Ithaca College has accepted about 8,700 students as of last Friday, just 100 students shy of the target acceptance number, said Eric Maguire, vice president of enrollment management.
“We’re a handful of students away from finalizing our admit pool within each of the different schools right now,” he said. “We’ll probably be done with all that by next week.”
The Office of Admissions has received 338 paid deposits from the class of 2014 as of last Friday, an increase of 69 students from the 269 deposits The Ithacan reported on Feb. 25. The college’s target goal of enrollment is 1,650.
This time last year, the Office of Admissions had received 228 paid deposits. Though this year’s number of deposits shows an increase of more than 100 students, a contributing factor to this amount may have been the college’s use of early decision in this year’s admissions process. Maguire said the college is still on the right track to curb overenrollment.
“We’ve really applied a philosophy of moderation this year, using the last two years as bookmarks for some of our decision-making,” he said. “We accepted 74 percent of [applicants] last year, and that number will be … roughly 67 percent [this year]. It’s an interesting and significant decrease.”
Last weekend, finalists for the Park Scholar and Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar awards visited the college for interviews, and the final push to get prospective students to enroll will take place next weekend at Ithaca Today.
As departments and schools across campus prepare for this last admissions event, deans of the schools aim to maintain academic and cocurricular standards — a goal that Diane Gayeski, dean of the Park School of Communications, said coincides with the college’s effort to keep a stable class size.
“Through all the analysis [the Park School] has done … we didn’t seem to suffer from the over-enrollment,” she said. “Although we don’t want to continue this huge escalation of enrollment … it seemed to have been a good year for everybody.”
Tanya Saunders, dean of the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies, said the cost of an education at the college is an important factor for prospective students, and that the division has been working closely with the Office of Admissions to highlight the strengths of the programs in DIIS.
“Because we’re such a small division, we have a better opportunity to interact with students and their parents one-on-one,” she said.
Though official acceptance numbers of students from African, Latino, Asian and Native American backgrounds have not yet been released for this year, the college has also seen a rise in application numbers for ALANA students in the past decade. In 2009, 844 were enrolled compared with 701 in 2008, the largest increase the college had seen in at least the past 10 years.
Throughout this week, the college also hosted Inside Look, a program geared to prospective students of multicultural backgrounds.
Leslie Lewis, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, said she is looking forward to seeing how the college will continue attracting ALANA students.
“I sit on the Strategic Planning Committee for diversity … that committee talks a great deal about the numbers of ALANA students,” Lewis said. “I’m looking forward to the way that committee will come up with our plan in regards to diversity.”
Other schools and departments face different enrollment challenges. For the theater department, admissions are mainly based on auditions and interviews. Last semester, the freshman BFA class in the theater department consisted of 41 students. In 2008, the BFA class totaled 35 people.
Lee Byron, associate professor and chair of the theater department, said his department is striving to keep performance classes small but said the quality of his students overshadows the quantity.
“I don’t think [overenrollment] has had an impact,” he said. “It certainly presents challenges … we’ve tried to keep the class sizes 12 and under. We did have a large enrollment this past fall, but my sense from my observations … is that it appears to be one of the strongest classes we’ve had.”