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SUNY Oswego's denied applicants get another shot

Gino Geruntino

When a high school student is not admitted to a college or university, they receive a rejection letter. But at SUNY Oswego, that process is changing to let some denied applicants have another shot.

The college rejected about 2,500 freshmen applicants last year, according to Dan Griffin, director of admissions at SUNY Oswego. The response to those students was the same.

"We’re sorry, we can’t help you out as a freshman," Griffin said. "If you go someplace else for a couple of semesters, maybe you should reapply and we'll do our best to accommodate you."

Griffin said the college started to rethink that relationship after seeing a dip in transfer students. So, they teamed with Watertown's Jefferson Community College (JCC) to create "Start Now." Instead of simply denying applicants who fail to satisfy academic or other credentials for admission, SUNY Oswego is now encouraging them to enroll at JCC.

"We are letting students know this is a chance for them to hit the reset button," Griffin said.

If those applicants who couldn't get into Oswego enroll at JCC and complete the necessary criteria, such as a 2.5 GPA, they can transfer after a year. Griffin said it offers the denied applicants an alternative path to the university.

"We really want these students to understand that you are really admitted to both institutions," Griffin said. "You are admitted to Jefferson as a freshman and you will be admitted to Oswego as early as your sophomore year as a transfer student."

Chris Rowland, assistant admissions director at JCC, said it gives those students a chance to get a solid educational foundation at an affordable price, ultimately leading them back to where they first applied.

"It looks like a great stepping stone to achieve and get to where they want to be," Rowland said.

The Start Now program is only in its first year, but already it has been received recognition from the SUNY system. SUNY Oswego received a $1,025,000 grant for Start Now and a program to increase retention in math, science, technology and engineering courses. In total, SUNY awarded $18 million for 32 projects it hopes to scale it statewide in an attempt to increase the number of degrees awards. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher outlined a goal last year to increase graduation rates to 150,000 students annually.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.