After three years of recovery, admissions officers are finally seeing greater amounts of normalcy on college campuses. Thus, driving up the admissions business like never before.
(Image c/o Office of Saint Mary’s College Admissions )
By Eleni Kvochak
American Journalism Student
Since the pandemic, the college admissions process has been deeply impacted. As a result, there has been a large decline in student enrollment. For a small-size school such as Saint Mary’s College, there is no doubt that numbers matter. Decline in student enrollment can be detrimental to the college’s survival. However, after three years of recovery, admissions officers are finally seeing greater amounts of normalcy on college campuses. Thus, driving up the admission business like never before.
At the end of last year’s admissions cycle, Saint Mary’s welcomed one of the largest classes since 2019. Around 512 first year students eagerly joined the gael family this fall. For staff, faculty, and students the campus is finally bustling with excitement.
In this upcoming year, admissions counselors hope to raise enrollment slightly further, with a goal of 520 students. As college fairs ramp up once again, admissions counselors are getting to work to attract students. To appeal to prospective students, Saint Mary’s admissions counselors are currently “spending time and effort in places of traction,” said Craig Means, Director of Transfer Admissions Admissions Athletic Liaison. With the current climate, Means explains that students want to be on-campus, attending in-person classes and events. With this in mind, they must meet the audience where it is appropriate.
From attending close to 19 college fairs thus far, people seem increasingly happy that the process feels like it did prior to 2020. “The vibe is good, the traffic flow is good,” states Means. Experiencing this normalcy, there is no question that the admissions process is back in full swing.
In addition to attending fairs, the admissions department is attempting to create a more approachable application process. Up until now, the process can be described as daunting, requiring a personal statement, supplementals, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. This year, “Perceived barriers have been removed,” meaning the college is requiring fewer documents. For instance, a student is only required to deliver a personal statement and transcripts.
Furthering this point, “The common app alone asks for a lot, by limiting some of the requirements, students can give greater attentiveness to their personal statement” says College Advisor, Kristine Kvochak.
As the common applications open and high school seniors anxiously write the perfect personal statement, admissions counselors and ambassadors lend their expertise. “Do something that is unique to you and your experiences, find something that differentiates you from the others. It doesn't hurt to think outside of the box,” advises a current student ambassador.
With the goal of maintaining high standards, along with increasing enrollment, the Saint Mary’s admissions team is working diligently to develop a process that is both simple and exciting for prospective students. There is high hope for the incoming class and for the many gaels to come.
To apply or find more information regarding the Saint Mary’s College of California admissions process, please visit https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/.
(A. Edwards. Personal Communication, October 26th, 2023)
(C. Means. Personal Communication, October 26th, 2023)
(K. Kvochak. Personal Communication, October 26, 2023)
Madison Sciba '24,