By Emily Landgraf
Sunday was a quiet morning on both of Rider’s campuses. That is until the incoming freshmen, the Class of 2015, descended upon the university. Its middle name? Consistency.
The Class of 2015s basic profile is not all that different from other freshman classes that have attended Rider. Compared to last year’s freshman class the numbers are very similar when it comes to number of freshmen, average high school GPA, average SAT scores and out-of state enrollment.
This year, Rider is welcoming 896 freshmen to the Lawrenceville campus, nearly meeting their goal of 900.
In addition, the Lawrenceville campus has acquired 285 new transfer students, exceeding its goal of 250 transfers by 14 percent.
WCC has a total of 80 new students, just missing its target 95.
Boxes and bags lined the halls of most residences on Sunday while the excited new students got settled into their new home away from home.
As she set up her room in Conover Hall freshman Kim Knox of Toms River, N.J., said that she chose Rider because it felt like the right decision.
“I love the way that it felt here,” she said. “I visited a whole bunch of schools, and I just didn’t get the same feeling that I did when I came here.”
Knox and her roommate Megan Blauvelt of Hawthorne, N.J., both said they were excited for their freshman year and looking forward to the freedom that college provides.
Rider’s current total enrollment of freshmen and transfer students is 1,261, exceeding the university’s goal of 1,240 new students. The current number of full time students at Rider is now 3,981 on both campuses.
“This is consistent with new student enrollment over the past three years,” according to a presentation that was part of the president’s convocation to the university faculty last week. “New student enrollment has increased by 18 percent since fall 2004, when we enrolled 1,073.”
The male to female ratio remained consistent, with 60 percent of freshmen being female and 40 percent being male. The average high school GPA of the class of 2015 is 3.32 and the average SAT score is 1070. The average GPA of the class of 2014
“The GPA and SAT average remain stable,” according to the presentation. “We continue to attract the B/B+ student.”
The presentation also showed that freshman enrollment activity on the Lawrenceville campus “is slightly down from last year when we enrolled 920 [freshmen].” The biggest decline in freshmen enrollment is in education.
“This decrease is throughout the state and tri-state region,” Jamie O’Hara, vice president of Enrollment Management, said in an e-mail Tuesday. “Negative press about school district funding and availability of new positions has led to a perception that education is not an area that students will find jobs. However, we know that several education districts continue to hire and that an expected increase in retirements will open additional positions.”
The biggest increase in enrollment is transfer students in all areas, O’Hara said. Rider has also increased the number of students who fall into the category of underrepresented populations, which is at 32 percent, compared to 27 percent in 2010 and 17 percent in 2004.
Out-of-state enrollment is 26 percent this year, down from 2010’s 28 percent.
“Because of the economy, more people are staying in their home state, and there is a decline in high school graduates in the Northeast,” according to the presentation. “As a result, our out-of-state percentage of the new student class is lower than last year, but still higher than 2004.”
Despite the drop, Rider still attracts out-of-state freshmen, as well as freshmen from outside the United States.
Architaa Kasera, a freshman from West Bengal, Calcutta, India chose Rider because she is close to family members who live Princeton and because of Rider’s location.
“I wanted a campus far from the hustle and bustle of a city, yet close to it,” she said. “I am looking forward to the experience of being an American student. I am excited to be here and want to make as much as I can out of these four years.”