The class of 2019 is the largest freshman class in three decades, and with the number of enrolled freshmen totaling 1,070, the university has had to make changes to accommodate the large number of new students.
Kevin Campbell, chief enrollment officer, said the university had begun preparing for a large number of freshmen last year.
“We started to see how large the application pool was last fall, and then we started to experience it with our visit days,” Campbell said. “We started to feel like this may be a big class, and as the spring rolled around we grew more excited for them to be here.”
This year’s freshmen class is the biggest since 1984, something Eric Gumm, registrar and director of the First-Year Program, said has made numerous offices on campus think creatively about how to accommodate the freshmen.
“We’ve had to move a few pieces around,” Gumm said. “Adding an additional section or two of Cornerstone, an extra section of English 111 and several other courses after looking at enrollment numbers.”
Adapting to the influx of students has challenged Gumm and his office, but he said the challenge is not unwanted.
“These are the kinds of things we like to do; we like to have full classes,” Gumm said.
Gumm also said the number of freshmen is likely to continue impacting the university over the course of the next few years.
“I think we’re going to see the continued effects of the increased number of students in classes,” Gumm said. “It won’t just be one semester; we’ll see that next semester and the following semester. It provides us with the opportunity to make sure that our classes can have all the students that they can in them, or be able to look at ways to offer additional sections to meet the needs of the students as they go through there four years here.”
The freshman class is also the most diverse in recent years. 40 percent of the class is ethnically diverse, including students from 47 states and territories and 51 nations, which Gumm said will benefit the university’s culture.
“It allows people to find connecting points quicker when they’re here on campus,” Gumm said. “To have a better understanding of the broad range of places, experiences and backgrounds the Gospel is relevant to.”
The diversity among this year’s freshman class, Campbell said, is more reflective of the state in which the university resides.
“As the state becomes more diverse, we think it’s very important that our student body represents more of what’s happening around us,” Campbell said. “But one of the main goals of the enrollment process is to find students that will be successful at ACU.”
Campbell also said the increase in students will help the university make the most use of its facilities.
“We don’t want to leave a bunch of resident rooms empty; we don’t want to leave classrooms empty. We truly are blessed with some incredible facilities here at ACU, and we really want to maximize those facilities,” Campbell said.
Gumm said it is also great to see freshmen coming to campus that had no past ties to campus.
“It is really exciting to see the number of student that are coming to ACU that don’t have a prior connection to the university,” Gumm said. “That allows our students after they graduate to go back to places where there may be people who are familiar with ACU, and that builds that community.”
After the new and improved Wildcat Week, the construction going on around campus and the arrival of the second-largest freshman class in ACU history, Campbell says there are many things to be excited about.
“There’s an excitement on campus right now,” Campbell said. “Some of that comes from the size of the incoming freshman class. Some of it comes from the transition to Division 1. It’s just a fun time to be at ACU right now; it seems like every time you turn around there’s just pure excitement.”