SUNY Oswego enrollment 'ticks up'; quality remains high

Orientation sessions greeted 1,400 freshmen this summer.Applications to attend SUNY Oswego set a 21st century high again this year, but the college held to its quality standards and largely kept the numbers of undergraduate admissions in line with those of recent years.

At the same time, students in underrepresented racial and ethnic groups increased significantly.

Dr. Joseph Grant, vice president of student affairs and enrollment, said the college welcomed about 1,400 freshmen and 785 transfers this fall.

The total headcount—including full- and part-time students, graduate students, the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse and the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center—is about 8,300, up from 8,119 in 2009. “We had a tick up,” Grant said.

Freshman applications for fall totaled about 10,650, a small increase from last fall’s 10,463, and 40.1 percent more than the 7,565 just five years ago.

The preliminary 2010-11 admissions numbers showed applications totaled more than 13,000 from prospective freshmen and transfers. Grant said he believes that a key reason for the heavy flow lies in value, not just in price compared with private colleges and other educational alternatives.

“A thing can be inexpensive without being cheap,” he said. “We offer the full range of academic programs and talented faculty and physical facilities that you can find at any of those places.”

Grant cited a number of private colleges as Oswego’s competitors along with other SUNY schools. “Is it worth two or three times as much to go to the private sector as it is to stay in the public sector? It’s not just the economic downturn, it’s just that it makes good sense.”

Quality standards

The college accepted 47 percent of applicants, the same percentage it has accepted for the last two academic years. Only six years ago, the acceptance rate was 57 percent. The “composite” entering freshman had a 90 high school grade average and about an 1110 SAT score, and more than half entered with a merit scholarship of some kind, Grant said. The average transfer student came in with a 3.0 grade point average. All those are identical to last year, Grant said.

Of the approximately 1,400 entering freshmen, 277, or 19.4 percent, are from underrepresented groups. That’s up from 217, which was 15.6 percent of last year’s entering class. There are 85 underrepresented transfers this year, up from 68 in 2009.

“In the past, a prospective student might have said, ‘If I go there, am I going to be the only person like myself there?’ And now it’s very clear that that’s not the case. There are lots of people from lots of backgrounds here,” Grant said. “For a place like Oswego, located where we are, that’s pretty good. . . .  We’re on the right track anyway.”

Grant said the college has improved dramatically in recent years in many ways, including adding new and renovated facilities—the Campus Center, renovated lakeside residence halls, the Village and, coming online in a few years, the Sciences and Engineering Innovation Corridor.

“The curb appeal of Oswego over the past several years and going forward is outstanding,” he said.

PHOTO CAPTION: New students— SUNY Oswego enjoyed another banner year for applications—more than 13,000, all told—while holding relatively steady on total enrollment at about 8,300 and on quality measures for entering freshmen and transfers.

(Posted: Sep 30, 2010)

Tags: transfers, prospective students, intellectual rigor, diversity, apply, admissions