RADFORD (WSLS 10) - Radford University is preparing for what could be its largest freshman class ever.
In a time when a college degree is a pre-requisite for almost any job, the university received a record number of freshman applicants, totaling 13,291.
That is a 78.5 percent increase from last year's total applicants and there's still more time to apply.
To put that in perspective, more students have applied for next year than the university's current enrollment.
"We've been doing more outreach to more students to try to engage them in that conversation about the university," said Kitty McCarthy, Vice President for Enrollment Management.
She said the increase is more than just quantity. The average GPA of applicants this year has increased by 1.9 percent compared to last year.
McCarthy said the increase is attributed to a variety of reasons. She says Radford continues to heavily recruit in local high schools, but has also reached out in new ways to perspective students.
"We know of students that are taking the SAT or the ACT. We've been visiting community-based organizations, attending college fairs, just working every opportunity we can to meet perspective students and get them engaged," McCarthy said.
Radford University continues to appeal to local students. More than half of the applicants are from Virginia.
Logan Brown, a graduate of Pulaski High School and current Radford University sophomore, said attending Radford is a popular consideration for local students. He said Radford is a school big enough for the university experience, yet can still cater to those who are used to smaller classrooms, like many county youth in the area.
"It's not as big of a college as some other ones, but there are some great opportunities here," Brown said.
McCarthy said they've also seen a 28-percent increase in the number of applying transfer students.
"Those students bring a diversified academic experience that we are looking for here at Radford," McCarthy said.
She said the majority of those students apply from two-year community colleges like New River Valley Community College.
Radford has the second lowest total cost of education for a four-year public institution in Virginia.
McCarthy said affordability continues to be the biggest driving factor.
|University||Spring 2017 semester (full-time tuition, in-state)|
|Longwood University (15 credit schedule)||$3,675|
|George Mason University||$5,550|
|James Madison University||$10,390|
|University of Virginia (Entered Fall 2016)||$13,060|
|College of William and Marry (Entered Fall 2016)||$15,674|
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