Applications still down, but acceptances have increased
Administrators unconcerned with fewer applications
With the Feb. 1 Regular Decision admissions deadline over and preliminary data on the class of 2016 coming in, offers of admission to Knox are rising despite a fall in the total number of applicants.
As of Feb. 10, there had been 2,121 applications submitted, a drop of eight percent from last year’s total of 2,313. Of these, 1,010 students have received offers of admission, as opposed to 940 as of this time last year, an increase of roughly seven percent.
President Teresa Amott, in her February report to the faculty, sounded a confident note that these numbers do not mean a drop in the quality of the incoming class of 2016, saying, “Early data suggest that there has not been a dramatic change in the academic qualifications of the pool.”
The numbers appear to back her up on this point, as 38 percent of students who applied for admission ranked in the top ten percent of their high school classes with an average ACT score of 26.9, which are down from 40 percent and 27.2, respectively.
However, for admitted students, 47 percent ranked in the top ten percent of their high school classes and had an average of 28 for their ACT score, both of which are unchanged from a year ago. This suggests that there has been no drop-off in the quality of students who are likely to make up the class of 2016.
Director of Admissions Paul Steenis is also unconcerned.
“We haven’t had to worry [about enrolling a qualified class],” he said.
He credits the odd situation in which fewer applicants has meant more acceptances to the fact that applications have been better filled out than in years past, meaning more of them can be acted upon.
The President’s Report went on to note that the fall in applications seems to be occurring evenly across all of Knox’s target markets, including the western and northern suburbs of Chicago and several key out-of-state metropolitan areas.
International student numbers are also down. There were 221 applications from students living outside the United States this year, a drop from 258 at this time last year, though they constituted 13 percent of applications both years.
Data from comparative institutions is mixed. Among colleges with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) or the Great Lakes College Association (GLCA), 17 had seen less applications as compared to last year while 13 had seen more.
Steenis cautions against making final conclusions yet, as, “The applications are still coming in and will continue to come in.”
The deadline for transfer students does not come until April 1, and freshmen who apply after the regular Feb. 1 deadline are still considered, though on a rolling basis.
“We’ve got plenty of applicants to enroll a class … which is our goal for the year,” Steenis said.
That goal is to enroll 390 new students (360 freshmen and 30 transfers), who, combined with the projected 1,002 returning students, would give Knox College an enrollment of 1,392 students for fall term of next year.
Regardless of admissions numbers, the Admissions Office is always looking for new ways to connect to potential students.
A new admissions blog will be up sometime soon, featuring responses to commonly asked questions about Knox. The student profiles featured on the website might also undergo revisions to make them into a question and answer format.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to better tell the story of what goes on at Knox,” Steenis said.
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