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Sarah Shaffer '11 speaks with a prospective student during an alumni-hosted interview session on campus.

Sarah Shaffer '11 speaks with a prospective student during an alumni-hosted interview session on campus.

This recruitment cycle is shaping into a record-breaking year for Lafayette. In a tough market where many colleges and universities are struggling to meet recruitment goals, Lafayette is at a record 6,654 applicants for the Class of 2016, up 16 percent from last year.

The previous record for applicants was 6,364 for the Class of 2011. Early decision applications also have increased this year to 567 from 488. The College is targeting 620 first-year students as well as 20 transfer students to fill the incoming class.

Greg MacDonald, dean of admissions and financial aid, says that his offices have renewed their commitment to recruitment-centric activities and admissions territory management. This “high-touch” approach saw admissions representatives visiting 1,100 high schools and community-based organizations, up from 750 visits last year. They also recruited in 25 markets not visited the year before and 10 markets never visited before. The College significantly increased its international travel to South America and recruited in Africa for the first time. International applicants rose from 882 to 1,135 this year.

“We are now strongly encouraging the admission interview as part of our selection process, and coupled with smaller campus tour groups and better-trained campus tour guides, we’re seeing positive increases in our applicant pool,” says MacDonald. “We’re pleased with our progress to date on building the Class of 2016 and remain optimistic about what lies ahead.”

This year, admissions hosted a series of alumni receptions at locations across the country, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Stamford, Conn., and Washington, D.C. The College also hosted two receptions on campus, with more than 100 alumni participating. The alumni were trained to conduct interviews with prospective students or they served on information panels. The response from alumni and prospective students alike was overwhelmingly positive.

“Admission to Lafayette has never been purely about the numbers,” says MacDonald. “In addition to providing our admissions team with a fresh perspective on a candidate, our alumni demonstrate the clear value of the Lafayette degree to our prospective students.”

MacDonald also credits the College’s communications division with stepping up efforts to reach prospective students via social media. The larger applicant pool, he says, suggests that the increased exposure to the benefits of a Lafayette degree corresponds to a growing demand for what the College has to offer among students in the midst of their college search.

The increase in applications is occurring at the higher end of the applicant pool, according to academic ratings. This year’s applicant pool also is more racially and geographically diverse. Since these applicants have other attractive college options, admissions will rely on faculty, staff, students, and alumni to help yield the highest-quality and most diverse class possible.

Categorized in: News and Features

1 Comment

  1. R says:

    A true metric is matriculants who are top 10% seniors. A larger applicant pool just means more unqualified students are applying and those for whom Lafayette is their safe school but don’t matriculate.

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