This year, Maryville College experienced its largest freshman class in history with 349 enrolled students. Director of Admissions, Cyndi Sweet, believes that little has been changed in the recruiting process and that the large class is a result of steadily increasing enrollment for the past several years.
“When you have happy students, happy faculty, and happy staff they spread the word, and it reaches back to students in high school,” Sweet said.
This mentality is reflected in the enrollment numbers. In 2010 the freshman class consisted of 277 students and has been grown each year since.
Of the students in the newest class, 42% were in the top 25% of their high school classes. The average grade point average (GPA) is 3.45. There is also a large percentage of student athletes. In fact, 149 of 349 students are athletes. This can largely be attributed to much higher football recruitment than in previous years.
With such a large class size, the college is facing some challenges. One of the biggest challenges this year is housing. Nearly 83% of freshmen are living on campus which causes rooms to be at full capacity. Many double and single rooms have had to accommodate an extra person, making them triple rooms.
Twenty-two rooms (primarily male) had three residents at the beginning of the school year. Space has freed in the dorms through drops, decisions to commute and a other factors. The housing department has now been able to eliminate all of the triple rooms. Only three doubled singles remain by request of the occupants. The current occupants of these doubled singles will be allowed to remain in the rooms until the end of the semester.
Kristen Gourley, Director of Campus Life, identifies the main goals of residence life as not only housing all incoming students but also ensuring they have an enjoyable experience. The housing department received a number of complaints from concerned parents this year. Gourley recalls the difficulty of explaining that space was simply not available to fix the problem immediately.
Effects of housing the large freshman class spread to the housing of upperclassmen as well. The Residence Life department worked over the summer to remove as many upperclassmen as possible from freshman residence halls. Gourley recognizes this as a typical issue in housing referring to the process as “a little puzzle with constantly moving pieces that need to be rearranged.” Since similar issues are expected to occur in approaching years, Residence Life is already looking into more efficient uses of residence space and possible room selection policy changes.
Both Sweet and Gourley agree that growth is healthy for the college, but they recognize the possible issues that accompany expansion. Sweet believes that it is important to “grow within the overall mission of the college.”
While serious discussions may later occur regarding to what extent Maryville College can grow, both the Admissions and Residence Life departments are excited for the positive trend to continue in upcoming years.