Ithaca College enrolled 1,550 freshmen for the 2014–15 academic year — 150 fewer than the target number of 1,700 students. According to Eric Maguire, vice president of enrollment and communications, the college saw a record number of applicants in the spring, which allowed the college to be more selective of the students it accepted this year.
“When you’re more selective, you’re taking a higher caliber of student … When you’re taking a higher caliber of student, those students have options [for other colleges],” Maguire said in an interview with The Ithacan on Aug. 21. As a result, the college is now “placed on a tier of more competitive institutions.”
Prospective students may not be listing the college as their first choice, especially if they are applying to other competitive institutions in the same tier or higher and are confident they will be accepted. Because higher-caliber students usually have more acceptance offers to choose from, the chances of their attending the college are lower, which could lead to enrollment shortfalls for future years.
The college needs to be more realistic with what kinds of students it accepts if it wishes not to repeat this year’s mistake. Taking only the highest caliber of students poses the risk that those students may not accept admission offers, because the college is not their first choice.
By looking at a wider range of students and looking at how the college fits their individual needs and interests, the college could potentially reach its intended target enrollment goal for next year.