SMC increases admissions, creates Web site
Ashley Charnley | Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Saint Mary’s Office of Admissions has noticed trend changes from previous applicant pools because of the current recession; however, the 1,126 women accepted for the College’s class of 2013 marks an increase of about 30 students from last year’s figure, Dan Meyer, vice president of enrollment, said.
“This has been a more challenging recruitment campaign this year due to economic factors. Let’s face it, home values are down, people are losing their jobs or concerned about lost wages, and savings are nearly 40 percent less than this time last year,” Meyer said.
There are three areas where the economy has affected the admissions process this year, he said.
Application numbers are close to last year’s totals, however there has been a greater number of students applying for financial aid, the applicants applying for aid have a greater amount of need than before and students are taking longer to make their final decision.
“We have had more students apply, visit campus, participate in Meet Me at the Avenue and even apply for financial aid but, many families this year are fully evaluating all of their financial options before making a final decision,” Meyer said.
The economy has made families be much more conscious of the college their daughters will be attending.
“This has caused us to spend more time on the phone working with families concerning financial issues,” Meyer said.
Meyer said although numbers are not final, they still are hoping to make their budget target of 460 first year students in the 2009-10 school year.
What admissions is looking for in students has not changed. Meyer did say the selection process focuses on academics, but also takes many other factors into account.
“Clearly we have an academic focus in mind but we also seek to find that applicant who will use her God-given talents to make positive contributions that will enrich Saint Mary’s community of scholars,” Meyer said.
These desired applicants include students who are interested in extracurricular activities such as athletics, campus ministry, fine arts and community service, he said.
“We want well-rounded students who also happen to be great students academically,” Meyer said.
In spite of economic factors, on the surface, the incoming class will not be different from past classes in terms of their GPAs and SAT or ACT scores, he said.
The largest distinction between the class of 2013 and classes that have preceded can be seen in the College’s adjustments to the financial aid policy in order “to reflect the higher need levels we have encountered with this group of students,” Meyer said.
The applicant group this year has shown increased numbers in diversity as opposed to previous years.
Of the current total of 1,337 applicants, 15.6 percent are from diverse backgrounds, comapared to 13.5 percent from last year and 12.5 percent from two years ago, Meyer said.
Although figures aren’t final there is a good chance the Saint Mary’s class of 2013 will show an increase in diverse students from the class of 2012.
“So, with continued success over the next five weeks, the class of 2013 will be one of the most diverse in College history,” Meyer said.