Thanks to the expanded efforts of Admissions staff, Mary Baldwin College is marking its second year of record-breaking student interest.
According to MBC’s Admissions office, a record number of prospective students — 3,674 so far — have applied to the school for fall 2011, an increase of more than 13 percent over last year’s total. Mary Baldwin has a rolling admissions process and will be continuing to accept applications, so this year’s total will continue to increase in the coming months.
As a result of the higher volume of applications, officials have created a wait list for prospective students, the first in several years. College officials — who aim to steadily increase enrollment for the next four years — see the latest numbers as a positive step.
Officials attribute the uptick to an aggressive campaign to attract new students, extending the college’s geographic reach into new markets, increasing communication with prospective students, and developing scholarships and financial aid packages that make a private college education affordable for families.
More than ever, students today are zeroing in on colleges that offer exactly what they want — good news for MBC, which offers a personalized education in niche disciplines such as Renaissance studies, criminal justice, Health Care Administration, teacher education, and peacemaking and conflict resolution as well as more than 40 other majors and minors.
Unique programs such as the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership , the world’s only all-female cadet corps, and MBC’s early college offerings for students age 13 to 16 continue to draw applicants. In fact, expanding on its successful Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, MBC has created a new Early College Academy for high school girls skipping their senior year or who are graduating from high school a year or two early. So far, the move is paying off; Admissions officials are seeing an increase among younger applicants with impressive academic achievements.
Standardized test scores and grade point averages of this year’s applicants are on the rise among traditional age students as well, according to Andrew Modlin, executive director of enrollment management.
“Good students are considering a wide range of college types from large public universities to small private colleges to find the one that is the right learning environment for them,” he said. “To make sure those top-tier students take the step from acceptance to enrollment often depends on personal interactions with faculty, staff, students, and alumnae/i and their impression of the campus.
“A campus visit helps put us in the running, it gives us a chance to connect with a prospective student and show her the type of personalized experience that a private college education can offer,” Modlin said. “A student who visits our campus gets the chance to speak with current students and faculty members as well as to meet with Admissions and Financial Aid counselors to help her determine if Mary Baldwin is the right choice for her.”