Incoming Freshmen Class Highest In Decades

By Kristina Dillon

Packed parking lots, crowded cafeteria, cramped classrooms: all of this has students wondering what’s going on at Mercy…

Mercy College’s fall 2009 freshman enrollment is at a decade high, said administration, proof of a successful year-long recruiting campaign.

“We are proud to say that this year we have a record breaking class,” said Deirdre Whitman, the Vice President for Enrollment Management. “It is the highest number of first time freshmen in over a decade.

“Over the past few months Mercy has been traveling to hundreds of different high schools, community events, and even focusing on corporate recruitments,” she added.

Unfortunately, no statistics were available as of press time. “Fall enrollment is not finalized because we still have graduate program activity” that needs to be accounted for.

Sources have told the Impact that it is estimated that Mercy College has over 2,000 incoming freshmen. Last year, numbers were reportedly at 900. Two years ago, numbers of the freshmen class totaled at approximately 450.

The administration stated its main goal is to create exposure for Mercy in the hopes of making it a “first-choice school” for most.

“In the past, we were not bragging about what we have accomplished here at Mercy,” said Mercy College President Dr. Kimberly Cline. “We’re going to change that.”

One example came this past year when Mercy alumnus Anthony Mullen was named the 2009 National Teacher of the Year. Mullen, who graduated from Mercy in 2002, was honored by President Obama at a ceremony at the White House.

“We are very proud of Mullen for all of his success as well as all the other successful Mercy College graduates,” said Cline.

In January Mercy launched the Mercy College Personalized Achievement Contract -PACT. The program consists of trained mentors that provide academic, career and personal growth support to those students involved.

“Students are attracted to PACT,” said Cline. “It’s not just for students who receive a C on a test.”

The mentors and students enrolled develop a lasting level of communication the first day of their first year upon entering Mercy College, according to Cline.

“We want to know what’s happening to our students and help make their college lives easier,” said Cline.

Another factor in helping in increasing enrollment is the variety of majors that Mercy College offers. The college offers 90 different programs for undergraduate and graduate students.

“All of our majors have really helped, especially with undecided students or those who decide to switch majors,” said Cline.

Both Whitman and Cline also credit the faculty in helping the numbers go up.

“Our secret weapon is that our faculty care about our students,” said Cline. “They work with them and actually get to know them.”

“Our faculty are very forward thinking,” said Whitman. “Most are very accomplished in and out of the classroom.”

As for the rumor that over the years Mercy has been dipping their standards in order to gain more students, Whitman claims that it’s just not the case.

“Academic excellence has been and will always be our number one focus.”