Megan Neeley Thoughts/Opinions

Student concerns vs. statistics: admissions and prestige




Alma College admissions rates have been on the rise with the campus seeing a 20% increase in applications and a 22.7% increase in admittance from Fall 2022 according to Rachel Plasche, the Assistant Director of Admissions and Coordinator of Diversity Recruitment.

More students will also be transferring to Alma College as admissions “has been working hard to help the students at Finlandia University (which recently announced its plans to close) continue their undergraduate education by transferring to Alma,” said Plasche.

While it is great to see the addition of many new Scots, certain aspects of this rise in admissions rate are concerning to the Scots that have already dedicated time and money to Alma College.

First and foremost, are many concerns there surrounding housing. There is going to be a bottleneck in terms of housing due to the fact there are significantly more incoming students and rising second-years than s there are third and fourth years. The college’s solution for this is to allow second-years in third and fourth-year South Campus housing.

On the surface, this solution seems seamless; however, dig a little deeper and some issues arise. This year, Residence Life stated there were “nearly double the number of applicants” for apartments.

Some students are wondering if this is linked to the use of upper level housing for underclassmen as many wished to flee the soon-to-be crowded south campus for the apartments, but were then met with rejection even though they fulfilled all merit requirements.

“I think it is quite unfair that we do not have enough housing for those who qualify for it. If you don’t get in the apartments… you are often [left scrambling] for alternate housing means. It feels like it’s no longer that merit based, just a race because of how crowded it’s getting,” said Ryan Gray (’25).

Combating this view, Ray Barclay, the chief operating officer and senior vice president of Alma College, says Alma College “saw an erosion on retention and new student enrollment during and after the pandemic. As such, we have capacity in our dorms to easily absorb increases in enrollment… [We are] striving to right size enrollment post- pandemic.” But what about the lack of apartment numbers?

More questions on merit arise when hearing the college has done away with many of the admissions requirements in order to attract more applicants. Alma College is test optional and does not require an essay.

According to Barclay,”this follows trends nationallyand regionally, as campuseswant to promote application completion.” However, campus rumblings indicate distress over whether this will lower the GPA acceptance rate, therefore making the prestige of getting into Alma College lessened.

“I’m just worried we won’t be at the same level we were at at one point in terms of GPA. I’m worried it’ll make it harder to get into grad school or something,” said Kylie Demerits (’25), a pre-law student aiming for top law schools.

Some of these worries can be laid to rest as those with a GPA of 2.5-2.75 must opt to complete an admissions interview or submit a test score to be considered in combination with the GPA they hold.

Barclay to was kind enough to supply his numerous responses with statistics regarding this policy, and while this may be a national trend that will help attract more applicants, Barclay even admits that his “sense is that the faculty will want to study this issue and its implications for retention, course grades and so on” because this is still a rather new policy with unknown effects-good or bad.

“I think COVID-19 caused great amount bad. that a of turmoil and misrepresentation of requirements. The test scores and GPAS are not as solidified as they once were which will have a great effect on admissions in the coming years,” said Dalron Gray (’24).

While students understand how important college acceptance is, and admissions seems to be working hard to improve application processes, it seems like the implications of this are already being felt by students on campus. The good and bad news is student’s complaints and concerns are yet to be seen in numerical statistics; however, it begs the question of why are so many students worried about campus crowding and the prestige of their degree.

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