Rankings affect enrollment

Even more applicants come to the College. (Photo Courtesy of ambassadors.pages.tcnj.edu)

After years of high rankings in the U.S. News and World Report and “best value” awards, the College’s efforts in providing excellent educations have been duly noted by numerous publications. While these accolades look good on a college website, it is interesting to examine how they actually affect the recruiting efforts of the College.

The College has been consistently ranked as a top public northern regional college since 1993, but the best buy awards are relatively new. The College is also ranked as a “best value” or “best buy” school by Princeton Review, Kiplingers and Barrons.

This consistent award winning coincides with the College’s growing allure among prospective students.  This growth is evident in the number of applicants the College has received.

In 1999, the school received applications from 5,755 students, out of which 1,209 students enrolled. The average College Board score was 1,205, and the average student was in the top 15 percent of his or her class. Fast forward to today: 10,150 students applied to the College with the average student scoring a 1,230 on the SATs and being in the top 15 percent of their class.

While the quality of student, in terms of standardized test scores and class rank, has remained the same, the amount of applicants has almost doubled. This huge allure can be partially attributed to the College’s spot in the rankings.

“Growing up in Massachusetts, I had never heard of TCNJ, but it caught my attention because of its high reviews and best buy status. When I decided to visit the school because of these accolades, I was completely sold,” said Zeke Gillette, a senior accounting major from Manchester, Mass.

While the College’s honors work to attract students who browse rankings, the ambassadors who are tasked with face-to-face recruiting also use the rankings as a tool.

“I definitely always try to mention TCNJ’s high rankings and awards, including the business school’s high ranking and the engineering program’s growth. It is an excellent way to frame our academic programs’ successes,” said Joe Azzolini, sophomore electrical engineering major and ambassador.

Both Azzolini and senior marketing major and ambassador, Bobby Mika, made sure to underline their emphasis on the College’s status as a top school and not just a “best buy” school.

“We never mention TCNJ as a best buy because we genuinely believe that our school is ranked with the best because of its programs and academic offerings.  While price is a significant factor, our school belongs in those rankings on merit alone,” Mika said.