New students boost enrollment

by Shara Tibkin

Behind every corner, wandering unknowingly to class, hiding in every back row desk is another new student. They’re everywhere this year.

Simpson is experiencing a record enrollment of freshmen and transfer students.

The actual number of students will not be official until after the add/drop deadline, but between 400 and 500 new students are attending Simpson.

The number of new students that Simpson generally expects to enroll each year is between 360 and 380, according to Jim Thorius, the vice president of student development.

Thorius and the Associate Director of Admissions, Kara May, said that the 2003-04 school year is the first that a wait list has ever been enacted.

Some students who applied late were not granted admission to Simpson for the fall semester.

Simpson is not the only school with many new students.

“[There is] record enrollment in other small colleges in the state,” said May.

Why the large numbers? No one is sure.

“[Either] Simpson is getting a little more out of state students or a higher percent of students graduating from high school are going on to college”, said Thorius. “When the economic job market goes down, more people go to college.”

May said that the way that admissions counselors recruit students hasn’t changed.

“We still try to build relationships with students,” she said. “The Simpson community also helps recruit students.”

Amanda Sheller, a freshman, said that touring the campus influenced her decision.

“I toured Simpson, more than once,” she said. “Each time I just got a good feel from the campus and the tour guides. It felt right.”

Freshman Jean Clipperton agrees.

“The quality of the academic programs attracted me, and everyone on campus was really friendly and approachable.”

Although the high enrollment helps promote Simpson’s popularity, some problems have accompanied the large number of new students.

Housing has been in short supply.

Some fraternities are housing first-year male students, and lounges in Picken and Kresge Halls have been changed to dorm rooms. Other areas of freshman housing have expanded occupancy, such as placing three students in two-student rooms.

Along with housing problems is the worry of crowding and food-shortage in Pfeiffer.

Committees have worked with food services to develope new meal options, such as the Pfeiffer Express Line. Now students can grab a sack lunch when in a hurry.

Although some minor problems have come with the large number of new students Thorius said that the record enrollment is “certainly a positive thing for Simpson College.”