House rules change with Frosh increase

A record-breaking number of freshmen applications this year forced Marquette to be more selective in the admissions process.

Marquette's acceptance rate had been about 83 percent — meaning about 83 percent of first-year applicants were accepted — until this year. Marquette's selectivity rating dropped to 67 percent with this year's freshman class in a self-imposed plan to curtail its size, according to University Provost Madeline Wake.

Marquette came off a year in which 10,201 first-year undergraduate students applied and just over 1,800 enrolled.

Wake said the decision was made to protect the quality of life at Marquette, where there is a low faculty-to-student ratio.

"(Marquette Student Government) representatives did not want the class so big that student life would be adversely affected and we addressed that," Wake said of the students who took the initiative to make the concern known to her.

Samantha Hajdu, a freshman in the College of Communication, said the increasing interest in Marquette is exciting.

"A lot of people want to be here," Hajdu said. "There's going to be more campus events, a better campus life."

Last year, 1,890 freshmen arrived at Marquette although the university only had about 1,800 spots available, Wake said.

The record number led to the addition of South Hall and a slight increase in teaching positions. According to Wake, Marquette was able to do it because it had more students paying tuition to fund the operational costs of the university.

Wake said this year the university will keep the same number of faculty positions but shift the positions to accommodate the students.

More students are interested in Marquette because of the university's improving reputation and outstanding programs, Wake said.

"We are bent on continuous improvement," she said. "And that caught peoples' attention."

Roby Blust, dean of undergraduate admissions, said the improvements didn't happen overnight but rather over a number of years.

Admissions counselor Tanya Batti said sports might also have attracted many students.

"I think basketball had a little to do with it," Batti said, although she hopes students are also attracted to Marquette's academic programs.

Carley Ganek, a freshman in the College of Communication, chose Marquette mainly because of its location, which she said provides internship and job opportunities, and also because of its reputation.

Ganek said those who attended Marquette told her about the atmosphere, the education and the student-to-teacher ratio.

Wake said more students are applying because the Admissions Office has changed the recruitment procedures and caused the university to alter its scholarship allocation to attract diverse students.

In order to increase diversity and encourage minorities to apply, Marquette has separated school scholarship funds based on race and ethnicity, Wake said.

The Admissions Office is already making changes in case there is another unprecedented number of applications this year.

In previous years, Marquette had rolling admissions with a priority date of Feb. 1. This year, application materials for priority deadline are due before Dec. 1. Wake said students who apply after the December deadline will be accepted only if there is available room.

Batti said the Admissions Office did not hire extra counselors to read the applications but it did hire more people to file them.

"It makes our job a lot harder but it's for a good cause," Batti said.

Despite these changes, Wake, Blust and Batti said the application process will still be based on how well-rounded a student is, not just test scores or grades.

"Marquette will keep attracting high quality students," Blust said. "We put a high premium on students who have service and leadership."