By Taryn Lowney
The current freshmen class at Catholic University is significantly larger than the Freshman classes of past years.
There are nine hundred and ten freshmen this year in comparison to eight hundred and thirty freshmen last year. This year demonstrates a 9.6% increase in one year.
“Admissions had more of a focus on special events like Odyssey Day which allow students to feel and experience Catholic,” said Thaddeaus Green, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions. “Students were more committed and there was little summer drop off…the class across the country to my knowledge was larger this year which contributed.”
Christopher Lydon, Vice President of Enrollment, Management, and Marketing also cites Odyssey Day and similar events as increasing the interest in Catholic University. According to Lydon, this year’s successful recruitment “was twofold with Admissions counseling staff as well as the surrounding campus community.” Lydon believes “going forward it is important to have strong and stable enrollment at CUA.”
Students express their concerns with the higher acceptance rate at Catholic University.
“While I wonder how classes and student-teacher relationships will prosper with more accepted students I can’t help but to see positive aspects of a larger class size,” said freshman Media Studies student, Elizabeth Plaza. “There is a better opportunity to meet more people from different backgrounds who have different opinions and life experiences. I think this will make for better classroom discussion and overall diversity on campus.”
Joseph Soraghan, a sophomore Engineering and Architecture major shares his insight on the University’s growth. Soraghan questions Catholic University’s plans to accommodate students and housing on campus.
The growth in the student population presents practical problems in housing as Catholic University has already experienced problems providing housing for students this year and in past years. There were alterations to residence dorms on campus to provide more housing for incoming freshmen. Study bubbles in Flather Hall have become forced triples.
Additionally, Catholic University’s policy of requiring freshmen and sophomores to live on campus will further limit housing for upperclassmen.
“I have seen a lot of change in my years at Catholic including size,” said senior Sociology major, Camille Sanchez. “However, I hope the growth does not undermine the CUA community which is something that was the best part of my experience. I would be nervous that people who failed to find a community would not be happy at CUA.”
Student happiness has been an issue addressed in recent years evidenced by Catholic University’s low retention rate.
The Catholic University Internal Audit update for December 2014 revealed one of the reasons for the low retention rate was students feeling disconnected from the University. Many students are concerned that this increase in size is a means to compensate for the radically low retention rate in previous years which could be harmful to the Catholic University community.
“We have a lot of people leave our class so I think this is a way of compensating for that loss,” said sophomore Nursing major, Katie Hughes.