More GCC Students Eligible to Apply for Guaranteed Admission Program to UConn

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

In 2012, 30,000 students - a record number - applied to the University of Connecticut and about 3,225 freshmen were enrolled. While the competition is fierce, more Gateway Community College (GCC) graduates than ever will have the chance to transfer to UConn because of changes in the Guaranteed Admission Program (GAP), said Lauren Doninger, Ed.D., LPC, LADC, GCC professor of Psychology and program coordinator for Liberal Arts & Sciences.  

In November, the credit restriction for application to the Guaranteed Admission Program (GAP) to UConn changed.

“Historically students had to apply before completing 15 transfer credits. That has changed to 30 credits and that opens doors to a much wider range and number of students. This is particularly appealing to students who did not have a good high school experience, who were not aware that they were smart, that they were curious,” Doninger said. “They get to Gateway and they begin to engage in academic inquiry and after an initial positive experience, they surprise themselves in many ways. Now that they don’t have to apply as quickly, they have the time to figure out that school is exciting and they are good at it.”

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in the Liberal Arts & Sciences program at GCC and graduate with a GPA of 3.0 (they must have a 3.3 to be admitted to UConn’s School of Business). The program includes all majors in UConn’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, School of Business, and most majors in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Those students wishing to be pre-med often choose majors in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, such as Nutrition, Doninger said. As part of the program students are also guaranteed housing at Storrs.

GCC students who are interested in the program first talk with Doninger. Together they design an academic plan that mirrors the first two years in the intended major at UConn. Doninger said students and advisors keep in close contact throughout their time at GCC. Currently 85 students are in the “GAP pipeline,” she said, and about 10 GCC students are on track to transfer to UConn next year.  Typically GAP students graduate with more than 60 credits and they then begin as juniors in their major.

“In the spring we hold an event where our alumni who are attending UConn come back to talk with students in the pipeline,” she said. “It’s so much fun and it really is an important day because the GCC alumni talk with current students about what the challenges have been so far, about what works, about what they need to do to get ready. Our graduates who are now at UConn are our best ambassadors for the program.”

Many GCC students who have transferred to UConn have done well, quickly becoming part of the fabric of the campus, Doninger said. They are involved in pivotal research; they have started new clubs and studied abroad. GCC students have also met with success competing for the 12 scholarships awarded annually to the top 12 Connecticut Community College students transferring to UConn. Last year, GCC students won two of the scholarships.

UConn appeals to GCC students on many levels. This past year it was ranked in the top 20 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and in the last two years, applications to UConn rose by 36 percent. “It’s an amazing Research 1 institution; it is affordable; students can live away from home,” Doninger said. “The competition is incredible which is why this program is so valuable.”