Samford University has received a record number of undergraduate applications for the fall 2009 term. Through Feb. 17, the university had received 2,175 applications, exceeding the record 2,154 received for fall 2008.
Each day adds to the record as the university continues to receive applications, according to R. Phil Kimrey, Samford's dean of admission and financial aid. "The record number of applicants affirms the aggressive work that the university has done in student recruitment the last three years and represents a lot of interest in what Samford has to offer," Kimrey said.
Kimrey noted that the number is what he considers "firm applications" because the students have paid the application fee denoting their "legitimate interest" in Samford. Many schools waive application fees for many students, but Samford does not generally make that a practice.
The university's administration and admission staff now will be working through the spring to meet the fall enrollment goal. Samford officials optimistically project an entering class of about 770 for fall 2009, based on number of applications. The entering freshman class has steadily increased from about 660 five years ago to about 710 last fall.
Kimrey cited several factors in the increased interest, including Samford's affordability compared with other private universities and the university's transition from regional classification to national doctoral research university status. The university also is being aggressive with financial aid opportunities for qualified students, he noted. Samford recently sent about 750 merit scholarship award letters totaling about $3.9 million.
"By offering these scholarships now, it gives both the university and the families a longer window to develop a feasible financial plan for the student's Samford education."
Kimrey also credited academic administrators and faculty with the increased interest, noting that hundreds of personal contacts are being made each week with admitted students to tell them about university programs and to encourage them to attend Samford.
Kimrey also noted that the university set a one-day record for official campus visits on Feb. 13, with 57 students and families. This is the largest group on a day not designated as a preview or scholarship day.
More than 29,000 high school juniors and seniors have expressed interest in Samford, an increase from the 21,000 or so that typically is in the university's database. The university has focused on getting high school juniors and seniors to visit the campus "because we know that is one of our best assets," he added.