Freshman Enrollment Up 20 Percent as College Admits One of Its Largest Classes in Recent Years

For returning students this fall, Manhattan College’s campus may seem a little more crowded–and rightfully so–as one of its largest freshman classes descended onto campus this August.

“It’s nice seeing a bunch of new faces,” senior Aaron Plantz said of the freshman class.

Those 905 new faces make up the largest class in at least five years, according to Caitlin Read, executive director of admissions and enrollment operations.

Part of the reason that the class is so large is that enrollment is on the rise.

Read said enrollment rose 20 percent from the last year’s admissions process, which only saw 747 freshmen enroll. The jump in enrollment occurred despite a plateau in the number of applications, which rose just one percent.

The one percent rise in applications is paired with an acceptance rate that rose just shy of one percent.

The acceptance rate remained a relatively stable 67.1 percent, which was a marginal increase of from last year’s 66.5 percent acceptance rate.

“We expect the acceptance rate to remain steady,” for fall of 2016, Read said.

Not only is this class exceptionally large, but it scored higher on entrance exams than the class before it. According to SAT Scores provided by the Office of Admissions, the average combined SAT score for critical reading and math was 1100 for the Fall 2015 pool, a six point jump from last year’s average score of 1094.

Manhattan freshmen also exceeded the national average in SAT Scores, which was 1006, according to the College Board.

Though it is much larger, the class of 2019 appears to be roughly in step with other recent freshman classes in terms of racial and ethnic diversity.

“The diversity of this year’s class is very similar to other recent classes,” Read said in an email.

Sixty-two percent of the freshman class is white, 22 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Asian, 4 percent black, and 2 percent multiracial. Three percent of freshmen identified as “other” or “unknown.”

Geographic diversity in the class wields some notable trends.

Primarily hailing from the local area, 63 percent of freshmen are originally from New York and another 16 percent are from New Jersey. Twenty-six states and Puerto Rico are represented in the Class of 2019, which, according to Ms. Read, “is very similar to past years.”

But geographic diversity involving international students has seen a spike.

There are 29 international students in the new freshman class, an 80 percent jump from last year. These students come from 27 different countries, with two students from China and two from the Republic of Georgia.

The School of Engineering remains the largest of the college’s five schools with 301 students (and 33 percent of the class), followed by the School of Business with 224 students (and 25 percent of the class).

The School of Engineering also had the highest acceptance rate of the five schools, with 74 percent of School of Engineering applicants accepted, compared to 68 percent in the School of Science, 62 percent in the School of Liberal Arts, 62 percent in the School of Education and 60 percent in the School of Business.

However, Read said that the admissions standards do not differ by school, and that the “differences have to do with the number of qualified applicants applying to each school.”

But the size of the freshman class – 76 percent of which reside on campus – has created a particularly tight situation in the residence halls.

According to Andrew Weingarten, the director of residence life, the on-campus residence occupancy rate is at 99.7 percent as of Sept. 1.

Weingarten said that Residence Life is striving to maintain consistency in its policies despite the increase in freshman enrollment. This includes keeping the guaranteed four-year housing policy for undergraduates.

“There are no plans for that to change,” Weingarten said.

Part of accommodating the large freshman class is by making a concerted effort to curb room switching, which typically occurs when roommates do not get along and want to move to a different room.

“We have to work with students a lot more and a lot harder on things like roommate mediations,” Weingarten said. “Sometimes parents say, ‘the only option is another room,’ and the reality is we might not have that.”

Weingarten also said that Residence Life would have the ability to accommodate another large freshman class in the fall due to the outgoing senior class which he called “particularly large.”

But the challenges associated with a large freshman class are also an indicator of growth for the college.

“I think a big class is great for the college,” Weingarten said. “It’s a sign that your college is doing well.”

Editor’s Note: All admission statistics will be official as of Oct. 1