It's that time of year again. School is back in session and for some local colleges that means an influx of new faces, in the case of two local institutions.
West Virginia Wesleyan College is celebrating its largest freshman class in 10 years, and one of the largest ever. A total of 517 students attended orientation, coming from 26 states, 11 countries.
The school saw a large increase of West Virginia students, as well as students from neighboring states, particularly Maryland and Pennsylvania. In terms of international students, this year also showed a rise of Japanese students.
John Waltz, director of admission for WVWC, attributes the large number of new students to many different factors.
"Wesleyan has consistently attracted and produced strong students who are interested in athletics, performing arts and leadership and service," Waltz explained. "In all three of those areas we met or exceeded our set expectations in terms of recruitment."
Wesleyan houses 19 men's and women's sports teams, including basketball, baseball, cross country, golf, football, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field and volleyball. The college also houses several vocal and instrumental ensembles as well as strong theater and arts programs.
"All of these students have not only excelled on their respective field, gym, or performance space, but also in the classroom," Waltz said.
Waltz added that Wesleyan students are well-known for their commitment to leadership, service and community engagement. The Center for Community Engagement hosts the LEAP and WE LEAD student leadership programs, as well as the Wesleyan Service Scholars, which, Waltz says, have all seen significant growth in the past years.
"But really, the biggest draw is the strength in Wesleyan's academic programs," Waltz said. "The numbers reflect the respect for that academic quality. We had 150 PROMISE scholars in this year's incoming class of students."
Waltz also said that recruitment is a year-round task that takes the work of countless individuals.
"We welcome this class with thanks from all of the people who helped them get here from parents to the admissions staff, faculty, alumni, trustees, President Pamela Balch and everyone else who made this a campus-wide responsibility from the entire WVWC community," Waltz added.
But WVWC wasn't the only institution excited for a record-breaking freshman class. Alderson Broaddus University is preparing to welcome a new and exciting class to their campus on Aug. 31.
After housing their largest class ever last year, AB is looking to top that record. The overall recruitment numbers have increased with a large percentage of out-of-state students (around 75 percent) among an increased in-state student presence.
Part of the reason for the spike in recruitment lies in the many changes that AB has been undergoing for several months, including a new name. Alderson-Broaddus College officially became Alderson Broaddus University in June.
"The first thing students will notice as they come to campus is that the campus has a new look," said Zach Ward, the director of admissions for AB.
Along with new programs for cheer and dance, marching band, wrestling, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's golf, acrobatics and tumbling, as well as the opening of four brand-new residence halls, with state-of-the-art modern features.
AB is also debuting their new sports stadium, which will mark the return of regular-season football for the first time in 84 years.
"The campus is currently undergoing a tuition freeze, as well as capped student loans and expanded scholarships offerings, which just add to some of the growth and development for the institution," said Ward. "We are excited to start this new chapter in the history of Alderson Broaddus."
The Inter-Mountain will continue its look at college admissions next week with an article about Davis & Elkins College.