Applications up; impact remains undetermined

Jackie Valley

Many high school seniors apply, stall making decisions

Credit: DKS Editors

Applications for admission to Kent State are up by 1,000 compared to figures from last year, but Director of Admissions Nancy DellaVecchia said it is too early to tell what impact those numbers will have on enrollment.

DellaVecchia said admissions hopes to receive between 12,000 and 13,000 applications this year.

“We’re getting close to meeting that goal,” she said, referring to the more than 11,000 applications the university has already received.

DellaVecchia said admissions is currently sending financial aid and scholarship packages to prospective students, who have until the national notification deadline of May 1 to make their final decision.

“Students need to hear all the information available to them – financial aid, scholarships – to make a good decision,” she said.

Still unknown, DellaVecchia said, is whether the spike in applications reflects students applying to many institutions to give themselves more options.

According to a survey published by the Higher Education Research Institute, about 10 percent of the current college freshmen class applied to between seven and 10 institutions.

Randy Kline, senior class guidance counselor at Roosevelt High School, said his students applied to an average of four or five schools – with some applying to double that number.

“I’ve got a few students who applied to a dozen or more,” he said, adding that the top students are typically the ones applying to the most schools.

But those applications can become costly. Kent State’s application costs $30, a figure on the low end considering that Kline said the average application fee is between $40 and $45.

Katie Rodenbucher, a senior at Waterloo High School in Atwater, avoided the steep application fees by applying to just one university.

“I just applied to Kent,” she said. “It was close to home and I’m going to transfer to NEOUCOM.”

Kline credits students’ desire to apply to multiple schools to the easy access of information online and in the mail, which he said piques students’ interests and often delays their decision-making. He said more students are waiting until the spring to commit to a college.

“It’s human nature to wait until it stares us in the face,” he said.

Despite the high number of applications this year, DellaVecchia said Ohio and western Pennsylvania are expected to have smaller high school graduating class sizes in the next few years.

To offset any losses, DellaVecchia said Kent State is seeking out-of-state students from its target east coast states – Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia – because a surge in the population growth of that area has filled universities, leaving students looking elsewhere.

“They’re more mobile, willing to look outside of their state,” she said.

DellaVecchia said out-of-state applications have increased by 13 percent since Fall 2004. Kent State already actively recruits students from New York, Pennsylvania and the Chicago area.

For the first time this year, DellaVecchia said Kent State is also making students from all other 49 states eligible for the University Award, which cuts the out-of-state surcharge in half.

“It’s going to be interesting for us to see what impact that has,” she said.

DellaVecchia said the spike in applications, however, has not made the admissions process at Kent State more competitive this year.

“If the spike would continue, then it would become something to be more competitive,” she said.

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].