By Brooke Dellarocco and Mack Olmsted, Staff Writer & Asst. Production Editor
Manhattan College’s census for the 2021-2022 academic year was released on Oct. 1. Following the Open House event on Oct. 10, MC is beginning to see expectations for the incoming class.
The census breaks down all of MC’s data and ratios that contribute to the backbone of admissions and enrollment. It highlights all the recent trends as well as upcoming expectations for admissions. The census is used by a variety of staff for various reasons within the college community, such as statistics, enrollment information and much more.
Most of the census information gets published in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) yearly.
Provost William Clyde explained the basis of the census and how it’s analyzed to determine statistical measures.
“It’s kind of a report card of how we did in terms of recruiting this class. Besides that, we also talked about how many of last year’s freshmen retained into this year sophomores and things like that, that’s called retention,” Clyde said.
Benjamin Boivin, director of undergraduate admissions, explains how there is a new trend in admissions following COVID-19.
“A lot of [students] didn’t want to be vaccinated and so many students from certain regions actually ended up all shifting to go south where there was a lot less COVID restriction. A place like New York City, was the epicenter of the pandemic for a long time,” Boivin said. “Rightfully so, our campus was very careful with wearing masks and testing and getting vaccinated. Of course that’s going to dissuade some families based on religious reasons or personal reasons to not want to come to Manhattan College.”
Following COVID-19, this measurement is more important than ever. The pandemic has drastically impacted the income of the school, building up the pressure on admissions’ shoulders.
“Now we’re competing with colleges through a census where that never used to be the case. By May 1, you understand the ‘XYZ’ amount of students we’re going to have. Almost every college in the country can expect some amount of what we call melt, which is students that deposit and then kind of melt away and decide ‘Actually no Manhattan’s not for me,’ but this year was higher than ever, I think because of the amount of competition out there,” Clyde said.
One of admissions’ biggest events of the year happened on Oct. 10: Manhattan College’s Open House. This consists of a series of activities held on campus to allow highschool students to determine whether they want to continue their education at MC. A club fair was hosted on the quadrangle and in Draddy Gymnasium, tours were conducted on campus and multiple panels/informational sessions were led that allowed students to ask questions and learn more about student life.
“The competition’s more fierce than ever, which is why these open house programs are so important,” Boivin said.
Each of the five schools in MC have a certain goal for the amount of enrolled students they hope to gain. The O’Malley School of Business, School of Liberal Arts, School of Engineering, School of Science, School of Health and Education and School of Professional and Continuing Studies are all drastically affected by so many simple aspects of the enrollment process.
Financial modeling is one example of a factor that plays into a student’s decision to attend. The amount of scholarship money or financial aid that is offered to a student, can form a huge deciding factor for families. Globally, there are still many families who are still struggling to regroup after the pandemic.
“We obviously try our best to make it as affordable as possible for anyone that’s coming to Manhattan College. You know, private schools are not getting any more affordable these days, but we certainly try to make it as competitive as possible so that students do choose Manhattan for the quality education that we offer,” Boivin said.
Open House is also a good indicator of what interests seem to be popular, specifically what schools students are planning to apply to. Going into the new year, many colleges face uncertainty when determining a firm number of enrolled students.
Unlike ever before, students will actually attend a wide variety of open houses, and even submit their enrollment deposits to two schools at once. This takes away the ability for admissions offices to know how well their efforts worked by May 1.
However, Boivin addressed the general amount of enrolled students in past trends, which provides a reasonable indicator for projected enrollment.
“Generally speaking, between about 750 to 800 is our general pool. It’s kind of our average over the past 10 years of what you can expect to see enrolled for new students,” Boivin said. “But now that we’re kind of back to a normal recruitment schedule, there’s a lot more high schools opened up with less COVID restrictions. So we’re able to go see places like California and we’re going out to Vietnam and India and South Florida and Chicago and Saudi Arabia. So when you start opening up the pool of who you can potentially get to come to Manhattan College, you start seeing a larger class come in.”
Boivin spoke about the multiple areas that impact enrollment statistics and how the college determines class sizes prior to an enrollment date. One of these areas includes the fluctuation in choice of major between applying to college and starting classes.
“A lot of students may decide to apply and do a certain thing before May 1, or even before Sept. 1,” Boivin said. “A lot of those students that even applied to a certain school as a civil engineer may in fact be like a physics major in the school of science by the time of enrollment, for example.”
Yet, statistics tends to gear towards the ways MC chooses to model their goals.
“It kind of changes each year based on the model that we have. We try to hit a certain goal for each school,” Boivin said. “As you can imagine, there’s certain schools that are bigger than others, for example, the School of Education and Health and the School of Science tend to be the smaller of the five schools, with The School of Engineering being the largest and then the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Business sort of like flip flopping each year. There’s a number of factors that can play into the changes obviously, when you get a brand new Higgins, Engineering and Science Center, a lot of students are interested in engineering and science”
Based on reactions of the facilities during Open House, admissions is suspecting engineering is going to be a popular choice for prospective students.
“This past open house, we saw a super excited crowd of people, parents, students, grandparents and alumni in our Higgins Engineering and Science Center,” Boivin said. “It was a really exciting environment and that really connects the prospective students, to our faculty, to our dean, to current students who are showing off labs and it really makes a really strong connection. So that’s what we want to see more often.”
Incoming freshman David Hajian came to Open House to look at the campus atmosphere and is going to be a sound studies major upon attending MC in fall 2023.
“Since I’ve toured the school today, I’ve really grown to like what I’ve experienced so far in the school, I think it’s a great community,” Hajian said.
The School of Science is also on the move this year, with a $15 million donation from the Kakos family, meant to improve the facilities and education available to students within the science field.
Manhattan College is planning to excel their programs and facilities in the future to reach a wider audience and assist the community’s ability to continue to grow and flourish into a successful educational system.