Monmouth College has nearly matched its all-time new student enrollment record with a class that is also high in quality.
The number of first-time freshmen enrolled for the fall semester is 392, just one shy of Monmouth's record of 393. Including 45 transfer students, the college welcomed 437 new students, making a strong run at the record of 443.
The entering freshman class has 49 more students than a year ago and 51 more students than 2011.
"This was one of the best years for college admissions at Monmouth in a number of years on all measures," said Keefauver. "This includes size of class, academic preparedness, percent of out-of-state students, number and breadth of international students and the countries they represent, and grade-point average."
Keefauver noted that because scholarships and financial aid play a significant role in the recruiting effort, new initiatives by the office of financial aid that helped explain to parents the affordability of a Monmouth education were also a contributing factor.
One scholarship competition, in particular, proved to be highly successful, both in terms of the Class of 2017's large numbers, as well as its strong academic profile, which was the best in four years. Three students received $25,000+ scholarships in Monmouth's Midwest Scholar Award competition, while more than half of the other 200 students who came to campus to compete for the prestigious prize received other scholarships and ultimately chose Monmouth, too.
"I am majoring in chemistry, and the new science building clinched my decision," said scholarship competitor Ian Salveson, a freshman from St. Charles who attended St. Charles East High School.
Not only is Salveson in the first class of students to study in the new $40 million Center for Science and Business for all four years, but he is also part of the first-ever varsity water polo team, a factor he said also influenced his decision.
"I actually had an athletic scholarship to another school, but I like the small-town feel of Monmouth," said Salveson.
"Nationally, college recruiting has gone through a rapid metamorphosis in the last few years, and we needed to add those best practices," said Timothy Keefauver '80, vice president for enrollment management. "We decided to undergo a multi-year project to strategically reform the processes, procedures and marketing related to recruiting and it is paying off."
Keefauver noted that broader participation by the college community as a whole contributed substantially to bringing stronger students to campus.
"The faculty were more heavily involved in recruiting both in-person and on the phone," he said. "I particularly like this since it is the faculty who make the largest difference in our students' lives once they begin their college years. We also saw an increase in alumni referring students to the college, for which we are grateful. These alums are able to tell a personal story about the value of the total Monmouth experience."
Added Phil Betz, MC's director of admissions, "The admissions staff put in a strong performance as well by exhibiting passion and energy about what Monmouth has to offer. Adding a couple of extra staff helped the office function at high efficiency."