SDU objective: all students to be admitted based on interviews and tests

In future, grades will only be one of the criteria for being admitted to the University of Southern Denmark

Eventually, all applicants for bachelor programmes at the University of Southern Denmark will be assessed according to more criteria than just their grades, the University’s Board has decided. The initial goal is that one out of every four students will be admitted based on interviews or various kinds of tests by as early as 2017.

The University of Southern Denmark is thereby breaking with the tradition of admitting students solely on the basis of their grade average. Other factors also come into play when it comes to determining who has the best academic abilities.

Looking at the whole person

- We want to look at the whole person. Besides his or her grades, the applicant may have certain personal skills and interests that are relevant to a particular subject, says Vice-Chancellor Henrik Dam.

He adds that the University already has positive experience from admission interviews from the so-called quota-2 applications. This began as early as 2002, when the health science programmes introduced alternative admission criteria modelled on those used by the top universities abroad.

And now the scheme has spread to 33 study programmes at the University of Southern Denmark, ranging from Sports, Medicine, Psychology, Law and Political Science to the BSc in Economics and Business Administration programmes. In fact, other university-administrations are even calling this approach the “SDU model”.

SDU wants to ensure the best match

- It’s about making sure we get the best match. We want to align the expectations of the University and the students even before they start studying. And our experience shows that this type of student has a lower dropout rate than those who are admitted based only on their grade average, explains Henrik Dam.

He adds that the University intends to obtain approval of its plans from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

Student chairman: historic decision

The chairman of the Association of Southern Danish Students at SDU, Anders Munk Jensen, describes the University’s decision as historic:

- This is Danish history in the making. For too long, talented young people with great potential have been rejected with the message that they should have taken high school more seriously. He adds:

- In future, the University of Southern Denmark will produce the most entrepreneurs, creative employees and innovative researchers. More ‘original thinkers’ will be admitted who previously would have been screened out because they might have been a bit flighty in their youth. And the University will gain students who have given serious thought to their studies and bring a lot of motivation with them.

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