More freshmen expected this fall

Statistics from the UNA admissions department show freshman admission rates for the semester of fall 2012 are up from last year. Rates of freshman admission this year are greater than they have been for the past two years, said Director of Admissions Kim Mauldin.

In that statistic, summer freshman admission rates are included. This also includes any athletes who will be enrolling this summer to start summer workouts, Mauldin said.

Last year at this time, there was not an increase in freshman admissions for the fall semester. Those rates were actually lower than the previous year’s, Mauldin said.

“Last year was just a unique year,” Mauldin said. “Even for all of our sister institutions.”

Mauldin said she believes the economy played a role in the decrease of admission numbers.

“In the recruiting year for 2011, I think the economy played a major role,” she said. “Our region of the state finally felt the economic downturn. That made a huge difference. The community college numbers were up for the class of 2011.”

Mauldin said a change in campus atmosphere has played a positive role in increasing admissions rates. Actions on campus, such as the talk of Division I, and campus improvements, such as the new black box theatre, have brought new life to UNA.

“We did not feel the energy on campus last year,” Mauldin said. “There was nothing really going on in terms of construction. There was no closure on upcoming plans, such as the new science building. The energy was not bad, just status quo.”

The energy on campus changed last spring. Mauldin said UNA staff members have felt the energy all year.

“Any time you have opportunities for growth at your institution—such as building expansion, program expansion and even the decision to move forward with D-I—there is movement,” she said. “When there is movement, it creates excitement.”

Mauldin said admissions standards have not lowered this year. Since the raising of standards for unconditional admission two years ago—for example, increasing the ACT to a cumulative score of 18 and up while also making the minimum core GPA requirement a 2.0—numbers of first-time declined acceptance rates have actually increased in the past two fall semesters.

UNA admissions standards are actually closer to private institution requirements, Mauldin said, considering high school GPA for admission is based on core subject GPA rather that total GPA, which includes electives.

“We have more academic scholarships awarded at this time than we did last year,” Mauldin said. “However, we awarded fewer leadership scholarships this year.”

This is due to current students retaining their leadership scholarships, Mauldin said. As of last year at this time, 107 leadership scholarships had been awarded, while only 87 have been awarded so far this year.

The number of students retaining their scholarship is positive, Mauldin said. And even though admissions rates are going up, class sizes will remain small due to campus space. This is also a feature of UNA that Mauldin said is positive for many students.