More and more students want to be Horned Frogs.
TCU is experiencing a year of unprecedented growth in terms of applicants and rising test scores. The number of applicants for this fall’s freshman class has increased by more than 1,000 since last year at this time.
“We’re having a year like nothing I’ve ever even heard about before,” TCU Dean of Admission Ray Brown said.
But with exceptional growth comes a renewed focus on implementing diversity, Brown said.
“While I’m glad we’ve made gains in terms of students of color here, I don’t think there’s anybody around here who thinks we are where we need to be,” Brown said.
The percentage of the non-white student population at TCU has risen by 6 percent in the last fifteen years.
“I got here in 2000 when TCU was nine percent students of color – nine,” Brown said.
After his arrival, Brown started thinking about ways to bring more minority students to campus.
The Community Scholars Program was a product of this brainstorming. The program consists of exceptional students from urban high schools with high minority populations in Fort Worth, Arlington and Dallas. The program offers more than $3 million in scholarships to these students each year.
The Community Scholars Program brings in 40 first-year students each fall.
One of these scholars is Kaddeus Bailey, a first-year business major, from DeSoto High School. Bailey’s high school counselor initially told him about the Community Scholars Program, which meant an opportunity to attend TCU – something he never thought was a possibility.
“TCU offered me a full-ride academic scholarship; without that, I don’t think I would be here,” Bailey said.
While he knows he is a minority, Bailey said he has seen a growth in diversity, especially in the community TCU offers.
“It’s a great campus family-wise, and everybody bonds well,” Bailey said.
Brown said diversity goes deeper than race alone.
“It’s not just students of color – we would like more Muslims here, we would like more Jewish kids here, we’d like more Buddhist kids here,” Brown said.
Sociology professor Dr. Lynn Hampton said she believes in the importance of diversity on college campuses.
Hampton said students need to learn how to address issues related to diversity because it will be part of their lives moving forward. The more diverse a student body is, the more perspectives students will be able to gain, she said.
“I have heard from students that even though there are elements of diversity, it’s not necessarily celebrated across the board in the way that they would want it to be,” Hampton said.
As the dean of admission, Brown said he is working to change that.
“There is nobody putting pressure on this office more than we put pressure on ourselves,” Brown said. “The more divergent of ideas that we can expose folks [to], the more nimble you will be intellectually and more nimble you will be socially.
“You’re never going to have this kind of laboratory again in your life.”