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FAU becoming tougher to get into

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FAU becoming tougher to get into

FAU applications up, but number of students accepted won't change
BY SCOTT TRAVIS Sun-Sentinel
Monday, June 9, 2008


Florida Atlantic University is becoming a more popular choice for college freshmen, and a tougher school to get into.

As of the June 1 deadline, the university received 10,943 applications from graduating high school seniors, the most ever. That's up from 10,162 last year.

The final number is expected to grow a little bit more, as the university still is processing applications.

Officials attribute a number of factors to FAU's rising popularity. Some say the exposure the university received from its football win at the New Orleans Bowl and the Republican primary presidential debate prompted students to take another look at the university.

"I think both of those were hugely important pluses for the university and gave a lot of positive visibility," said Mike Armstrong, associate provost. "But I also think each year, we're becoming more an institution of first choice."

But while interest in the university may be high, budget cuts will prevent the university from expanding to accommodate more freshmen. The class size will stay at about 2,400.

As a result, more students are being turned down or told they'll need to wait until spring 2009 to be admitted. It also means FAU officials expect this year's freshman class to be better prepared than those in the past.

"I have a team of evaluators who review all applications and make the decisions, and they have said it is a much better class," said Barbara Pletcher, director of admissions for FAU. "The students are taking more rigorous courses, have higher test scores and have higher grade point averages."

The university still is accepting transfer applications, but those too are up about 10 percent from this time last year, Armstrong said. Overall enrollment is expected to remain steady at about 26,000, Armstrong said.

Ashaf Khan , the salutatorian at Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, said he was accepted into the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, but chose FAU. He said his parents wanted him to stay close to home.

"It was also because I heard FAU has a really good ocean engineering program," he said. "There are not many schools with ocean engineering, and that's one of my interests."

Maryann Fichera, the valedictorian at Boynton Beach High School, said she's attending FAU. So are many of her friends.

"If they move from home," she said, "they can still go home on the weekends and have home-cooked meals."

Armstrong said he also suspects enrollment freezes at other universities played a part in FAU's application surge as well. Florida State University in Tallahassee, the University of Florida in Gainesville and Florida International University in Miami were among the schools in the state turning down qualified students due to budget cuts.

UF's applications were up 11 percent from last year, while FIU's numbers are up 10 percent. FSU's freshman applications were about the same as last year.

FAU also made inroads in the Miami area, with freshmen applications up from 770 last year to about 1,000 this year. Officials say that could be partly because Florida International University in Miami turned down 1,400 qualified students. FAU also did more recruiting in Miami, using a new bilingual recruiter to attract students whose first language is Spanish, Pletcher said.

Applications also are up from Broward, Brevard, Orange, Duval and most counties on the west coast of Florida. They're about the same in Palm Beach County.

FAU set tougher guidelines to get in this fall, requiring most students to have at least a 2.6 to get in. In the past, students have been accepted with GPA's as low as 2.0 as long as they scored well on the SAT or ACT.

While the university denied a lot of students with the lower GPA, it did accept some who had rigorous course work, Pletcher said. Next year the GPA will be strictly enforced, she said.



This is the positive side of the budget cuts, I guess. What's also positive about this is that each of the universities in Florida should be at least 5-10% more selective in the past while other U.S. schools not affected by budget cuts remain the same. This may artificially raise the prestige and garner more attention from U.S. News and similar magazines on selecting a college.

The BOT's upcoming meetings also talk about raising the out-of-state enrollment from 7% to 10% here at FAU. Add in all the Innovation Village stuff and the various other improvements coming here over the next couple of years and we could very likely see FAU ascend to third tier… which I know isn't much but some have said that we'll be more attractive to better sports conferences as a T3 school than a T4 school.

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Re: FAU becoming tougher to get into

The budget cuts may finally be good for something.
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Re: FAU becoming tougher to get into

I still have no idea what a Tier 3 or Tier 4 school means

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: FAU becoming tougher to get into

The increased attention that FAU is getting because of NO Bowl and debates has helped with admissions. There is no doubt.

However, I think the budget cuts have also helped get more students to FAU.

My stepsister refused to even think about going to FAU. She wanted a traditional school and applied to UF and FSU. After getting denied from both of those schools (she has over a 4.0 GPA and over 1200 on SATs so it wasn't her grades or scores) she applied to FAU, UCF and USF.

She ended up choosing USF to follow in the footsteps of her sister, but stories like these, multipied by 1,000, could explain why people are looking at FAU.

Whatever the case is, now that we have them, WE HAVE TO KEEP THEM and not let them transfer to another school. We must engage them and keep them HERE. The last thing we need is freshmen to say "well, I'm going to do my core classes at FAU and then transfer."

