College attracts more students in early look at who is coming in fall

By Amaris Edwards, Staff Reporter

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A snapshot of admissions from April 12 shows that the total number of students who have committed to coming to Columbia in the fall is up slightly compared to the same day in April 2022.

As of early April, 821 incoming freshmen students confirmed they would come to Columbia for the Fall 2023 semester and 270 transfers confirmed, a few weeks ahead of National College Decision Day on May 1. Decision Day is typically the deadline for students to put down a deposit at their choice for college. At Columbia, students pay $250 to hold their spot.

As of April 12, there were 687 transfer admissions and 6,772 total freshman admissions, in comparison to 615 transfers and 6,819 freshmen this time last year.

Though not all admitted students decide to come to Columbia, this early look at admissions, which college officials caution is rapidly changing, provides a hint at how well Columbia is doing at attracting new students.

President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim has said increasing freshman enrollment is necessary for the college to decrease its $26 million deficit and become financially healthy.

Andrew Whatley, senior director of Enrollment Marketing Communications, credited Admitted Students Days for some of the college’s success with admissions this year.

Often students “bring their families with them and the family gets to also have a chance to see their student here on campus, see how they fit in and see that they liked the place,” Whatley said. “So those events have also been hugely persuasive for us.”

These on-campus events also provide opportunities for admitted students to get questions answered, meet faculty, staff and students as well as learn more about academic departments they may be interested in.

Shantiana McNeal, an incoming freshman from Madison, Wisconsin, said she chose Columbia because she went to Admitted Students Day and was able to see the different opportunities the school has to offer.

“We went through a fashion studio where they were doing different photoshoots for their finals, and being able to see that was really where I was like ‘Yeah this is the school for me,’” McNeal said.

McNeal, who will study photography, said she is anticipating gaining more skills and experience with the camera and expanding her connections so she has more opportunities after graduating.

The School of Fine and Performing Arts has seen a slight increase in freshmen confirmed admissions with 411 in April 2023, in comparison to last year’s 395. Additionally, the School of Media Arts saw a minor increase with 328 freshmen confirmed admits with 311 last year.

The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences has seen a minor decrease, with 36 confirmed freshman admissions in comparison to 40 admissions in 2022.

The following departments have seen a decrease in confirmed freshmen admissions:

  • Art and Art History: 34 confirmed this year and 38 confirmed in 2022.
  • Business and Entrepreneurship: 33 confirmed this year and 40 confirmed in 2022.
  • Dance: 5 confirmed this year and 14 confirmed in 2022.
  • Fashion: 44 confirmed this year and 54 confirmed in 2022.
  • English and Creative Writing: 20 confirmed this year and 31 confirmed in 2022.
  • Interactive Arts and Media: 71 confirmed this year and 77 confirmed in 2022.

The Design Department has seen an increase with 89 confirmed freshmen in comparison to last year’s 63 confirmed. The Cinema and Television Arts Department saw an increase as well with 182 confirmed this year and 172 confirmed in 2022. 

5,072 freshmen students of color applied and 379 have confirmed. Last year 4,975 applied and 365 were confirmed.

692 transfer students of color applied and 134 confirmed. Last year 695 applied and 113 confirmed. 

Emma Mcgreevy, an incoming freshman and cinema and television arts major from Des Plaines, Illinois, said she chose Columbia for its location in downtown Chicago and the reputation of the film program.

“I hope to refine my skills, work with other creatives, and get a head start in my future in the entertainment industry, no matter how small of a role that may be,” Mcgreevy said in an email to the Chronicle. “I hope to make lifelong friends with all types of different cultures and talents that I can hopefully work with in the future as well.”

Confirmed admissions for transfer students have seen an overall increase. The School of Fine and Performing Arts has increased with 135 confirmed transfer admissions in comparison to 110 confirmed last year. The School of Media Arts confirmed admissions for 110 transfers this year and last year it was at 99.

The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences increased slightly as well with 21 confirmed transfer admits in comparison to last year’s 17.

The Design Department has seen an increase in transfer admissions with 42 confirmed in comparison to 22 confirmed in 2022. The Theatre Department has additionally seen an increase with 28 transfer admissions confirmed and 18 confirmed last year.

Whatley said the college is on pace with its enrollment goal for the fall semester, which is 1,650 freshmen and 530 transfers enrolled for the fall 2023 semester.

“There’s always stuff to do [and] it sometimes feels like our work is never done,” Whatley said. “But as things are right now, I feel good.”

New numbers will be available in a week to reflect National Decision Day confirmed admissions.