Come September, a new class will be walking onto Knox’s campus, going through orientation and taking their first college classes. According to Admissions’ statistics, the Class of 2020 is one of the highest-ranked in Knox history.
As of May, 373 students have enrolled in the Class of 2020. However, with transfer students not deciding until June 1, and waiting still on other students, Admissions believes that they will have around 400 new incoming students in the fall. This number would fall around the number of incoming students of the last couple of years. In 2015, 417 students entered the college, and in 2014, there were 402 new students.
The college hopes to expand in the upcoming years, part of the Knox strategic plan. The plan explicitly states that the college is hoping to increase and sustain enrollment in the upcoming years.
Paul Steenis, Dean of Admission, stresses that this is a hard time for most colleges to be increasing their enrollment.
“If anything, I think we’re seeing a lot of colleges in the Midwest falling short of their goals in recruiting their classes … as families continue to be challenged to manage the costs of college and determine how they’re going to afford college,” said Steenis. “I think a lot of institutions, public and private for that matter, are seeing challenges in maintaining enrollment much less growing it. We function within that environment, that backdrop.”
If reached, the advantages to growing the college would be beneficial. More students means more faculty can be hired, to fill the needs of students and give them new opportunities in underrepresented departments. The faculty to student ratio will always be maintained as 12:1, so if the college gained 200 students, they would also hire about 16 new faculty members.
Steenis also stresses how more students can mean more exciting campus life.
“Every time you add students, you potentially add to the vibrancy of student life, vibrancy of student clubs and organizations, [you] struggle a little bit less to have a threshold number of people to keep a certain club or organization going,” he said.
As long as the college brings in 400 students this fall, they’ll be on track to their goal.
The statistics of the new class build upon those of previous years. Whereas most years, the classes are about 16 percent international, the Class of 2020 is 21 percent international.
Of the students coming from the United States, 43 percent of them are students of color, which is the same percentage from the last two years.
The academics of the new class are also statistically the best the college has seen: The average ACT composite score is 27.1, up from last year’s 26.7, and the previous year’s 26.3.
The same trend shows in the statistics on the class rank of the students. 73 percent of the Class of 2020 was in the top quarter of their high school class, whereas last year, 68 percent fell in this percentile, and the previous year, 63 percent did.
The breakdown in gender has also balanced out from previous years, while still predominantly female. The last two years, Knox has brought in classes that were 61 percent female and 39 percent male, but this year’s class is 56 percent female and 44 percent male.
The college also received a record number of applications: 3,589, up from last year’s 3,524 and the previous year’s 3,281.
Of the 3589 applicants, 2,340 were offered admission, which is more than last year’s 2,240 and the previous year’s 2,230. That means that this year had a 65 percent acceptance rate. Last year, the college had a 63.5 percent acceptance, and the year previous, 68 percent.
Overall, the college is becoming more selective, with more esteemed demographics.
This year was also Admissions’ first year fully implementing all the new changes that have been happening over the last few years. This year was the first full year with all the new admissions publications, the new building Alumni Hall, and the new website. They’ve also changed their campus visit program.
“We’ve been kind of excited. … The fact that we’re at this point thinking about bringing in a class of 400 and plan to do so next fall, we’re feeling good about that success as well,” Steenis said.
Knox is also developing a virtual tour for the website, which will launch sometime in June on the website.
Steenis is thankful for everyone who’s helped this year at Admissions, from those who hosted students overnight, to the faculty who let students into their classrooms and met with prospective students and parents individually.
“It takes an entire campus community to recruit a class, it’s not just an admissions office effort,” Steenis said. “Time and time again I think this campus community is seen as an open welcoming, inviting, hospitable sort of place and that makes all the difference, I think, when it comes to bringing in a class, because it’s about who we are as a campus community. So I would say thank you to all the people in the campus community who have helped to recruit this class.”