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Catawba College announces enhanced initiatives to assist applicants

SALISBURY — Catawba College has announced a range of initiatives aimed at reducing college application and enrollment barriers.

Beginning Friday, 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.

Elaine Holden, vice president for enrollment, said she is pleased the admissions office continues to look for ways to engage students from all socio-economic 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 said. “We do not want money as a barrier from student submitting official test scores to hinder them 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.”

Holden said 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 resume, letter of recommendation, and essay instead of a standardized test score.

Many high school students are 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 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 theater and music.

Catawba is recognized for serving a high percentage of low-income and first-generation students. The Office of Admission and Financial Aid closely examined and refined the scholarship awarding strategy.

“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,” said Kelli Hand, director of financial aid.

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