What will the impact be on high school graduates if the Wake County school board votes tonight to pull out of AdvancED rather than cooperate with the review team?
As noted in today's article, Wake school board attorney Ann Majestic said it's a “gross generalization” to say in blanket terms that it’s a problem for high schools to lose their accreditation." Based on what some college admissions officials are saying, students may notice the impact if they apply to colleges outside the state that may not be as familiar with Wake.
Loss of accreditation can make it harder for students to earn admission to some colleges. It also could make it more difficult for students to take part in certain grant, scholarship and military programs.
Wake school officials have been researching the question of the importance of accreditation and say that both Duke University at the UNC system say that a student from an unaccredited school would not be turned down for that reason. But admissions officials say it's not as simple as that.
“Bottom line: If a student is otherwise a compelling applicant in all the ways — academic and personal — we consider our applicants, the single fact of that student not attending an accredited school alone wouldn’t keep us from admitting him or her,” said Cristoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions at Duke University. "That doesn’t mean we don’t care about accreditation or lack thereof; but we care about what accreditation or its absence means.”
Stephen Farmer, director of undergraduate admissions at UNC-Chapel Hill, said the college does require that applicants have graduated from a high school that is “accredited or approved.”
“Even without accreditation, we’d have a pretty good understanding – from a distance, of course – of the kind of education offered by various schools in Wake County and in the system as a whole,” Farmer said.
But Farmer said there could be consequences from Wake not having accreditation.
“The loss of accreditation may hurt more with universities that don’t know the system as well as we do," Farmer said. "And in the longer term, the loss of accreditation could be much more problematic even with us, if the result is that families lose faith in the system and remove their sons and daughters, or that the schools themselves begin to deteriorate,"
Wake could try to delay the loss of accreditation until the end of the school year. Wake could also try to see if it can be accredited by some other organization, which could take some time. Four of the six big regional accreditation associations are not affiliated with AdvancED.