Bware of Univ. of Cincinnati's funky admission standards

University of Cincinnati is supposed to have a very strong ID program and graphics program; however, they have very funky admission standards. First, there is no portfolio required or suggested. In fact, if you send one in, it won’t even be considered.

Secondly, they admit primarily based on SATs and class rank and use rolling admissions. They have two cuts: the first for early decision, requires top 10% of class and/or unweighted GPA or 3.75. You can have a slightly lower class rank if you have SATs of 1320. Also, if you are in a very tough school, such as magnet school, they don’t seem to vary these standards. You still need to be in the top 10%!

The second and regular decision process requires SATs of either 1320 and top 35% or lower SATs with higher class rank. Also they want a minimum of 3.5 unweighted GPA. They supposedly don’t even take class toughness into account nor is the toughness of the school or competitiveness of the student body in the high school considered. Admissions seems to be solely based on numbers or a mathematical formula.

As I said, they have very bizarre admission standards.

I believe this is the result of the new university Presidents’ goal of getting UC ranked in the 1st teir by US News, Princeton Review, etc. These rankings are very controversial in that they base evaluations on, objective criteria only, including incoming student SAT averages…
The DAAP Dean is trying to gain the kind of independance that the Conservatory of Music enjoys, admissions and tuition separate from UC on the whole.

No spec, what you say may be true. However, there are a lot of ways to boost UC rankings besides using bogus admission standards. They could get better known Profs since they don’t have a very high peer rating. They could try to boost the 6 year graduation rate,which is very low.

I can’t see the School of DAAP separating from UC as with the Conservatory of Music, especially if you are right about boosting rating.

The criteria for admissions into DAAP is just plain bizarre.

6 year graduation rate low? Where are you getting your figures? Just curious.

There is also another way to look at the admissions standards: they are looking for well rounded students, and are not focused on art rockstars with great portfolios. While it may be flawed in many aspects, it does provide an option for those students who weren’t focused on building a portfolio in high school, or were steered into taking the “standard” college prep courses (heavy math, science, lit), or had no previous experience or opportunity to delve into the creative realm, etc…

I totally agree that basing admissions solely on stats and rankings is off base. Is this a recent occurence, or something that has been in place for a while?

Alot of major schools base things just on numbers, however, once you get in, it doesn’t mean you’ll stay in. My guess is UC doesn’t inflate grades like private colleges so you’ll have to work your tail off to excel, which seems to be the case no matter what school you go to for ID.

Another thing is, just think about schools with architecture…they never really want to see a portfolio, but in architecture, just like ID, your portfolio is your major selling point in getting a job. My guess is UC wants to make sure their students can excel both academically and artistically so that they can excel in the real world.

Nate, I got the retention statistics from US News Rating of Best Colleges (2006). It might also be available on ( but I am not sure it is there). At least according to the US News Review of Best Colleges, Cincinnati has a 46% graduation rate, which is really bad.

They also have been using this type of admission and these standards for at least the past few years or even longer. This is not a new development.

As for wanting good academic students, I can’t disagree with that totally. However, they should at least take course toughness and school toughness into accout, which they don’t. They will take a kid with a 3.7 GPA, witih all regular and art courses over a magnet kids taking all honors and AP courses with a 3.4 unweighted GPA, which is insane. Also, to not require any portfolio is also a bit bizarre.

Yes, I do understand that some kids don’t get the training to develop good portfolios. Thus, should the school not care about those that do?

I guess this is a form of affirmative action. Cincinnati is very very eqalitarian,but this could also be one of the reasons for the dismal graduation rates.

The UC admission policy has not changed, and has produced excellent relsults for decades. Perhaps it’s not bizarre, perhaps it could be improved.

UC has recently ended it’s continuing-education program on main campus, an unpopular decision, but should effect graduation rates. With the 6th largest public-university endowment, and a handfull of alredy top ranked departments, there is no excuse for UC not to be a top 50 institution, and only its legacy as a regional school holds it back.

I’m not sure you can accurately rate a high school’s “toughness” relative to others. Are there other programs that you think set a precedent for admissions standards?

And while the graduation rate for the entire university may be low, I’m sure the DAAP majors rank much higher. Numbers can lie. The design majors are all 5 year programs, and the architecture program is 6. I assume that those 6-year stats are meant to show the graduation rates of students pursuing more traditional 4-year degrees, right?

To get back to the main point of this thread, I’m wondering what you meant by “beware” in your original posting subject line…

Nate asks,“To get back to the main point of this thread, I’m wondering what you meant by “beware” in your original posting subject line…”

Response: I was responding based on my daughter’s record. She has a 3.43 unweighted GPA ina magnet program, where many kids are really smart. Her weighted GPA is 3.95, yet she isn’t even in the top 40%. Just as an aside, our average SATs in the school are almost 1240. Many kids get above 1350.

DAAP only admits students based on class rank and unweighted GPA. No consideration is given to a school like that of my daughter’s school, and no consideration is given to course toughness. She took almost every course as either honors or AP. I find that to be very, very stupid.

