Baruch, CUNY standards continue to climb
SAT scores rise at Baruch
Published: Monday, October 25, 2010
Updated: Monday, October 25, 2010 06:10
In September, CUNY announced that the average SAT scores for first-time incoming freshmen at its top-tier colleges had increased for the tenth year in a row. Leading the pack was Baruch College, whose scores rose 34 points to 1,216, the highest of all the colleges.
The increase is part of a larger trend of mounting success and increased recognition for Baruch. Earlier this year, the school earned national rankings on several high-profile lists, including U.S News & World Report's 2011 "Best Regional Universities" list and Princeton's "373 Best Colleges 2011 edition.
The ten-year rise has brought an improved reputation for CUNY as a whole, and has also positioned Baruch as a leader among its peers.
"The story about Baruch is getting out more in New York City, so people are recognizing more than they did five or ten years ago that we have incredibly talented students and faculty," said James McCarthy, Baruch's provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.
McCarthy, who joined the college only three years ago, said Baruch's success is the result of a collaborative effort by the faculty, staff and students.
"I think what's important is to realize that it's not any one thing," he said. "It's a whole set of things that have come together."
But, he cited the dramatic increase in Baruch's graduation rate, which currently stands at almost 60 percent and is the highest in CUNY, as a factor.
He stated that the school's graduation rates have improved dramatically in the last decade, creating a "virtuous cycle," in which the school produces better-performing students, which leads to increased notoriety and ultimately attracts better students.
McCarthy said rankings are based on several factors, including a school's reputation, which takes time to change.
"Ten years ago when our SAT scores started going up, the world didn't know us yet." McCarthy said, adding that now Baruch has hit a "tipping point."
CUNY has seen a simultaneous improvement in its overall reputation, which the provost said caused Baruch to be looked at more favorably.
"CUNY has become more competitive as a result of a decade-long effort to increase both standards and the quality of the programs we offer," said CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein in a press release. "We're retaining more students, too, because they're finding they can obtain the quality education they desire without having to leave New York."
In 2008, CUNY changed the minimum math SAT score requirement from 480 to 510 for its top five colleges - Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens, as well as six other senior colleges. The move was an attempt to remedy the fact that so many freshmenwere unprepared for college level material.
"We are very serious in taking a group of our institutions and placing them in the top segment of universities and colleges," Goldstein told The New York Times in an interview before the policy was implemented.
McCarthy also attributed Baruch's success to strong enrollment management under the directon of Ben Corpus, vice president for academic affairs, as well as aggressive recruiting in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Neither Corpus nor the director of the Undergraduate Admissions office were available for comment.
Still, the provost insists, "No one person or not even a small group of people gets the credit. It's got to be thought of as a collective institutional commitment."