Low Applicants

by Ben Rodgers

At the last faculty meeting, Simpson College President John Byrd announced to the faculty that the amount of applications has dropped this year compared to those at this time last year.

“We received a record number of applications last year,” said Deb Tierney, President of Enrollment. “Although the total number of applications is lower in comparison to last year, it represents the second highest number of applications on record as of this date (Feb. 21).”

College officials stated that there is fluctuation every year, and it is difficult to predict the amount of applications from one year to the next.

President Byrd said that there may be two reasons leading to the low number of applications this year.

The first of these being Simpson’s Select Scholar Program. In the Select Scholar Program, the school sends online applications and an indication of what their financial award would be, based on their academics. Byrd stated that those students that the college reaches are those who have not expressed interest prior to that first contact with the Select Scholars.

“ Those are what we call soft applications,” said Byrd. “We know that if they apply based upon limited information they’re likely not to do anything.”

Along with the select scholar program, the Simpson application now asks for an essay, which Byrd also said may deter people from applying.

The college moved to including a written personal statement due to the colleges move to the Common Application, which allows students to fill out one application and send it to other institutions that use the Common Application as well.

“There was some concern that a personal statement might have caused people that were marginally interested just to quit, rather than right out an essay,” said Byrd.

Tierney stated that the college simply doesn’t know the impact the essays have had on application numbers this far and plan to evaluate it throughout the spring.

Byrd said that while the application number is lower this year, the college is not concerned. While there are a low number of applications, the amount of admission’s deposits remains the same as last year during this time.

“With the fact that we’re down (enrollment), we don’t even know yet if it will lead to low enrollment,” said Byrd. “We might have fewer applications, but they might have been more serious applicants, so we’ll get a higher percentage of them to show up.”