Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Hilliger I., Gelmi C.A., Cifuentes L., Bennett M. and de la Llera J.C. (2018)

Design and implementation of an alternative admission program to engineering: Talent and Inclusion

Revista : Studies in Higher Education
Volumen : 43
Número : 8
Páginas : 1454-1467
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


In 2011, the School of Engineering at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile launched an alternative admission program to attract talented high-school students from low-income families who would not be accepted by the conventional admission process but have otherwise shown outstanding academic results at the high-school level. Applicants came from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, and were admitted through a formal process that looked for personal skills beyond standardized test results. Students accepted through the alternative admission program showed promising academic gains after their first year of college, a result that has repeated across cohorts. Proper academic and psychological support was needed to level out the disparities in students’ prior knowledge of science and math fundamentals. Future work is required to explore the principal factors affecting academic performance of underrepresented students who are not part of the schools’ dominant culture.