Keywords: Engineering, Undergraduate, 1st Generation, Race/Ethnicity
Undergraduate engineering education is being transformed at every level of curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular experiences which requires an institutional shift in examining and redefining what it means to provide students with equitable access for student admission, and engagement, and success, in student admissions and graduation. Research shows that putting too much weight on high stakes standardized tests is resulting in a misrepresentation of actual student potential for academic success and may disadvantage students from historically underrepresented groups. This is especially true with undergraduate engineering programs where a minimum standardized test score is frequently required for admission. This dynamic is relevant in Nebraska where the demographics of the high school graduates, and in particular the growth of the Hispanic/Latino/a population, is changing quickly. In response to this, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering (UNL-COE) is exploring admitting students who would not ordinarily be admitted under the college’s current guidelines, particularly with respect to minimum ACT score. Students admitted using this alternative screening are being directed to engagement, training, and enrichment activities designed to increase their success.
This paper will report baseline data related to state demographics, diversity profile of the UNL-COE undergraduate student population, strategies being deployed to broaden admission considerations, student support systems, and student success. Of particular interest is the understanding of student perception and realization of academic and professional support in engineering and understanding academic pathways of alternately admitted students.
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