This is the fourth year in a row that more than half of the first-year class is from out of state. The first-year class has 2,072 students, and 959, or about 45.9 percent, are from Texas.
The only reason Texas is still the majority state represented in the overall student body is fifth-year seniors and transfer students, 75 percent of whom are from Texas, said Cathan Coghlan, director of the TCU Office of Institutional Research.
Brown said the university has increased in popularity across the country.
“It’s largely because the rest of the country has discovered us,” Brown said.
California and Illinois are the top two states represented other than Texas.
However, TCU has students from all over world.
There are 25 students from Vietnam in the first-year class and 90 in the overall undergraduate population, according to the Office of Institutional Research.
Brown said the growing success of the football team has led to a lot of exposure.
“We were one of those best kept secrets for years and years and years, and then in 2011, we won the Rose Bowl,” Brown said. “That sort of opened the floodgates for a lot of the rest of the country to take a look at us.”
Two recent events had a major effect on the university’s appeal, said Clarence Scharbauer, chairman of the Board of Trustees.
“The day they called us and asked us to join the Big 12 gave us another platform of incredible,” Scharbauer said. “And the other day we announced we are joining with North Texas for a medical school.”
The recent success of the athletics program is gaining attention from the nation and attracting prospective students from across the globe.
“We were on the national stage [in 2011],” Brown said. “The announcers for the game were talking about, ‘Hey, if you haven’t seen this little college in Texas, you need to,’ and the popularity just boomed.”
After the Frogs won the Rose Bowl, yield within admission increased.
Yield is the ratio of the number of students who accept the offer of admission based on the number of admission letters offered.
“The fall of 2011 after the Rose Bowl was the highest increase in yield we had in 30-something years and this year, it’s almost tripled,” Brown said. “We issued 350 fewer offers of admission this year.”
Scharbauer said 10 years ago, TCU was a small liberal arts school without a law school or a medical school, and now national recognition has increased dramatically.
“All of a sudden, we start going out to California and playing football, our baseball team was in the College World Series three out of the last five years, and all of a sudden, it’s our front door,” Scharbauer said. “I’m not putting this all on athletics, but I’m just telling you it’s our front door.”
Brown said that while football brings attention to TCU, the university offers much more to the students.
“Gary Patterson is very fond of saying that the football program and athletics generally are merely the front porch of the university,” Brown said. “And he’s right. It’s really nothing more than that.”
Brown said sports may bring students to tour the campus, but it’s not what makes them commit.
“If [prospective students] didn’t like the experience here, and they hadn’t applied, they’re not going to,” Brown said.
Scharbauer said the TCU study abroad program is also attracting students from across the country.
“We are seeing a more diverse group of students,” Scharbauer said. “People are hearing about us, and we are getting a little more active out there with all the TCU abroad that we are doing. Kids are going to Scotland or Spain or Italy, and they’re coming home, and they’re talking about it.”
Scharbauer said the Board of Trustees is observing the growing geographic diversity of the student population.
“Now all of a sudden as a board, we are looking at the national exposure we are getting, we’re looking at our students, and now we are appealing to a lot more people,” Scharbauer said.
Scharbauer said the board is excited about the diversity and is ready to react to it.
“Now our board is starting to go, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, we like this diversity. Let’s see what we got out there, let’s see who might be interested,’” Scharbauer said.
Brown said students decide to attend TCU for a variety of reasons.
“You’ve got arguably the most beautiful school in the country populated by some of the most amazing people on this planet, in the form of our students,” Brown said.