Fall deposits are down compared to this time last year, although there have been increases in applicants and admitted students for the 2023 Knox school year. Vice President of Enrollment and Dean of Admissions Paul Steenis estimates there will be 360 students in the upcoming class Ñ a projected 20 student decrease compared to Class of 2022.
“At this point, we’ve yielded a little bit smaller number of students in the fall class, but we also have a large number of students still in play, if you will. I think May 1stÑthe date that most students are supposed to make their decisions Ñ more and more students have been taking May 1st with a little bit of flexibility,” Steenis said.
Steenis said there are still a number of prospective students making up their mind, visiting Knox and other schools. Additionally, transfer students have until June 1st to decide whether or not to commit.
As of now, Steenis said the upcoming fall class displays higher ‘academic preparation’ with increases in their average ACT scores and GPA’s, compared to the preceding class. There is also an 8 percent point increase of international students and a 1 percent point increase of students of color from within the U.S. The amount of need-based financial aid shows no substantial changes, while there is a general increase in family income.
Steenis said the decrease in fall deposits as of May 1st (commonly known as National College Decision Day) is not unique to Knox, but rather a growing trend particularly pronounced in the Northeast and Midwest regions that is likely to continue in the near future. While the May 1st decision date has been a firm tradition in the past, Steen is cited that the decline in the national birth rate has led to a decrease in overall students applying to college.
“Given the fact there’s declining numbers of highschool graduates, more competition for students, more and more colleges find themselves well after May 1st with still having space available. So the students I think are feeling less pressure to make that decision. They feel like they are less at risk of missing their space in the class if they don’t get their enrollment deposit in by May 1st,” Steenis said.
While there is a decrease in overall students submitting applications, Steenis said each student is applying to more and more colleges each year on average, creating an increase in applicant pools and admitted students. However, with the decrease in students submitting applications, the number of students accepting offers of admission has also decreased.
“For example, this year, 14.3 percent of the students who were offered admission actually accepted it so far. That’s jumped from 17.9 percent last year at the same point in time [May 16th],” Steenis said.
In response to this growing trend, Steenis stressed the importance of providing a compelling experience to its students so Knox can remain attractive to applicants. This includes maintaining awareness of the kind of programs or experiences prospective students are looking for, such as the introduction of the Business and Environmental Science majors. After the construction of the Whitcomb Art Center, Steenis said there are now 15 students interested in pursuing studio art, whereas a year before, there were only four.
“Because ultimately it’s the experience of our current students that really drives our ability to recruit future generations of students,” Steenis said. “So in a business model, it’s customer satisfaction, I suppose, but really what we’re talking about here is we need to just continue providing the best possible education for our students and really help them to achieve their goals and objectives in life. That’s number one.”