are more common than applicants with GEDs and HSEDs.

Home schooled applicants need to be able to demonstrate that they have studied the same curriculum as students who have attended high school, he said.

“A home schooled student needs to demonstrate that they have taken the same required curriculum as someone coming out of a regular school and we look at their grades, their transcript and we look at their test scores,” he said.

Home schooled students who receive HSEDs may be more dependent on ACT test scores than those who attend high school classes, Tuchtenhagen said.

“The difference is obviously we have to accept the transcript that the home school is presenting us and so we don’t have a class rank, we don’t have a way of benchmarking so usually with a home school student and sometimes with a GED student, it puts more emphasis on the test scores,” he said. “So to validate that home schooler, we’ll look at your ACT scores and if your ACT scores are pretty good we’ll go ahead and admit you.”