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College applicants break record

Molly Lamping | Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Saint Mary’s received a record-breaking number of applications from high school seniors for the Class of 2010 with 1,159 students vying for a spot in the College’s freshman class. And applications are still coming in.

Saint Mary’s has a rolling admissions policy, accepting students continuously as applications are received. So far, 1,159 applications have been submitted to the Office of Admissions, Vice President of Enrollment Management Dan Brown said.

The spike in applications represents a 20 percent increase over last year’s number and is the highest application total in 17 years, Brown said.

With an average high school GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale and average SAT score of 1185 out of a possible 1600, the College’s incoming freshman class is very promising, Brown said. He said those numbers are relatively comparable to academic statistics from previous years.

“I hate defining ‘best’ by average GPA and SAT scores, but this class has exceeded expectations academically,” Brown said.

So far, 910 students have been admitted to the College and 340 students have already committed to fall enrollment.

“We don’t have a wait list, per se,” Brown said. “Our policy is to accept all qualified students. It usually works itself out.”

Brown is “very confident” that numbers for the incoming class will reach 390 by mid-May, but he said he does not want that number to exceed 415.

Usually between 45 and 47 percent of students who are accepted to the College choose to attend. Because the applicant pool was so large this year, the danger of having too large a class is a possibility, Brown said, although it is not probable.

The reason for the increased application numbers could be credited to the new style of admissions at the College, Brown said.

“We made the decision to visit fewer high schools this year, but we did more follow-up work with students through phone calls, e-mail and instant messaging, trying to make the College more accessible to them,” Brown said.

With the cost of college tuition steadily rising nationally, the College does what it can to ensure that attendance is financially possible for students. According to Brown, the total financial aid awarded to the class of 2010 in scholarships at this time is between $1.6 and $1.8 million.

Incoming freshmen won’t be the only new students at Saint Mary’s in the fall. Numbers are also up for transfer applicants. Twenty-six percent more applications have been turned in by potential transfer students than last year, Brown said.

However, the numbers for the College’s Linkage program with Holy Cross College are down at the moment. For the past three years, approximately 50 students have participated in the program, which allows first-year Holy Cross students to take one class per semester at Saint Mary’s and also live on-campus at the College while enrolled as a Holy Cross student. If students maintain a 3.0 GPA, they are then accepted into Saint Mary’s as sophomores.