Freshman applications for the 2007–08 year reached 12,461 this month, the highest number of students to apply in Ithaca College’s history, said Yuko Mulugetta, analytical statistician and special assistant of institutional research for the college.
Larry Metzger, dean of enrollment planning, said allowing students to apply using the Common Application is key to having a higher number of applicants. The Common Application allows students to apply to multiple schools on one application.
“It [lets] high school students apply without all the hassle,” he said.
Overall, Mulugetta said projections show an enrollment of 5,835 students next fall, but the number won’t be confirmed until deposits are received May 1. Last year, 6,409 undergraduates were enrolled and 6,412 the year before, Metzger said.
Despite this year’s numbers, Metzger said the National Center for Education Statistics and the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education projected a decrease in the number of applicants across the country.
“[The country is] currently in a period of increasing numbers of high school graduates that is due to peak in 2009,” Metzger said. “Thereafter, according to demographics, there is a projected decline in the numbers through 2017.”
The college’s Enrollment Planning Task Force, created by President Peggy R. Williams last spring, was formed to reverse the decrease in admissions and increase the number of applicants, according to Metzger. The force is co-chaired by Metzger and Barbara Belyea, associate professor of physical therapy.
According to Gerard Turbide, director of admissions, the college’s primary market is the Northeast, so there is a need to increase the college’s presence in other regions.
“There are numerous programs underway to expand recruitment, to improve the image and visibility of the college, to better target our recruitment efforts and to improve communication with prospects, and thereby to increase applications,” Metzger said.
“While the [task force] may not be able to increase admissions, its goals still include having stable enrollment and to make sure the right people are here,” Turbide said.
Turbide said the Enrollment Planning Task Force is working to not only increase applications, but also to ensure admitted students will choose the college.
“The better connections we can make with our students, faculty and staff, the more likely admitted students will choose Ithaca,” Turbide said.