Hannah Rodriguez · August 30, 2011
As fall semester classes begin this week, the Southern Virginia University campus is home to more students than ever before. This year, total student enrollment at the university has reached an all-time record of more than 800 students.
The current enrollment is 804, an eight percent increase from fall 2010′s 746. Final numbers may shift slightly as students finalize their class schedules.
“I’ve always been interested in liberal arts and being in a small environment is a big thing for me,” said Brett Cain, a freshman from Sequim, Wash. “When I graduated from high school in 2008 someone from the admissions office called me. At the time, I decided not to go to school before my mission, but to work instead. When I was in the MTC, I met Justin Winslow, who said that he went to Southern Virginia and he really inspired me to come here. So just a few months before I finished my mission, I filled out the application. It just felt right and I decided to come here.”
The incoming freshman class of nearly 300 students is one of the largest to date. Members of the projected freshman class have an average grade point average of 3.28, up slightly from last year’s 3.26. The average ACT composite score of incoming freshmen is 23.44, a 3.2 percent increase from last year’s 22.71.
In addition to the highly qualified freshman class, more than 400 returning students are enrolled.
“This year, more students than ever before will return to Southern Virginia University, which I think is an indication that students enjoy and value their experience here,” said Brett Garcia, vice president of enrollment services at Southern Virginia. “The academic credentials of our incoming students increased again this year, maintaining the general upward trend that we have seen over the last few years.”
Not only are there more students and better qualified students, but the male-to-female ratio on campus remains nearly even. According to a study by the American Council on Education, 58 percent of undergraduate students across the nation are female, with that percentage continuing to grow each year. At Southern Virginia, only 51 percent are female, making for an almost even number of both genders on campus.
Much of this year’s recruiting success can be attributed to a dedicated admissions team who spearheaded a university-wide effort to bring in as many qualified students as possible. Over the past three years, tens of thousands of prospective students have received phone calls from Southern Virginia representatives—students and employees alike.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the admissions team’s work and commitment this past year,” said Garcia. “I think it’s important to recognize, however, that a large part of the success we’ve had is due to the efforts of people outside of the admissions office—faculty, coaches, staff and administrators.”
In 1996, when Southern Virginia first transitioned into a four-year liberal arts institution, there were just 74 students. Administrators have said they plan to grow enrollment to between 1,000 and 1,200 students.
“The primary reason I decided to attend Southern Virginia University was how friendly, communicative, and approachable the professors are,” said Victoria Johnson, a junior who transferred to Southern Virginia from the College of Central Florida this semester. “I feel like they’re here to encourage and assist me in any way they can.”