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Catawba College Announces Enhanced Initiatives to Assist Applicants

SALISBURY, NC – As an institution committed to educational access and opportunity, Catawba College is excited to announce a range of enhanced initiatives aimed at reducing college application and enrollment barriers.

In initiatives that began December 1, applicants will be evaluated using their completed application and official high school transcript; part of the application will now include a section for students to self-report their standardized test scores. While students will still need to submit a formal proof of score prior to enrollment, it is no longer required for admission.

Catawba College recognizes that students applying to college often face a number of hurdles throughout the process, and the cost of sending a test score shouldn’t be one of them. Elaine Holden, vice president for Enrollment, is pleased the Admissions Office continues to look for ways to engage students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

"For at least six years, Catawba has been a test-optional institution, and now we continue to build upon the mission of providing access and opportunity for all students to have an education rich in personal attention,” Holden says. “We do not want the cost associated with submitting test scores to hinder students in receiving an admission decision or merit scholarships. We want deserving students to know that Catawba is an exciting option for their future; one where they can reach their highest potential!"

As Holden points out, test scores are not mandatory for all students. Applicants with a weighted GPA of 3.25 or higher are eligible to apply as “test-optional,” which allows them to submit materials such a résumé, letter of recommendation, and essay instead of a standardized test score. Many high school students are remarkably bright in and out of the classroom, but are not high-achieving test takers. The test-optional initiative is designed with those students in mind.

With generous funding from an anonymous donor, applicants interested in History or Environmental Studies will see increased scholarship opportunities ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 per year. Applicants also still have time to audition for departmental scholarships in the areas of Theatre and Music.

As a college recognized for serving a high percentage of low-income and first-generation students, the Office of Admission and Financial Aid closely examined and refined their awarding strategy. Kelli Hand, director of Financial Aid, notes, “These changes will result in more opportunities for funding need-based scholarships, allowing a wider range of students to allow their Catawba dream to become reality.”

Catawba College is proud to work with students from all nations, backgrounds, and citizenship status to offer an education which prepares students for their personal and professional life. Through new strategies for self-reporting test scores and increased scholarship offerings, Catawba hopes to remain a college distinguished by the community it has created through the students it serves.

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