Applications dip after removal of simplified application form

Applications dip after removal of simplified application form

After two years of receiving record-breaking numbers of applications, the university is suffering from a dip in applications, a university official said.

But the lull in applications is not as a result of the failing economy, but because of a surprising decision made by the admissions office to eliminate the FastApp, said dean of admissions Ray Brown.

Brown said the FastApp, a simplified version of the TCU application that requires only a transcript and a writing sample, brought in about 1500 applications for fall 2008. The FastApp, which was first offered to the class of 2003, was intended to bring in more minority and male students since the university was lacking in both, Brown said. However, Brown said the Office of Admission saw an increase in applications from students applying to multiple universities because the simplified application made the process of sending out multiple applications easier.

Even though the university received many applications via the FastApp, Brown said he pressed to eliminate it because the number of students offered admission was smaller and the applications were of lower quality.

“When we eliminated the FastApp this year, we knew there would be some form of a drop-off (in completed applications),” Brown said. “Frankly, I thought it would be more than it is.”

Brown said the admissions office has been pleasantly surprised by the increased number of completed applications.

The admissions office has received 9,799 total applications as of the Jan. 13 for fall 2009, fewer than the 10,570 at this time last year for fall 2008, a 7 percent decrease. The total number of applications includes both actionable and non-actionable applications, Brown said. An actionable application is one that contains enough information for admissions to make a decision. Non-actionable applications are missing too much information to be considered for admission, but are still counted in initial application numbers, Brown said.

The number of actionable applications now stands at 6,298 for fall 2009, compared to 6,057 for fall 2008, Brown said.

For the fall 2008 semester, the university received 12,212 total applications, Brown said.

Freshman admissions director Wes Waggoner said that to maintain high application numbers, the admissions office sent out admission and scholarship decisions faster than in previous years and also tried to encourage families to make the financial commitment to college with the help of scholarships and grants.

A December 2008 survey of 371 private universities conducted by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities revealed that two-thirds were concerned with preventing a decline in enrollment due to the economy.

Mike Scott, director of scholarships and student financial aid, said the university budget for financial aid is expected to increase by 5 percent this year. Despite concern about the economy, Scott said the financial aid office has not seen an increase in calls regarding questions about scholarships.

Brown said even though this is the second recession the university has faced recently, he thinks that its stance on offering financial aid to as many students as possible helps to lessen the blow the failing economy has dealt. According to the financial aid Web site, 70 percent of students receive some kind of monetary aid.

Waggoner said the university is not overly concerned with a dip in enrollment for fall 2009 because he believes the strength of the its reputation and the stability of the university is enough to encourage students and parents to commit despite the state of the economy.

Fall 2009 Fall 2008 Fall 2007
Applications by Jan. 13 9,799 10,570 10,113
Completed applications 6,298 6,057 6,355