By: Maria Monteros
Overall undergraduate enrollment at Trevecca is the largest in university history, despite fewer freshman than past years, thanks to a record number of transfer students.
For the first time in four years, Trevecca’s freshman class didn’t break enrollment records, dropping 41 students from last year’s record high.
A total of 365 freshmen are enrolled this fall. Despite the smaller freshman class, Trevecca now has total of 1,463 traditional undergraduate students— 36 more than last year.
Holly Whitby, associate provost and dean of enrollment management, says the decreased number of freshman is because college enrollments often fluctuate.
“We’ve had four years of record-breaking freshman classes, and it’s unrealistic to think that you might not have a year where [enrollment] kind of goes [flatter],” she said. “You can’t think that you’re going to break the record every single year.”
Trevecca’s increase in overall enrollment comes from the number of transfers. 94 students moved to Trevecca this fall— the biggest batch Trevecca has admitted.
“I think we’ve just been able to show really strong customer service skills to transfers whether they’re coming from a community college or another school. . . we’ve done the work to build the relationship and help that person feel good about finishing up their degree at Trevecca,” Whitby said.
A possible factor for the decline is the increased average ACT scores for incoming freshman, said Whitby. The average ACT score for this year’s freshman class is 23, she said.
Almost all admitted students received some form of financial aid.
Even with fewer numbers, Whitby has observed an increase in diversity within the freshman class because of Trevecca’s partnership with the Black Achievers and Latino Achievers program as well as high schools abroad.
Megan McGhee, coordinator of freshmen experience, says the smaller link group sizes allow first-time freshman to interact with their group members and peer mentors to invest on more one-on-one contact.
“I think it’s kind of the old question of quality over quantity,” she said. “I think that by not necessarily having as large of a freshman class but being able to grow in some of these other areas allows us to increase the quality of our student population.”
Just last year, the Nashville Business Journal named Trevecca the “fastest growing university in Middle Tennessee” based on data from fall 2015 to fall 2016. Whitby says the admissions team want increase enrollment next year with the help of the new entrepreneurship and engineering programs.
“Even though we didn’t have the largest freshman class, we still went up in traditional undergrad enrollment, and most schools can’t say that. We’re bucking the trend right now . . . The trend right now is not record-breaking enrollment on the traditional side every year. Some schools are declining in enrollment, and we’re not. We’re seeing the opposite,” she said.