SMU Cox Announces New BBA Direct Admit Program

by Lynda Oliver|

Business-minded high school graduates now have a better shot at entering Cox as freshmen than ever before. Earlier this year, in preparation for the class entering in Fall 2020, SMU Cox launched the Direct Admit enrollment program. In the past, most “pre-business” SMU students enrolled in the Cox BBA Program during the spring of their sophomore year after satisfactory (3.5 GPA) completion of seven core courses. With Direct Admit, Cox will be taking applications directly from entering first-years who express an interest in studying business at Cox.

Why the change? Associate Dean of BBA Programs Jim Bryan explains, “We have more incoming students applying to SMU and expressing interest in Cox than ever before.” In fact, typically 40% - 45% of first-year applicants to SMU designate Cox as their first choice. And in spite of efforts to raise GPA requirements from in previous years, Bryan sees no end in sight. 

“The Direct Admit model enables us to make a number of positive changes. Now, we should have better predictability of enrollment, which in turn enables us to staff more appropriately. More importantly, the model allows us to have a better view of applicants early on so we can focus on a number of factors other than just purely academics, which only enriches the experience for everyone. And finally, it allows us to be more competitive with our peer schools who have used this model for years. Employers love job candidates who have four years of business-oriented study, rather than two.”

Students will also be evaluated on more than just their undergraduate GPA. “Now we can look at other criteria for acceptance such as: What unique qualifications do they bring to Cox? What have they done outside of high school? We can evaluate the whole individual instead of just one metric.”

The SMU and SMU Cox admissions teams worked closely with the university to launch the new model in time for recruiting. Whereas before, Cox accepted about 300 pre-business students for their junior year, in 2020, Cox will accept 300-350 as freshmen. In addition, there will be a window for transfer students to apply each semester. The BBA Scholar Program, dedicating to admitting “star” high school students (average 1495 SAT and 3.8 GPA) from around the country, will not be affected by the Direct Admit enrollment change.