In an effort to boost the University of Maryland's academic image and reduce enrollment at its College Park campus, the school's board of regents is considering a complex plan to raise admission stadards that would in effect, create two catagories of undergraduate admissions.
Under the proposal, put forth by the administration of the College Park campus, guarantees of admission would be offered students meeting the new and tougher minimum standards.
Students unable to meet those standards but who qualify for admission under current policies would be put on a waiting list and admitted on a space-available basis.
As proposed by the College Park administration, the news standards would be a C average and standing in the top 40 percent of a high school class. Students failing to meet that standard could still qualify for guranteed admission under a formula that would take into account a combination of grade point averages and Scholastic Aptitude Test scores.
Under that formula a student with a C average but ranking below the top 40 percent of his high school class would be required to have a combined verbal and mathematical score of 990 out of a possible 1,600 on the SAT to win guaranteed admission to the university.
Current minimum admission standards are a C average and standing in the top half of a high school class of combined SAT scores of 790 for the C students who are below the top half of their high school class.
Consideration of the new admission standard, by the board's committee on educational policy, follows a recommendation by the State Board of Higher Education that freshman enrollment at College Park be reduced from 5,500 to 4,000 by 1983.
Both members of the state board and officials at College Park have said they hope that by raising standards they will not only reduce enrollment at the overcrowded College Park campus but also attract more top students to the university.
Many of the state's highest-ranking high school students including most of the National Merit Scholars attend college out of state, College Park Chancellor Robert I. Gluckstern said.
If adopted, the College Park proposal would exclude from guaranteed admissions between 10 and 15 percent of the students currently admitted to College Park, Gluckstern said.
However, he added that students with special skills such as musical or artistic talent or athletic ability would qualify for special consideration in the admissions process.
Additionally, said University President John S. Toll, any admissions plan that is adopted will provide extra precautions to make sure it does not have the effect of excluding blacks and other minorities.
As envisioned, the admissions plan would apply to all three of Maryland's undergraduate campuses, College Park. Baltimore County and Eastern Shore, and each would draw from the waiting list according to space available.
Unlike College Park, however, both the Baltimore County and Eastern Shore campauses are seeking to boost enrollments and could conceivably end up with a larger percentage of waiting list students than College Park.