The University of Auckland will introduce tighter English language requirements in response to an increasing number of school-leavers having poor writing and comprehension skills.
From 2016, the university will introduce an academic English language requirement (AELR) for entry into all its undergraduate programmes.
The AELR will require students to have gained at least 17 NCEA credits in English at level 2 or 3. For those applying under Cambridge International Examinations, students must have gained a minimum of a D grade in an English course at AS or A Level.
University Entrance now requires 10 credits in literacy at level 2 or above.
The AELR is intended to ensure students have a sufficient level of competence in academic English to support their university studies.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor John Morrow said stricter entry criteria were necessary because of poor performance at writing and comprehension from a growing number of tertiary students.
"Those who are underperforming in their written work at the University of Auckland are unable to write clear and coherent sentences and struggle with constructing paragraphs and formulating ideas," Morrow said.
"An increased focus on formal, academic writing is needed to teach students more of the kind of writing skills required at university to ensure that they enter their undergraduate degrees more prepared," he said.
The poor writing skills were not an indication that NCEA and high schools were failing to prepare their students for university, Morrow said.
"The majority of students are at an acceptable or higher standard - there is only a small minority who are not.
The issue is student choice; they need to engage with parts of the curriculum that prepare them for university level study," he said.