MU breaks enrollment record

MU enrollment sets new record at start day.
Incoming freshmen stream past Truman the Tiger and through the Columns during Tiger Walk on Sunday on Francis Quadrangle. This year's freshmen enrollment reached an all-time high of 5,812 on the first day of classes.

For the past seven years, the number of incoming freshmen has continually broken MU's enrollment record. This semester is no exception.

The school's official freshman class total will be determined after the fourth week of classes, but the opening day figure was 5,812 students, a 785-student increase from this time last year. Total enrollment grew by 1,691 students, adding up to 29,761.

At Sunday evening's Tiger Walk, thousands of incoming freshmen clad in their respective residence hall shirts stampeded through the Francis Quadrangle's columns toward Jesse Hall, signifying their entrance into the university.

"I'm a tiger now," freshman Rawan Al-Dahhan said following the event.

With their entrance comes campus-wide changes including greater demand for housing and a need for more faculty.

"We hired more instructors," said Ann Korschgen, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management. "We opened over 200 new sections for students."

A variety of factors contributed to this year's burgeoned class size, which includes a large number of out-of-state and international students.

"We visited more high schools, increased our out-of-state presence, contacted prospective students more often," Korschgen said.

Incoming freshmen attributed the school's out-of-state population to the multitude of qualities MU has to offer like academics, athletics and campus community.

"We have a lot of diversity here," freshman Daniel Nabelek said. "Great academics in many fields, athletics and all that combined we got pretty much everything covered here."

Sophomore Geordan Smith said MU's highly ranked football team drew a lot of students from around the country.

"We had such a good team last year, it grabs attention," freshman Andrew McMullen said.

In addition, the appearance of the school's campus, also a botanical garden, attracts students.

"It's one of the nicest campuses," freshman Raha Obaei said. "When I visited in October I knew I was going to come here."

Renovations and new construction, including the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute and the soon-to-come mid-campus housing and Brady Commons expansion, also appeal to more prospective students. 

"The more we build up Mizzou, the more international students will pick us," freshman Nicholas Jain said.

"It helps that we have very effective out-of-state recruiters," Korschgen said. "Also we have increased our international efforts."

Vivian Jiang, an international student from China here to study business, cited Missouri's weather as her reason for choosing MU.

"I want to go here because of the environment," she said. "I really like the weather. And the (Student Recreation Complex) is really good too."

Despite such a sizeable student body, students, such as freshman Rachel Mueller, said they feel like MU provides a sense of togetherness.

"I really like how it's such a big school with a tight-knit community," she said.

In June the university capped freshman enrollment. That doesn't mean, though, that MU admissions requirements are going to change in the near future, Korschgen said.

"At this point there has not been discussion about that," she said. "We want very much to ensure that they have a great undergraduate experience here."

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