Dean of Admission reflects on university’s growing recognition

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TCU has quickly grown into a nationally-recognized university as the Office of Admission continues to develop its acceptance process.

After a recording breaking 20,000 applications were received for next year’s class of first-year students, TCU Dean of Admission Heath Einstein said the milestone is important for the university.

“It’s a tremendous achievement,” Einstein said. “I think it’s great but what I’m more interested in is what are the qualities of our applicants – qualitatively and quantitatively who they are. I believe the measure of an admission office’s success is not ever known in the actual year but four years after when students walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.”

According to TCU At A Glance, the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate is 91 percent – well above the national average of 78 percent. Einstein said this speaks to the kind of community TCU has.

“What we want to see is students who have engaged meaningfully in life outside of themselves,” Einstein said. “Do they take the time to know the people around them and to care for the people around them?”

Einstein said as TCU continues to attract more students who are capable of achieving success in the classroom, it forces the Office of Admission to think more critically about components of a prospective student’s application.

“There was a time when we admitted students we knew were going to do well and denied students who we felt weren’t meant to do well,” Einstein said. “Now because of the popularity of TCU and space limitations, we have to make difficult choices between students who could do well.”

Paige Browning, a junior movement science student and TCU tour guide, recognizes that the more attention TCU receives, the better the university will become.

“This means that TCU can be more selective with the students they pick, allowing us to become the best of the best,” Browning said. “With those 20,000 students comes students with all different backgrounds, experiences and knowledge that can add to the TCU melting pot in a positive way.”

Einstein said campus visits are very important and that students who visit, whether it’s a daily visit, Monday at TCU, Experience TCU or Access Granted; they are more likely to enroll at TCU.

Browning said she loves showing off how great TCU is.

“Meeting prospective students is great because you get to make an impact on their college decision, Browning said. “As well as their thoughts on our prestigious university.”

Einstein said there have been upward of 30,000 visitors at TCU this year.

“It’s exciting,” Einstein said. “It means that people want to see what this place is all about.”

Browning said the success of TCU athletic teams has contributed to the rise in popularity for the university.

“Being on the front stage and prime television really puts TCU on the map for the rest of the country,” Browning said. “After we won the Rose Bowl in 2011 after the 2012 season, applicant numbers increased by 42 percent.”

This is called the “Flutie effect.” In a 1984 game against the University of Miami, Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie threw a last-second hail mary 48 yards for a game-winning touchdown. That single play put Boston College on the map for prospective students and in two years, applications rose 30 percent. Ever since it has been acknowledged that successful athletic programs help promote admission applications.

“Now I think it’s a bit simplistic and reductive to just say good football team equals good admission numbers,” Einstein said. “There’s a lot more that goes into it than that. There’s no question it doesn’t hurt though.”

As Einstein’s first full year as the appointed Dean of Admission comes to a close, his goals remain large for TCU admission.

“My goal is to always enroll a class of students who are going to graduate in four years and will have a transformative experience at TCU,” Einstein said. “My hope is that we can continue to attract students of increasing caliber and that we also attract as broad a selection of society as we can. Those two concepts can coexist and that is what’s really exciting to me bringing TCU into our 150 year anniversary.”

TCU will celebrate its 150 year anniversary in 2023.

“The TCU of tomorrow I think is going to, in some ways, look different from the TCU of today,” Einstein said. “But at our core, we’ll still remain true to who we are.”