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Our Christian Commitment to Acceptance

Maybe you’ve heard a joke that goes something along the lines of this: “Oh, you went to High School? Great! GPA? Who needs it? Come to Eastern!” According to the College Board, our acceptance rate is currently 71%. Thus, it’s not particularly surprising that many characterize Eastern in this way. This high rate is largely due to a relatively low expectation of SAT scores (1000 minimum) and no minimum GPA.

I have heard many express their frustration with this fact. The complaint is that it allows for too many to come to the university on the strength of their athletic abilities rather than their academic merit, and many others who find out the hard way that Eastern is most certainly not a “party school.”

Though I believe that there is some merit to these complaints, they are largely missing the point. I see our acceptance rate as stemming from positive aspects of our Christian commitment rather than misguided motivations.

Eastern’s acceptance rate is not maintained for the sake of flooding the school with people who will inevitably drop out or transfer. Instead, it offers a very real opportunity for many who might have a hard time obtaining a college degree. Given the poor state of many intercity schools, students coming out of such schools need the opportunity to get a college education that they may have a harder time finding elsewhere. If we are serious about our commitment to justice, then I believe that this is an important way in which we show it.

When it comes down to it, it’s all about intentions. After nearly four years at Eastern, I believe that it orders its admissions and all other aspects of itself in light of a firmly rooted Christian commitment. This commitment entails that we are open and accepting to those who are interested in getting an education at this school. Eastern welcomes students in order to build a deep Christian community and provide opportunities that are vital in today’s world.

Like any school, Eastern will have those who squander the chance they have been given at real learning and growth, but for every one of those, there are many others who are prepared to put genuine effort into getting the education they need. As long as Eastern keeps this in mind, I have nothing to complain about.

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