Managing student enrollment at a large comprehensive university like The Beach has become increasingly more complex and difficult as the popularity and prestige of the campus grows.
Each year for more than a decade, the university has garnered special plaudits for being ranked among the best universities in the Western region of the country by the Princeton Review, US News and World Report, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Security Magazine, to name just a few of the agencies and publications that are in the business of judging the quality of a university’s programs and services. Appearing in the top two or three among the region’s best public universities also suggests that students attending the university are pleased by the student-centered focus embraced by the institution as well as by the beauty of our well-manicured and picturesque 323-acre campus.
The high honors previously mentioned also serve as an indication of the quality of our academic programs and students’ out-of-classroom experiences, beginning with our early outreach efforts to the ever-increasing number of learning communities and traditional campus programs and services available to students. All of these factors contribute to a very high student demand for access to the university—a demand so great that we received more than 88,000 applications for admission for the fall 2013 term.
The full-time equivalency (FTE) target for the university, which has been set at 29,000 by the Chancellor’s Office, will generate a head count of approximately 36,500 students. This suggests that coupled with the number of expected continuing students, the university must achieve enrollment targets for the incoming class of 4,076 freshmen and 3,375 transfer students. How to achieve these targets has occupied the time and energy of a number of key campus officials. These highly skilled individuals have been tasked with the responsibility of making recommendations on admissions cutoff scores based upon high school grade point averages and standardized test scores for entering freshmen, and grade point averages and the completion of 60 units of transferable college credit for transfer students. Also, the university is "fully impacted" which means “the number of applications received from fully qualified applicants during the initial filing period has exceeded the number of available spaces.” This status allows academic departments to use supplemental criteria when screening students for admission to their programs, which further exacerbates an already complicated enrollment strategy.
While the daunting task of managing the university’s enrollment is complicated and challenging, CSULB has approached the process by involving faculty, staff and students in shaping the enrollment model and making recommendations on how to proceed in meeting our mandated enrollment targets. As always, this spirit of shared governance is critical to ensuring that the student profile maintained by the university continues to meet the needs of the state and the region we serve. It is through well designed and effective processes like our enrollment management strategy that we continue in our efforts to transform California State University, Long Beach into a truly great university.