By Alyssa Gautieri
Since its inception, the College has been composed mostly of in-state students. However, in recent years, the Office of Admissions has taken strides to diversify the campus and increase name recognition across the nation.
Currently, out-of-state students comprise a mere 7 percent of the student body, which is an improvement compared to statistics over the past 15 years. Since Admissions has placed a higher emphasis on diversity, it has begun recruiting more out-of-state students.
In Fall 2015, the campus welcomed 101 out-of-state students, its largest out-of-state class in the College’s history, according to Admissions Director Matt Middleton.
“Out-of-state students diversify the campus,” Middleton said. “Students from all over the country bring different perspectives and have different attitudes. Out-of-staters benefit everybody at the College.”
It was not until 2000, when Middleton was hired to oversee out-of-state operations in the College’s Office of Admissions, that the College began to actively seek to increase the out-of-state population.
There has been progress since then, according to Middleton. In the last five years especially, since the office hired six employees who solely focus on recruiting out-of-state students, the College has seen a real increase in out-of-staters.
Middleton said now is the best time for out-of-state students to apply to the College because they are guaranteed housing for all four years and are awarded robust scholarships.
When reviewing applications, the Office of Admissions considers a variety of factors, such as an applicant’s culture, pursued major or geographic area.
“In the admissions office, we are always thinking about ways to make the College more diverse,” Middleton said. “And it is a bonus point to be an out-of-state applicant because we are looking to grow that population.”
Aside from spreading diversity on campus, Middleton said recruiting across the nation spreads name recognition for the College.
“Our attitude is that by growing the population of out-of-state students, ultimately, we are building a better national reputation and benefiting every student at the College,” he said.
Increasing name recognition across the country increases the chance that an out-of-state future employer or graduate school interviewer is going to be familiar with the College and its emphasis on academics, leadership and service.
While there are substantial benefits in recruiting out-of-state students, the College is expected to maintain its majority in-state population.
“The College is always going to be a primarily in-state school,” Middleton said. “Because we are such a great bargain for in-state families, I can not imagine the College would ever not be the most popular in New Jersey.”
Many students appreciate that the majority of the College’s student body is from in-state.
“I think it would be nice to have more out-of-state students at the College,” said Kristi Demilt, an in-state junior nursing major. “But I don’t think it is essential. TCNJ is already a great school for a multitude of other reasons.”
Gabriella Cardoso, an in-state junior sociology and elementary education double major, said she does not come across out-of-state students very often.
“While I think it would add to the campus if we had more out-of-state students, most out-of-state students are from the metropolitan area, such as New York and Pennsylvania,” Cardoso said. “So their perspectives and ideologies don’t vary drastically from New Jersey students.”
Christian Czmar, an out-of-state student from Pennsylvania and a senior interactive multimedia major, said he enjoys being an out-of-state student.
“I’ve had a really good experience at the College,” Czmar said. “The distance from home hasn’t affected me. I’ve made more friends here than at home.”
According to Czmar, the College provides a diverse campus for all students, regardless of where they are from.
“I’ve come to know so many different perspectives from so many interesting people, and there is plenty to do (on campus) if you are willing to look for it,” Czmar said.
Despite the small out-of-state population at the College, Middleton said students must not forget that the minority exists.
“There is the assumption that everyone at the College is from New Jersey and everyone is local, and that is not always the case,” he said. “Ultimately, out-of-state students that come to TCNJ are enjoying their experience.”