Thursday June 1, 2006

Save Me a Seat!

More students clamoring to enroll in the University of Dayton as number of applicants nearly doubles in past decade.

More and more students want to attend the University of Dayton.

In the past 10 years, UD has "almost doubled its applicant pool" for its first-year class, said Rob Durkle, director of admission. The University received a little less than 5,000 applications in 1996 and 9,500 in 2006.

Indeed, the University of Dayton has received a record number of applications for the past five consecutive years, with a 29 percent increase between 2001 and 2006.

Durkle attributes this dramatic growth to a number of factors, including UD's growing national reputation and its early adoption of the Internet to market the University and enable students to apply — for free — online. The Web has enabled the University of Dayton reach a much wider audience, attracting such students as one from Colorado who made the decision to enroll in UD for the 2006-2007 academic year based solely on her Web research, Durkle said.

"She starts school here in the fall, and May 31 was the first time she stepped foot on campus," he added. "She said she did a lot of homework looking at colleges and universities online, and this is where she felt the most comfortable."

Durkle also attributes the increased interest to the academic quality of the University of Dayton.

"Even though we're employing technologies to better promote who we are, the quality and strength of the institution is rooted in the things our graduates are able to do," Durkle said. "You can't discount the academic quality of the institution."

Some other colleges and universities across the nation have seen similar increases, which tend to cut across all disciplines and majors.

For example, the number of applications received by Oberlin College in Ohio has increased 45 percent during the past eight years. Oberlin received 3,819 applications in 1999 and more than 5,500 this year, said Scott Wargo, director of media relations for Oberlin. At Ball State University in Indiana, applications from freshmen increased by more than 10 percent from last year alone, said Larry Waters, director of admissions.

According to the 2006 State of College Admission report released last month by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, "73 percent of colleges reported that the number of admission applications had increased from the previous year."

The association attributes that increase, which it notes has been fairly steady since 1999, to such factors as a continued increase in the number of high school graduates, more women and minorities attending college, and students applying to more colleges. It also reports the surge is due in part to more than half of all college applications being submitted online, which makes it easier for students to submit multiple applications.

In 2002, the University of Dayton was one of the first institutions of higher education to adopt an online-only application process, Durkle said. He added that UD will continue to look for ways to use technology to tell its story.

"We continue to look at ways to stay ahead of the curve," Durkle said. "In the past, we've talked about this as a warm, cheerful place where everyone says 'hello' and wears a UD T-shirt, and that's true. But I think once you look beyond that, the academic quality of what's available to our students is what makes this institution a comfortable yet challenging place for students."

Founded by the Society of Mary (Marianists) in 1850, the University of Dayton has evolved into a top-tier national university and one of the country's best Catholic universities.

For media interviews, contact Kristen Wicker at 937-229-3256.