UIndy’s Admissions combats declining enrollment

For August 2020, the University of Indianapolis had planned for a freshman class of roughly 1,000. That estimate was determined in late 2019 and into early 2020 and has since decreased because of the COVID-19 pandemic. UIndy is now planning for an incoming freshman class size of 900-975, University President Robert Manuel said during a Faculty Senate meeting on March 31. For the past years, UIndy’s freshman class has been larger and larger each year. However, this years’ incoming freshman class will be less than previous years.

Vice President for Enrollment Services Ron Wilks said he expected that the numbers would be lower in the past because of the declining number of students that are going to college.

The Office of Admissions is working to combat these low numbers during the outbreak and has transitioned to having virtual visits, Wilks said.

“We were able to get one of our students to record a campus video tour, so we are able to incorporate that when we send out our communications for our visits,” Wilks said. “Before they [prospective students] do their virtual visits, we ask them to watch the tour of campus with the student. The student gives the tour, they watch it and hopefully it generates questions when they’re meeting with their [admissions] counselor during their virtual visit.”

Admissions is not only having virtual campus tours and virtual meetings with admissions counselors, but they are also planning on implementing a student panel. Wilks said that the panels would be held via Google Hangouts. This would allow potential students to talk with an admissions counselor as well as current students. 

“We’ve had close to 90 people schedule visits in the past 3 weeks that we’ve had it up,” Wilks said. “We’re really pleased with that.”

On March 31, the Faculty Senate passed a temporary waiver for SAT/ACT scores for students who are applying to UIndy due to them not being able to take the tests. This temporary waiver will exempt students from submitting their test scores with their application. Wilks said that each student’s situation is different and that not all students take the test at the same time. 

“We have some students who wait to take the test until later … and asked for a temporary waiver for us to be able to make an admissions decision based upon GPA and other factors.”

While GPA will be considered when looking at a student’s application, admissions will be making decisions based on a number of other things, Wilks said.

“We’ll be looking at the rigor of their curriculum and courses that they took,” Wilks said. “We’ll also be taking into account if they’ve had a conversation with a counselor and what that conversation looked like.” 

Wilks wants students to know that they are trying to be flexible in terms of deposits, he said that they do not want that to be a barrier for students. 

“We’re really just getting an understanding of what their [student’s] intent is. If their intention is to really enroll at the University of Indianapolis, we’re going to work with that family individually and be really flexible based on their situation and help them,” Wilks said. “If they want to come here, we’ll figure out a way to make it work”

Now is a time to be understanding and think about the students and the families and understand that they are impacted differently, Wilks said.

“I’m really just amazed that when a situation like this happens that people do come together, “Wilks said. “People rally around and people step up and say ‘Yes, let’s do this!’ “I think it’s really the fact that we’re thinking about the students and families, that’s who we are as an institution.”

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