As campus slowly returns back to normal, Loyola admitted one of its biggest first-year classes to date, with 2,865 students joining the Rambler community, according to Vice President for Enrollment Paul Roberts.
Prior to the fall of 2021, Loyola had seven consecutive largest undergraduate enrollments but when COVID-19 hit, the undergraduate admissions office saw a significant decline in overall enrollment, according to Roberts.
In order to increase enrollment, the admissions office decided to use the online college admission platforms Common App and Coalition for College as well as become a test optional school, The Phoenix reported.
The first-year applications increased by 42% this past year and admissions increased by 62%, Roberts said. In 2020, Loyola admitted 2,129 students and in 2019 Loyola admitted 2,636 students.
“It’s really not as large as past years,” Roberts said. “Having a large class and more undergraduate students gets our total enrollment back up to where we were in 2019.”
First-year art history major Grace Reimer said she’s not surprised by the surge in applications and admissions.
“With COVID-19 affecting college attendance last year, it would make sense that there’s a surge this year,” Reimer, 18, said. “It’s certainly impressive but not unlikely.”
With the number of admitted students having increased since fall of 2020, new first-year students shared why location, academic programs and other factors played into their decision to choose Loyola.
“I actually chose Loyola for a few reasons,” said Kaylee Odden, a biology major from Madison, Wis. “Loyola happens to have one of the better biology programs in the Midwest and is far enough from home, and I absolutely love Loyola’s campus.”
Environmental engineering major Kayla Yowell said it was hard to pick a school that she couldn’t fully see, considering Loyola’s buildings were shut down due to COVID-19, The Phoenix previously reported.
“I remember I went on a tour back in May and I couldn’t go into the buildings, so I had to take a leap of faith,” Yowell said. “It was nice because it was like a surprise because everywhere you go there is something new.”
First-years also shared anxieties about their dorm situations. Most of them, due to COVID-19, never saw the rooms outside virtual tours.
“I was nervous for a while but then I looked at the virtual tours online and they were super helpful,” psychology major Lucy Maloney said. “I looked at what a double suite was – I was like hold on – that was really nice.”
Now that everyone’s on campus entering into their fourth week of classes, first-years said they’re still adjusting to college life. Odden said she’s optimistic for the future and is hoping to get a better grasp on how life at Loyola works.
“I am still learning about the process of things but I am hoping to do well in my classes,” Odden, 19, said. “As long as I’m learning along the way, I will be happy.”