Dean: Large gender gap in line with national trend

Admissions data for this year reveal small gains in the number of applications and selectivity but a stagnant gender gap, the dean of admissions said.

The number of students who applied for admission at TCU inched up about 3 percent from last year for a total of 12,016 applications in 2008, according to admissions data. The acceptance rate, or the percentage of students offered admission, rose from about 46 percent to about 47 percent in the same period.

Ray Brown, dean of admissions, said he expects the female-to-male percentage ratio for the incoming freshman class to remain fixed at about 58-42, reflecting a trend in colleges and universities nationwide.

“Every year I have hopes that we’ll be able to crack through, but it simply hasn’t happened yet,” he said.

The national female-to-male ratio in colleges and universities, including graduate students, is about 57-43, according to 2005 U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

“Nobody I’ve ever heard talk on the subject can offer a satisfactory explanation – it’s just happening,” Brown said.

One reason may be that an increasing number of men seem to be attracted to blue-collar employment, such as construction or the Internet-based industry, which do not require a college degree, Brown said. Men are abdicating their roles as leaders while women are stepping up the competition not only at school but also in the workplace, he said.

Brown said one of the social ramifications of the college gender gap is that women will graduate into a world with fewer similarly educated men. Recruitment efforts to attract more male students have not reduced the gender gap, he said.

Elizabeth Perkins, director of admission marketing and communication, said the admissions office is actively pursuing higher male enrollment through upcoming marketing campaigns. She said admissions marketing aims to attract more men by making technology a theme in the university’s recruitment material because that is an angle that appeals to that demographic.

Perkins said research indicates that college-bound men prefer publications with pictures of male college students in activities they can identify with because it helps them see themselves at that university. She said more pictures of male students will be included in recruitment publications in light of these findings. The admissions office also collects information about students from their application and sends admitted students personalized brochures tailored after their interests, she said.

Even though the gender gap remains constant, minority applications expanded once again, totaling 4,156 in a 7 percent increase from last year, according to admissions data. Out of the minority groups, blacks had the largest increase in applications, up about 10 percent from last year.

Brown said the boost in minority applications is related to outreach programs geared toward those groups, such as Black Senior Weekend, a pilot recruitment program this semester.

International applications rose about 5 percent from last year, from 328 to 343, according to admissions data.

Brown said the university also seeks to increase out-of-state enrollment. He said the admissions office has deployed three regional representatives in California, Illinois and Houston, where interest in TCU is high and alumni presence is significant.

Victoria Herrera, regional director of admission for Houston, said she is able to give personal attention to an area with an increasing interest in the university. She said alumni play an important role in recruitment.

“They’re very good advocates for us,” she said.

Brown said 786 students had committed to the university as of April 8, which he said was what the admissions office expects by that date.

For Your Info

Total applications
2007 – 11,683
2008 – 12,016
Students accepted
2007 – 5,387
2008 – 5,672
Percent accepted
2007 – 46.1 percent
2008 – 47.2 percent
Students who paid deposits as of April 8
2007 – 791
2008 – 786
Source: Admissions Report