In fact, if you check the DAAP web site, you will find that theoretically they will take a kid with a 3.6 unweighted GPA, even if all regular courses, over one with a 3.4 unweighted GPA with all honors and AP courses.

No Spec notes, “UC has recently ended it’s continuing-education program on main campus, an unpopular decision, but should effect graduation rates. With the 6th largest public-university endowment, and a handfull of alredy top ranked departments, there is no excuse for UC not to be a top 50 institution, and only its legacy as a regional school holds it back”

Response: You may be right,but what I think holds it back is the US News and World Report rating. There are a number of factors that gave it a lower rating:

  1. Lower Peer review: UC, overall, as a 2.7 rating on peer review ( which is 25% of the total score) out of a possible 5.0. Peer review is what other school presidents and deans think of the school

  2. Lower graduation rates: It is true that UC has a lower grad rate due to its coop program,but they should have more than 48% graduating within 6 years!

  3. Their acceptance rate is 77%, which is quite high, although for DAAP, it is much lower. Too bad that DAAP kids represent a low fraction of the student body.

  4. Alumni giving rate is 8%,which is also low. They need to target alumni better.

These are the factors that make UC considered a "tier 3 " national school.

I do agree, however, that it is a lot better overall than the ratings indicate. However, the low ratings is not primarily due to being considered a “regional school.”

i dont understand why you guys insist on bashing daap… its a solid school that produces more happily employed designers and architects than most schools do.

the only thing i can think of is envy… which is kinda lame.

if you cant get into the school based on your academic merits… do what i did… just show up, and work your way into the program… i will grad in 6 years instead of 5, but i interned at Design Continuum, Nike, Studio Red at the Rockwell Group ,Ethicon Endo-Surgery and Lexmark Printers.

i have done just about everything you can do in product design… and know very much where i want to be and what i want out of my life… and now have a ticket to get me there… and in the end that’s what’s most important.

and if you dont like daap… dont go…

there are plenty of other great schools all over… take your pick… CIA, CCS, ArtCenter, Pratt… and so on…

good luck

I don’t think they are bashing the program – everyone knows it is good. The comment is about a formulaic admissions process that doesn’t seem in the best interest of a design program.

best intrest of the design program???

how can you argue with results… daap graduates more happily employed designers each year than most design schools.

and when it comes right down to it… its not the school that gets a kid a job… whether its an internship or a position after graduation… the student gets the job. the school can only do so much.

granted daap has an excellent program in place to “assist” with these professional selections… it will always come down to the student and his or her work…

who cares what method they use for entrance… in high school had a 3.0 gpa and a 21 on my ACT (hardly top 10% of my class) and in 6 months i’ll have a degree in industrial design from the University of Cincinnati college of DAAP.

i just wanted to graduate from daap and benefit from the co op program… and i did what it took to do so.

so lets not get caught up on entrance requirements…

speaking of funky admissions,
awhile back a prestigious New England School had student-led protests for: ‘needs blind’ admissions. turns out half the kids being admitted were in because of trust funds…

Alot of BS being thrown back and forth here.

An art school gearing admissions towards GPA’s and test scores is hillarious. Grades mean fuck-all if you have shit for artistic talent. They’re recruiting based on grades, getting quick cash, and turning those high-scoring talent-less students out the door to make room for the next wave of suckers. If you’re serious about design do not apply to a program that accepts it’s students based on grades and test scores. You will be surrounded by people that are there on scholastic merit only, which means dick in design.

Yet another avenue in which our profession is spat on and de-valued, sad…and I used to have huge respect for this school.

How can scholastic merit mean “dick”? It seems like reading, writing, and math skills would be fairly important to any designer who is interested in design on a level beyond styling and aesthetics …

From personal experience:

the DAAP program is difficult, and for those with no artistic skills makes it that much harder. I don’t know their intentions behind not having a portfolio required in evaluating possible students. In high school I found it absurd and almost unbelievable. It is however, a requirement for all of daap, fine arts aside. Thus this includes architecture, interior design, graphic, digital, and fashion design. The first year teaches the fundamentals to all design students (i know nothing about interior or architecture). It’s a fairly tough year busy with projects and testing and whatnot. It does weed out a lot of people who decide not to go into design.
But all this aside, not requiring a portfolio, does give a chance to those who had little chance in high school to develop a portfolio or who had litttle or no direction. Let’s face it, the mid west (the city of chicago aside) doesn’t quite stress the arts like New York or California. Most of the UC students are from the Cincinnati area, and the students in my studio…80% are from cincinnati and the surrounding areas. Where I grew up, art was a ridiculous waste of time, and I was one of the few students to persue it in my school, in and outside of school.

anywhoo…i think it gives people who didn’t get the chance in high school a chance to do design…and the numbers requirements are probably an attempt to get and attract students who they think will work hard, or at least care about their scores to put the effort towards school…obviously these are necessarily true. but a school’s gotta do what it can. and everyone deserves some kind of chance. And just like any school you produce the duds and average and the spectacular.

but whatever right…just a thought.

whatever their methods, it seems to be working pretty well for them as they consistantly turn out a good caliber of student.