University nears capacity for 1999 freshmen

Robin Huiras

Qualified high school seniors hoping to find a home at the University this fall might find themselves out of luck.
Having received 2,000 more freshman applications than at this point in time last year, most colleges within the University have already reached the number of freshman they can admit for the upcoming year. The result is a waiting list lengthier than in recent history.
The Carlson School of Management, College of Biological Sciences, Institute of Technology, General College and College of Liberal Arts are full. The College of Human Ecology, College of Natural Resources, and College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences have a few spaces remaining, but are filling up quickly.
“We are close to being full,” said Wayne Sigler, director of the Office of Admissions. “But we still look at each application carefully and individually.
There are three reasons behind this phenomenon, the most consequential being the Dec. 15 priority deadline for incoming freshman, Sigler said.
Every student who fulfills University criteria and submits a completed application by the priority deadline is admitted to the University. And this year, officials stressed the deadline more than in times past. More than 20,000 fliers were sent out to Minnesota high schools over the Thanksgiving holiday to stress the priority deadline.
Secondly, to be able to offer to every student the best college experience possible, the University wants to keep its target enrollment down.
“We don’t want to admit so many students to undermine the experience,” Sigler said. “We hate saying no, but we know it is in their best interest.”
Aiming to adhere to the mission of the University, admissions will offer space to 10,783 high school seniors in fall 1999. However, the target enrollment is less than half of that figure — 4,810, said Craig Swan, vice provost for undergraduate education.
University administrators assume that more than 50 percent of the freshmen admitted will not ultimately attend the University.
This year the University enrolled 5,166 freshmen, although the target enrollment was 4,514. The reason for the boom in incoming freshman was the number of people admitted: 11,467. Administrators underestimated the number of people who would actually accept the University’s offer, Swan said.
The third reason for the waiting list is the promise the University makes to be accessible to any student, Sigler said, with the General College offering opportunities to students who display high academic potential. As the only school in the Big Ten with a general college, many feel the University would be a good fit. Because of the General College, the University receives more applications than other comparable universities.
Prospective students who completed the application by Dec. 15, will learn of their admittance to the University by April 15. After this date, applications are reviewed on a space-available basis.
The decisions are not meant to keep people out of the University, Sigler said, rather to keep people here after they have been admitted.
“We are trying to enhance admission and graduation,” Sigler said.