LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Business opens its doors to freshmen for richer experiences that outlast the classroom.
For decades students applied to the business school during their sophomore year before being admitted for their junior year. Prior to admission, students did not take major-specific courses, which often left students unguided and struggling to finish a degree they were passionate about in four years.
"We hope that the students benefit from early exposure to the School of Business," said Jason O'Connor, assistant dean of academic programs and director of Student Academic Services, "and that they will become more integrated into the school to make informed decisions earlier."
This fall the school expanded its admissions criteria to admit 190 incoming freshmen who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.
"We want to increase the quantity and quality of our business school students at KU," O'Connor said.
This year the school provides "intrusive advising" for the students' first year. Students are assigned an advisor and are required to attend five school events. Site visits to Ford and Hallmark are planned so the students can explore the working world in a business field.
"I believe they will benefit by earlier exposure to the profession, leading to more internships and a richer experience," said Bill Beedles, director of Undergraduate Programs.
Students admitted as freshmen are required to enroll in a minimum of one credit hour per semester orientation courses from the business school.
"We hope they become involved in the school more quickly," Beedles said, "so as seniors, they can become involved more deeply."
This month freshmen meet with their assigned advisor for a progress report.
"We want to improve their soft skills," O'Connor said. "We primarily want to teach them business communication and professionalism early on."
The School of Business serves as a liaison to the Enrollment Management, First-Year Experience, Student Affairs, Diversity and Equity and Undergraduate Studies.