According to a recent survey, nearly 60% of colleges did not meet their freshmen enrollment goals for the 2013-14 academic year, and this could be the best news you’ve heard all day. To be sure, counted among the ranks of those that did not meet their enrollment goals are NOT the Ivies, Stanford, Duke, Williams, and the rest of the uber competitive colleges in this country. Even in the toughest times, this nation’s most selective colleges will still have far more qualified applicants than they could possibly admit. For those applicants who will not gain admission to this group of most highly selective schools, this admissions climate is good news for you. It means there are places you may be admitted that perhaps you would not have in the past or that you may get money to attract you to these schools.
Many of these schools are hidden gems, but just because your peers do not ooohh and aaahh over your announcement of attending a place with which they may not be familiar, does not mean you should pass up an opportunity at a quality education at a place that may count net price among its advantages.
Albright College (PA), for example, has committed to meeting 100% of student’s demonstrated financial need in addition to offering merit based scholarships. Students here do interesting things, like the one who started his own entertainment production company as an undergrad that continues to grow after his graduation. Another used a senior fashion design project to land a job designing shoes for companies like Steve Madden, while a small group conducted science research in the rainforest in Australia.
An Otterbein University (OH) student was recently on the national Broadway tour of Dreamgirls. One young alum was recognized for synthesizing a molecule that has great potential for fighting leukemia. Otterbein also has the Center for Community Engagement which has been honored by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor roll for five consecutive years. Eighty percent of Otterbein students donate more than 50,000 hours of community service. In addition, 60 service-learning courses enrolled over 1,000 students that same year.
Whittier College boasts corporate execs at Apple, Dell Computers and FAO Schwartz among their alumni.
While I do not know for sure that the three colleges mentioned above are in the 50+% that did not meet their college admissions enrollment goals, they’re often not the first ones on which the vast majority of students in this country focus. They are, however, clearly doing good work and as such, are worthy of consideration from a vast number of students, many of whom will not find a place at the schools whose acceptance rates are at or near the single digits.
The best news for college-bound students is that many of these hidden gems are often, by necessity, more generous with scholarship and financial aid dollars than they might otherwise like, simply because filling seats is so important to them.