Freshman class breaks enrollment record
By Wren Haynes | Contributor
Move over, class of 2016. For three years you were the largest freshman class in Taylor’s history—but now you’ve been eclipsed by the class of 2019.
According to the Registrar’s Office, 519 new freshmen and 40 transfer students arrived on Welcome Weekend from across the U.S. and the globe, surpassing 2012’s previous record of 498.
“One of the amazing things is sometimes colleges and universities will grow and have to trade . . . lowering an academic standard to get more students,” said Skip Trudeau, vice president for Student Development. “But they maintained the academic profile. (New students) are as strong academically as ever.”
The class of 2019 includes 291 women and 228 men with an average high school GPA of 3.17. The most popular majors include elementary education (with 45 students), biology (35) and exercise science (30), according to the Registrar’s Office. The number of freshmen choosing business, English and math has also grown.
According to Steve Mortland, vice president for enrollment management and marketing, the record class can be at least partially attributed to changes in Taylor’s recruitment style. In the past, the Admissions Office primarily focused on connecting with high school seniors who had already indicated interest in Taylor. Recently they began working with students as early as freshman year.
“By the time an incoming student becomes a senior, the goal is that they’ve been through a process that’s called nurturing, where they’ve become more aware of who Taylor is,” Mortland said.
Two years ago, the university also began purchasing the names of high school students from test-taking organizations. Oftentimes, students will allow their names to be sent to colleges that might be interested in recruiting them.
“So this class was a class that, two years ago . . . maybe about 100 of them we got to know because we purchased their name and began a process of introducing ourselves,” Mortland said. Adding some of these students onto last year’s class accounts for the size difference between the two, he said.
Though having so many new faces is exciting, uncertainty remains. After working with classes in the 400-student range for so long, Taylor may have to make adjustments to accommodate the larger numbers.
“We had a bit of a smaller freshmen class last year, so that provided space in residence halls and classes,” said Trudeau. “Now, if we have this size . . . two, three years in a row, some of our capacities will be challenged for sure.”
Currently, school administration does not expect any problems with housing or food services. But in the coming semesters, when more students are vying for the perfect class schedule, will some have to settle for a less-than-perfect fit?
Not necessarily, says Associate Registrar Edwin Welch. He explains that the Registrar’s Office strives to ensure vital classes have enough sections.
“With the implementation of My Taylor University Degree, we’re able to do better predicting of what the needs are for required courses,” Welch said. “But one situation to helping a (potential) scheduling situation would be more 8 a.m. classes, which is not always popular.”
But all these possible changes are in the future. Today, Trudeau focuses on the positives of the present.
“It’s a good problem to have,” he said. “At a real simple level, I think God’s honoring what we’re doing. And that’s a good thing.”