Losing interest in the Hall?
Fee causes drop in number of student applications
Published: Thursday, April 7, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 14:09
Seton Hall admissions has reinstated a $55 application fee in order to increase the amount of students who decide to attend the University after being accepted, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Peter Nacy, assistant vice president for admissions, said that this was the first full year since 2007 that Seton Hall had an application fee. The fee was reinstated on Dec. 15, 2010. The application fee is the same amount as it was in 2007.
The reason for getting rid of the fee, Nacy said, was to "build the application pool to the point where we would become more selective." Selectivity is the percentage of students who were accepted out of the amount that applied, according to collegedata.com.
Nacy said the more students who applied, the more strict admissions could be in selecting the students they wished to admit, thereby increasing the quality of the students. This is mostly measured by GPA and SAT scores, among other factors.
According to Nacy, the first half of the plan worked very well.
"There was a 120 percent increase in applications over that time period (of no application fee)," Nacy said.
However, the "student yield," or percentage of students who decide to attend Seton Hall after being accepted, dropped approximately 11 percent.
Nacy said in 2007, Seton Hall had received 6,300 applications in the beginning of April. As of the same time last year, admissions had received 14,560 applications. However, by April 2, 2011, admissions had received 7,614 applications. While this is a significant drop from last year, Nacy said he hoped the fee would improve the student yield percentage.
Both Nacy and Tracy Gottlieb, associate provost and dean of Freshmen Studies, attributed the student yield drop to students applying for the sake of applying, without ever really intending to go to Seton Hall.
"With online applications and especially the common application, where you only have to apply once, why not apply to 10 schools and see what happens?" Gottlieb said.
According to Gottlieb, this created a "transformation in terms of the admittance process."
"Admissions counselors used to know that for every four accepted students, one and a half will come, now they have no idea what to expect," Gottlieb said.
Nacy added Seton Hall made the process especially easy by sending prospective students applications that were almost completely filled out.
"They just had to attach their essay and send the application out," Nacy said.
Gottlieb said the decrease in applications has also allowed admissions counselors to work more personally with prospective students, which includes measures such as calling them to explain financial aid packages.
Gottlieb added she hoped measures like this would improve the percentage of students who decide to attend Seton Hall after being accepted.
Nacy also said admissions was continuing to work on increasing selectivity, in spite of the largely unsuccessful no-fee measure.
According to Nacy, University President A. Gabriel Esteban's strategic plan for the next 5 to 10 years includes goals for increasing GPA and SAT scores of the incoming freshmen classes.
According to Nacy, Esteban has put the issue of increasing the quality of students on the front burner by setting goals for improvement. Now admissions has a goal to work towards.
Nacy said the measures include increasing merit aid to qualified students, as well as the number of alumni who speak at college fairs across the nation.
Gottlieb said the University was also working to hire recruiters across the nation which would assist in advertising Seton Hall to students who would not normally have applied to or even known about Seton Hall.
Admissions will not have finalized student yield numbers for this until around the middle of May.
"We're in the middle of it right now, most students are deciding where they want to go," Gottlieb said.
Caitlin Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.