I'm a proud lifetime member of the FAU National Alumni Association. Are you a member? Join now at www.faualumni.org.
Tradition in the Making, One Alum at a Time…
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Re: FAU becoming tougher to get into

Jab979 said

I still have no idea what a Tier 3 or Tier 4 school means
It has to do with a variety of factors that U.S. News deems important. Some are more reasonable than others but essentially the reason we're in the fourth tier is

we don't have a very large endowment
our students don't graduate in 4 years often enough
our alumni don't donate very much
our perception by peer institutions is not very good
etc

I think we'll jump to tier 3 pretty soon but tier 1 is a long, long way off.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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Re: FAU becoming tougher to get into

owlcountry said

Jab979 said

I still have no idea what a Tier 3 or Tier 4 school means
It has to do with a variety of factors that U.S. News deems important. Some are more reasonable than others but essentially the reason we're in the fourth tier is

we don't have a very large endowment
our students don't graduate in 4 years often enough
our alumni don't donate very much
our perception by peer institutions is not very good
etc

I think we'll jump to tier 3 pretty soon but tier 1 is a long, long way off.

And Adam I think the points you raise are all tied together.

For years (and decades), there was nothing to be excited about on campus. For the first 20 years of our existence, the school was only for completing your degrees. We didn't accept freshmen until 1984, which then allowed us to start trending towards becoming a "traditional school." Besides cases such as Armand Grossman and Tom Workman, we lost a huge amount of interest and possible alumni money, endowment, etc. because those 1964-1984 students really didn't have a lot to be excited about - thus they felt no loyalty to the school.

And besides some isolated cases like being in SG or being involved with Greek Life, there was really no broad interest in being tied to something university-related until the short-lived success of men's basketball in 2002 and recently our (hopefully) sustained success of football since 2003.

Know what I mean?

I'm a proud lifetime member of the FAU National Alumni Association. Are you a member? Join now at www.faualumni.org.
Tradition in the Making, One Alum at a Time…
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Re: FAU becoming tougher to get into

smittysahoot said

owlcountry said

Jab979 said

I still have no idea what a Tier 3 or Tier 4 school means
It has to do with a variety of factors that U.S. News deems important. Some are more reasonable than others but essentially the reason we're in the fourth tier is

we don't have a very large endowment
our students don't graduate in 4 years often enough
our alumni don't donate very much
our perception by peer institutions is not very good
etc

I think we'll jump to tier 3 pretty soon but tier 1 is a long, long way off.

And Adam I think the points you raise are all tied together.

For years (and decades), there was nothing to be excited about on campus. For the first 20 years of our existence, the school was only for completing your degrees. We didn't accept freshmen until 1984, which then allowed us to start trending towards becoming a "traditional school." Besides cases such as Armand Grossman and Tom Workman, we lost a huge amount of interest and possible alumni money, endowment, etc. because those 1964-1984 students really didn't have a lot to be excited about - thus they felt no loyalty to the school.

And besides some isolated cases like being in SG or being involved with Greek Life, there was really no broad interest in being tied to something university-related until the short-lived success of men's basketball in 2002 and recently our (hopefully) sustained success of football since 2003.

Know what I mean?

Fortunately there were dorms on campus from 1964 to 1984. Which makes me wonder what the original intentions were for FAU. The enrollment was much much smaller when I went there, 7,000+, but 1,100 lived on campus or about 15%. It may have been as high as 20% in the years just before I got there since enrollment had been continuously growing and no dorms had been built since 1969.  The enrollment kept growing but student housing didn't keep up.

Anyway, there are a small number of people from that era that feel very close to FAU. I'm sure like me they are contributing.

FAU - THE REAL SLEEPING GIANT
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Re: FAU becoming tougher to get into

smittysahoot said

Besides cases such as Armand Grossman and Tom Workman, we lost a huge amount of interest and possible alumni money, endowment, etc. because those 1964-1984 students really didn't have a lot to be excited about - thus they felt no loyalty to the school.

And besides some isolated cases like being in SG or being involved with Greek Life, there was really no broad interest in being tied to something university-related until the short-lived success of men's basketball in 2002 and recently our (hopefully) sustained success of football since 2003.

Know what I mean?
Absolutely agree. The Debates and the football team gave the university something really tangible to be proud of, combined with the new freshmen dorm and the overall sense that things are getting better here and it's just been phenomenal.

Speaking of feeling connected, I spoke with Annual Giving today about the 1961 Obelisk and the Greeks apparently have expressed a lot of interest in paying to have their letters inscribed on the concrete for the fountain. Not sure what amount they're looking for but I think it was $2000. Don't know if they can get $2000 from each of the 20 Greek organizations but the bigger ones shouldn't have an issue with it. Might want to run it by your brothers to make sure they're aware of the opportunity.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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