More than 2,600 students have applied to be members of Bryn Mawr's class of 2016. Those numbers represent an all-time high and a 12-percent increase in admissions applications from last year.
The College has also seen a sizable increase in the number of students applying for early-decision admission. This year's entering class of 365 students will include 110 students admitted via early decision.
"This has been an outstanding admissions season for the College. The admissions team has done a great job, but the truth is that the entire community plays a part in recruiting every class," says Chief Enrollment and Communications Officer Jenny Rickard.
"When you read the admissions applications, the aspect of Bryn Mawr that's brought up the most is—without question—the quality of our faculty and the strength of our academic programs. Curricular initiatives like the 360° program have really excited parents and prospective students and set us apart from our peers," adds Rickard.
Other factors Rickard cites as factors in recruitment efforts include the excitement generated by the College's 125th anniversary celebration, on-campus programming like Judith Butler's Flexner Lectureship, the launch of the Women in Public Service Project, continued facilities improvements such as the new athletic field, and significant top-tier media placements featuring faculty members, students, and Bryn Mawr President Jane McAuliffe.
For many students, the decision to attend Bryn Mawr starts with a visit to the College's website, points out Rickard.
"Over the past several years the Communications Office staff and Web Services have done a tremendous job of improving the look and functionality of the site," she notes.
And while a great-looking and easy-to-use website is important in getting students to visit campus, it's still the campus tours and overnight stays that help many students make up their mind that Bryn Mawr is the right school for them.
About a year and a half ago, the Admissions staff and Facilities Services began working collaboratively with a focus on making sure that first-time visitors to campus are as impressed with the smallest details of the Benham Gateway waiting area or any other part of their tour as they are with the majestic façade of Thomas Great Hall.
"Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest impression," says Dean of Admissions Laurie Koehler. "For instance, facilities has installed a bench at the top of the steps leading down to the gym so that guests have a place to sit if they don't want to go through that part of the tour."
Other changes made recently to help improve the tour include repairs to sidewalks, the ramps to the Thomas cloister being bolted down, and improvements to several paths on campus.
Several academic departments and administrative offices have also increased their involvement in the experience of students visiting campus.
In the Benham waiting room, many of the dusty tomes that had lined the shelves have been replaced with books by faculty and alumnae, a bulletin board displaying posters of events taking place on campus has been installed, and faculty members have donated interesting items to display.
Other departments, including Physics and Creative Writing, have opened up labs, classrooms, and events to prospective students during tours and overnight stays.
“I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the College’s greatest asset—our students,” says Koehler. “From the tour guides to those in the classrooms we attend and the ambassadors who have lunch with our visitors, Bryn Mawr students could not be any more welcoming, helpful, and engaging.”