Admission numbers show consistent trends

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    Although still preliminary, admission numbers for the new school year are in.

    The figures do not indicate any serious change in admission trends, said Wes Waggoner, director of freshman admission.

    Here are the numbers:

    Selectivity

    According to unofficial figures from the admission department, TCU admitted 6,170 students, or 50.56 percent of students who applied this year, compared to 5,802 students, or 48.97 percent of students who applied in fall 2007, decreasing the university’s selectivity rate.

    Waggoner said selectivity can be hard to manage because while trying to increase selectivity, you can decrease the actual number of students who enroll. He said even if applications increase, if those applications are filled out by students who aren’t very interested in TCU and who don’t actually enroll at TCU, then the yield, or the number of students who accept offers of admission, could go down.

    Ray Brown, dean of admission, said that is why the university offers admission to more students as the number of applications increases.

    This fall, 12,203 students applied to TCU as compared with 11,847 students who applied to the university in 2007, according to the admissions office.

    Lower selectivity this year is not a problem, but it is a concern, Waggoner said. It should not be the beginning of a trend, he said.

    Minority

    TCU admitted 1,421 minority students this fall, according to the unofficial numbers, as compared with 1,293 minority students in 2007. Minority enrollment increased from 292 last year to 320 this year, according to admissions statistics.

    The university lists African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans as minorities. International students are counted separately.

    The increase was helped by several programs created to recruit more minority students, said Michael Marshall, assistant director of admission. Of the 50 students who participated in the Black Student Weekend program, which debuted in the spring, 15 enrolled at TCU this semester, he said.

    Increasing minority enrollment is not so much about diversity but about getting students to learn from one another, Marshall said.

    Gender Gap

    The only true letdown in the figures this fall is the gender gap, Waggoner said. The female-to-male ratio for the 2008 freshman class is about 61 to 39, he said,

    “We had made some tremendous gains in the percentage of males in the last several years in breaking 40 percent and that has fallen this year,” Waggoner said.

    Brown said the university received fewer male applicants in 2008 than it did in 2007.

    “We’ve grown the class as our applicant pool has grown and so we haven’t been able to bring that gap anywhere closer,” Brown said. “Guys just are not going to college in the percentages that they did in years past, and there’s just a whole host of reasons why. There is no single reason why.”

    Brown said men are disproportionately attracted to starting their own businesses online compared to women. The military also seems to be attracting more potential students, he said.

    Waggoner said there is no university-wide strategy to increase male applicants. One thing admission wants to do is get more current male students involved in the recruiting process, he said.

    Liz Perkins, director of admission marketing and communication, said the design of the TCU Web site is a crucial tool in attracting males to the university.

    Admissions has found that if a male prospective student sees pictures of more male students than female students on the Web site, they will be more inclined to enroll at the school because male students identify with the image of other male students, she said.

    The admission strategy, therefore, is to put more male students at the front of the Web site with the goal of attracting them to the school, Perkins said.

    Admission also sends brochures to students admitted to TCU that are specifically tailored to their interests and shows how TCU can meet those interests, Perkins said.

    Other Numbers

    The unofficial numbers also show that out of state enrollment increased from 26.16 percent to 26.63 percent. In addition, 87 international students enrolled this fall compared to 74 last year.

    SAT scores increased from 1745.74 to 1753.82 this fall.