Shane Kelly, Staff Writer
This past fall, Utica College saw a record-breaking 645 students enroll at the college during the fall 2015 semester. This compares to 471 students during the fall 2014 semester; a 37 percent growth in students.
Utica’s retention rates have grown over the past three years. The fall to spring retention for 2012 was 85.9 percent, in 2013, 86.8 percent and in 2014, 88.7 percent.
The past year’s retention data will be an estimate prior to Feb. 5 when census data is finalized, according to Matthew Carr, Director of Institutional Research at Utica College. The estimated retention from fall 2015 to spring 2016 is 90.3 percent.
Many things can be attributed as to why these numbers have grown. Things like the tuition reset, the establishment of the new sporting dome, successful sports teams, and academics. One major event that happened that without a doubt helped Utica reach its record-breaking number of new students is the New York State Association for College Admissions Counseling (NYSACAC).
This is a statewide conference that is held at a different school each year in the summer. Hundreds of admissions counselors from colleges and high schools come together to learn about new ways to help students achieve post-secondary success.
This past summer, UC hosted this conference and many members could not stop raving about how much they enjoyed the conference on campus.
Along with the conference, admission has done many things to help reach its goal of desired first-year students.
“UC started to travel to the entire northeast to recruit students,” Donna Shaffner, the assistant vice president for admissions, said.
The department also teamed up with some of the sports coaches to help recruit student-athletes from all over the country.
The record number of students is great for UC’s growth as a school, but with enrolled student numbers also involves retention numbers. Retention numbers for UC have been on the rise over the past few years.
“It’s not uncommon on any campus to see a large turnover rate from first semester to second semester,” Derek Pooley, assistant director of residence life and educational initiatives, said. “There are a lot of factors that go into this: students not understanding the educational differences from high school to college, learning that they want to do something else that UC doesn’t have to offer, having a differing view of what college life really is and then not understanding that everything they see in the media isn’t realistic,” Pooley said. “UC works really hard to make sure that everyone is heading in the right direction and give a huge amount of support to ensure that students will be successful.”