Nicholls attracts well-prepared high school students

THIBODAUX – Since becoming a selective admissions university, Nicholls State University has attracted an increasing number of high school students who are better prepared for college. Listed in order, the top feeder high schools in fall 2009 are Thibodaux High School, E.D. White Catholic High School, South Lafourche High School, Central Lafourche High School, Terrebonne High School and Vandebilt Catholic High School.

According to fall 2009 enrollment statistics at Nicholls, 6 percent of the incoming freshman class have already completed a semester’s worth of college-level credit via advanced placement testing, ACT testing or the Early Start Program (formerly the Dual Enrollment Program), which allows high school students to enroll simultaneously in university-level courses. In fall 2004, only 2.6 percent of incoming freshman had completed a semester’s worth of credit.

Moreover, three incoming freshmen students in fall 2009 have actually begun their university studies as sophomores – thanks to their participation in advanced placement programs. In fall 2004 there were none.

Additional statistics indicating the preparation level of incoming freshmen include ACT scores and high school GPAs. Sixty-nine percent of incoming freshmen scored 19 or better on the ACT math test, compared with 47.5 percent in fall 2004 – and 92.3 percent scored 18 or better on the ACT English test, compared with 70.4 percent in fall 2004. In terms of high school GPAs, 88.9 percent of incoming freshman scored 2.5 or higher – compared with 76.8 percent in fall 2004.

Furthermore, the majority of incoming freshmen – 64.5 percent – were prepared to begin college-level mathematics and English without remedial level coursework. In fall 2004, only 53.2 percent met those standards.

Kevin George, principal of Thibodaux High School and a Nicholls graduate, said the relationship between Nicholls and Thibodaux High yields positive results with college-bound students.

“Just yesterday we had an assembly for juniors and seniors, and a representative from Nicholls came to discuss the dual-enrollment program,” George said. “We certainly want our students getting the most out of their junior and senior years.”

David Boudreaux, president of E.D. White Catholic High School, said around 90 percent of his school’s graduates are college-bound – and a substantial number of them choose Nicholls. Boudreaux said their success is largely based on E.D. White’s successful, strategic plan, launched five years ago, to boost ACT scores. He said several E.D. White students take dual-enrollment courses at Nicholls as well.