HUNTINGTON, IN -- Huntington College broke enrollment records for the second consecutive year this fall. HC's student body is its largest in the 99-year history of the school.
Huntington's headcount now stands at 726, a figure representing an increase of more than 25% since 1993. While the school's EXCEL program has added more than 50 adult learners to the student body, the largest increase is in the enrollment of traditional undergraduates. The number of first-time freshmen is up 51% over last year.
Two hundred thirty-three new full-time students enrolled this fall, an all-time Huntington College record and a figure dramatically ahead of the ten year average. Jeff Berggren, executive director of admissions and financial aid, explained that new recruiting strategies emphasizing campus visits have really paid off.
"Once students come to our campus and see our tremendous facilities, meet our fine faculty, and feel our vibrant spiritual dynamic, we begin to stand out among our competitors," Berggren said. "There is a special Huntington College magic that can only be experienced first-hand."
Dr. Gerald Smith, vice president and dean of the college, noted that improved retention rates have helped swell the total student body to record size. He points to more stringent admissions standards adopted eight years ago as a turning point in student retention.
"Some schools believe if they lower their academic standards for admission, they can increase the size of their student body," said Smith. "We proved just the opposite is true. We made it tougher to get into Huntington College, attracted a more academically-prepared student body, and watched those students progress past their freshman year to finish their degree with us. Fewer students may have enrolled at first, but more of them stayed the full four years. The strategy was a gamble, but the results have been demonstrated by our record-breaking campus population in the last two years."
Smith describes this year's freshman class as "among the most academically prepared in Huntington College history." Average composite scores on standardized tests such as the SAT are significantly higher than in recent years, and the high school grade point averages among incoming freshmen are at an all-time high.
"Obviously, we are all delighted that more and more students are choosing Huntington College," said president G. Blair Dowden. "Our faculty, facilities and programs are among the finest anywhere. Word is getting out that Huntington College is an exciting place to study and prepare for a lifetime of Christian service in a wide range of careers and professions."
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