University of Utah’s new admission deferment

College StudentsStudents accepted to the University of Utah will now be able to defer their enrollment for up to seven quarters. Deferment will be reviewed on a case by case basis, but acceptable reasons include illness, military service and humanitarian service. All newly accepted freshmen as well as readmitted undergraduate students and transfers are eligible.

Unfortunately, the new rule won’t start until fall quarter of 2013, so those admitted prior to then are out of luck and will have to reapply at a later date. Approved requests will maintain admittance into the Honors College and all scholarships granted will be deferred as well.

It is important to note that ACT/SAT scores do expire after two years, so a new placement exam may be required. Certain classes may also require a course refresher before admittance to class.

Obviously, the new rules regarding admissions is in response to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints change to its missionary requirements. Previously, members of the church had to be of a certain minimum age to begin their missionary duties, 19 for men and 21 for women. Now that the age limits were reduced to 18 for men and 19 for women, their religious duties may conflict with the time frame typically allotted for education.

The benefits are broader than just those serving religious duties as it could aid students who have health conditions, those enlisted in the armed forces or volunteering for non-religious humanitarian groups. It gives those students the assurance that their education will waiting for them when they return. Sending applications, test results and getting their enrollment together from far away locations can be difficult and now that is no longer an issue.

It should be interesting to see what the changes in age will do to retention to the church and to college enrollment over the next few years. The age group of 18-22 is one of the most shaping segments in a young adult’s life and can influence long term behavior. By allowing missionary work at a younger and more impressionable age may help curb the Mormon population decline in Utah.

Because of the minimum age difference between men and women, more women may choose to enroll in college and defer their religious services, which could create a school environment even more shaped by the already dominant female population. The break from the education lifestyle after high school may also lead young men away from school completely.