Students increasingly choose UConn over other Northeast schools, board of trustees says

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Herbst mentioned factors that could draw students to UConn, including its honors college, the quality of its tours and its recreational facilities. (File/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut Office of Undergraduate Admissions revealed that high school students are increasingly choosing to attend UConn over several other Northeast schools at a board of trustees meeting yesterday.

In a presentation to the board, Vice President for Enrollment Planning and Management Nathan Fuerst said UConn has been making enrollment gains when compared to schools like Boston University, Stony Brook University, Syracuse University and Rutgers University.

“Against a place like Fordham, when we go head-to-head with Fordham, 80 percent of the time (a) student will opt to come to the University of Connecticut,” Fuerst said. “Even in this most recent year, against Boston University, which is, as you know, a very elite and prestigious university, now we’re actually winning 52 percent of the time when we go head-to-head with them.”

The information Fuerst presented to the board is from an admitted student questionnaire run by College Board. The results of the survey are given to colleges and universities.

“Thanks to the College Board, when an individual applies for admission to UConn, we’re able to see through this data what other institutions they applied to and where they decided to enroll, if not UConn,” UConn President Susan Herbst said. “So this kind of data gives us a very clear picture of who our competitors are in the prospective student market. It’s extremely important information that we can use in many, many ways.”

Fuerst said UConn gets the results of the survey once every three years and those results allow the school to see how its appeal to prospective students is changing over time, the other schools that applicants to UConn apply to and more.

“In particular this year, Cornell, NYU, Yale and Brown are all in our top 20 cross-applicant institutions,” Fuerst said. “We’ve never seen, I don’t think, that magnitude and caliber of institutions amongst our group.”

Herbst mentioned factors that could draw students to UConn, including its honors college, the quality of its tours and its recreational facilities.

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“It’s so surprising where students cross the line and it goes to show you how much superficial things matter,” Herbst said. “For example, minute differences in the college tours, and we work on ours constantly. I know it’s a little strange, but you’re competing in areas like that too, and not just hardcore things like how much financial aid.”

Fuerst said going forward, it’s important for UConn to recognize that demographics are changing and that the number of high school graduating seniors in the Northeast is on the decline.

“We’re being very deliberate about expanding into new markets, trying to stay ahead of this reality, looking at places like Texas, Florida and California where the demographics are the inverse and are actually growing,” Fuerst said. “As we continue to grow in those areas of the country, or globally, we’ll see this competitor list continue to change and adjust.”


Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabriella.debenedictis@uconn.edu.

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