Applications flooding in

Despite budget cuts, the College is receiving a record-breaking number of applicants for 2007.

The number of applicants, as of Jan. 31, stands at 7,556. There were 6,465 applicants last year and 5,070 applicants the year before at this point in the application process. If this trend continues, the final number of applicants could reach 9,000, which is a roughly 10 percent increase from last year’s 8,200 applicants.

In addition to the increase in the number of applicants, the College has also seen an increase in the ethnic diversity of the new applicant class.

While 36 percent of the current freshman class self-reported as non-white, the 2007 applicant pool consists of 16 percent black, 34 percent Asian and 16 percent Hispanic students. The number of out-of-state applicants has also increased by 50 percent.

Considering the recent setbacks the College has faced, including the state budget cuts, the recent increase in the number of applicants may come as a surprise for some.

Matt Golden, director of Communications and Media Relations, said the increase is “a positive reflection of what this college has become.”

Golden considers the College “a unique institution, one of its kind in its region.” He also attributed the recent increase in applicants to the College’s effective handling of the budget crisis last year. He pointed out that the College was “open and honest,” and efforts were made to address students and faculty at the College first.

In spite of the larger number of applicants, the number of students enrolling in the freshman class will remain around 1,300. As of Jan. 31, about 1,400 students have been admitted; the final number of admitted students depends on how many apply, but it should be around 3,000 to 3,500. The final number of applicants should be known by March 1.

The admissions board will work very hard to select the “very best freshman class,” Golden explained. Strong applicants will be admitted and the admissions board will “make sure to get applicants from every walk of life, every culture,” he said.

A number of issues may arise following the increase in class sizes. Issues such as housing and facilities are some of the most pressing. The Metzger Drive student apartments, which should be completed by 2009, should help alleviate the housing problem.

Merit-based scholarships for the incoming applicant pool remain troublesome, however. According to Golden, the merit-based Outstanding Student Recruitment Program (OSRP) is largely dependent on how much state funding the College receives. The College cannot make any decisions before knowing how much funding it will get.