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Clemson sees rise in high school students’ desire to apply to, attend university

Clemson University has already received over 22,000 applications for prospective students, and the number is only increasing. 

Admissions Director Robert Barkley and Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Chuck Knepfle both predict that the university will end up with around 23,400 applicants, a number that drastically overshadows last year’s record of 22,396.

“In my opinion, the factors behind Clemson’s appeal have been the same over the past 15 years,” said Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Bob Jones. “Strong academic reputation, reasonable cost that is low compared to other institutions with the same reputations, and the attractive environment, which includes a desirable location, a beautiful campus, and

strong athletics.”

Jones also added that he believes the steady increases in academic reputation and success of our athletic program have been particularly important factors in the past five years.

The university’s athletic success was commercialized this past football season, with an undefeated season until the loss at the national title. Knepfle admits that the national title run most likely spurred some interest in applicants, but the football does not deserve all the credit. 

“We give a lot of credit to our sports teams’ successes, but not just this year,” Knepfle said. Other sports teams at Clemson that have shown national rankings are men’s golf, women’s tennis and both men’s and women’s soccer.

To accommodate new students, the university has been constructing “Core Campus.” The new project will sit between Death Valley and Tillman Hall.  Including a new 900-seat dining hall that will replace Harcombe Hall, 5,000 square feet of meeting and academic space as well as retail space. There will also be 700 new beds to lodge freshman.

Student Affairs Vice President Doug Hallenbeck reports that the new space will be completed by August, just in time for the new students, saying:

“Recent rains haven’t appreciably delayed crews from enclosing the building and starting work on the red brick façade.”

He also commented that these construction projects may correlate with student recruitment, saying,

“Quality student housing has an impact on recruiting students to Clemson, along with many other factors. We do find that students that live on-campus for two years have higher retention and graduation rates.”

Knepfle told university trustees that acceptance letters will go out to more than 11,000 high school seniors and transfers who qualify for direct admission. More than 2,500 letters will go out to those who qualify for the Bridge to Clemson partnership with Tri-County Technical College.

Out of those who receive acceptance letters, 3,500 new students are expected to enroll onto campus, and Knepfle reports that there are about 800 spots for Bridge students, which is on first come, first served basis. The program usually fills up by March.

As for what these new students will bring to Clemson, Provost Jones says it’s too soon to tell. 

“Most students who have received our offers are still making their final decisions,” he said. “However, of those who have received offers of admission, we see the potential for slight increases in GPA, ranking within the high school class, SAT and ACT scores.  We will not know for certain until later this spring.”

What is certain is that the increase in enrollment speaks well for the school, at least according to Provost Jones. 

“Our growth has been carefully managed to provide opportunity for more SC students to get into a premier state institution,” he said. “To Clemson’s credit, we have done this while sustaining a high-quality education. In my opinion, these are excellent outcomes that will have positive impacts on the economy and future of our state.”

The acceptance deadline is May 1 for high school seniors, and July 1 for

transfer students. 

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