If the latest batch of more than 23,000 applications for the 2008 incoming freshman class is any indication, interest in attending Fordham is mounting nationwide.
Not only is this the 17th consecutive year that the number of students applying to Fordham has increased, but out-of-state applications have soared. Of the total 23,156 applications, almost one half—or 10,874—came from outside the metropolitan region of New York and New Jersey.
Overall, the University has experienced a 7 percent increase in applications this cycle, but applications from certain regions, such as the southwest states (Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) have jumped as much as 66 percent in one year.
Applications from California saw a 39 percent increase, up from 1,049 last year to 1,453 this year, which is 6 percent of the total. The jump means that there are more applicants from the Golden State than from any state outside the eastern seaboard.
“Clearly we are attracting students from outside the metropolitan region and growing our reputation as a national university,” said John W. Buckley, assistant vice president for undergraduate enrollment, who noted that Fordham received applications from 49 states. “New York City has become much more of a college town, and students, particularly from the opposite coast, are very attracted to the idea of coming here.”
Buckley attributed the spike in national interest to Fordham’s aggressive recruiting in regions showing large demographic growth—in particular, the South, the Southwest and the West.
The University, he said, has ramped up its direct mail and electronic marketing efforts to reach students at fairly early stages in their college selection process, including high school sophomores. The Office of Admissions then follows up with visits to 450 high schools, particularly in major cities and suburbs and in markets that already have familiarity with Jesuit education. Electronic marketing has been critical, as today’s students are most comfortable online, Buckley said. In fact, 94 percent of this year’s applications were received electronically, up from about 84 percent last year.
Summer visits to the Fordham campuses, which have increased this year by 17 percent, also are playing a part in persuading potential students, Buckley said. Fordham offers the Fast Track and First Look programs geared to high school sophomores and juniors during the summer, which not only introduce potential students to Fordham, but also provide fundamental tips on the college selection process.
Moreover, Buckley attributes the increasing national interest in Fordham to its growing selectivity. The University’s acceptance rate (percentage of students offered admission) dropped to 42 percent for the Class of 2011, from 46 percent for the Class of 2010. Buckley said SAT scores among applicants this year were up by an average of 15 points. In addition, the University’s offerings such as small class sizes, two campuses, an excellent honors program, integrated learning communities and the Campion Institute, help position Fordham as an attractive choice for students seeking a top-flight college experience.
“There are so many strengths of a Jesuit education that you can share with prospective students, but the one that seems to resonate with many is the concept of cura personalis,” Buckley said. “You are coming to New York, to a major national university where you will be challenged academically. Within that context you are also going to be supported and encouraged.”
In addition, Fordham’s national profile got a boost in 2007 when it was chosen as one of the “25 Hottest Schools in America” by the editors of Kaplan/Newsweek’s 2008 How to Get Into College Guide, and was subsequently listed in Newsweek as the “Hottest Catholic School” in the country.