University Turns to Common App to Attract Students

Bethany Jopling, Reporter

University officials have decided to join the Common App school membership as a new enrollment process, due to a decrease in student enrollment numbers.

Common App is a tool that takes students’ general college applications and sends them to a variety of schools that match students’ interests.  More than 750 colleges across the United States use the Common App.

Donna Cerza, Director of Admissions, believes adding Common App as part of the admissions process will increase awareness of the university to a wider audience.

“I am excited because I think the intent would be it is going to expand our visibility and our reach to students who may not necessarily know about Misericordia University,” Cerza said.

Cerza said the addition of the Common App will lead to new and more students exploring the university, particularly students who may not have thought of the university because they may not have known about the programs the university offers.

Admissions officials have noticed there has been a slight decrease in the number of applications submitted.  Student applications have decreased slightly due to factors such as price, scholarships, loans and student demographics.

“There are a lot of environmental factors that affect enrollment, so there are fewer students applying, and so applications over time have been decreasing slightly,” Cerza said.

University officials are anticipating a class of 425 freshmen for the incoming class of 2023, which is an increase from the previous year of 410 students.

“We see the number kind of decreasing, the number of students enrolling decreasing just a little bit, and we’re trying to hold that steady,” Cerza said, despite the anticipated increase.

In addition to adding the Common App, Admissions officials have been talking about the idea of making SAT and ACT scores optional for application, but their would be repercussions, Cerza said.

Cerza said a big concern in enrollment management is student access to higher education. Therefore, one thing she wishes she could change is the access to students who want to come to the university, but may not be able to.

“Offering access not only academically but also different types of financial aid programs to students who may otherwise not be able to afford to come here who really want to come here, and I think that is the biggest thing that I would love to be able to change,” Cerza said.

The hope is that the Comm App will attract students who otherwise may not know the university offers majors they want.

Jamie Sweeney, a first-year diagnostic medical sonography major, chose Misericordia because it was a fit for his goals.

“When I was applying to different colleges, Misericordia stood out to me the most because they were the only one in this area that have my major. That was a huge plus,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney used the regular application process, which, compared to the other schools she applied to, was easy from the start.

Sweeney said the university was a great choice for her.  “The acceptance process was easy.  I love this school, my professors and especially my program.”

Adam Myers, sophomore mass communication and design major, has been working with admissions as a Student Admissions Ambassador for one year.

As a Student Admissions Ambassador, Myers said he gives tours and works with perspective students by helping them to their next step in the process.

Myers said he noticed Admissions representatives are starting to focus more on extracurriculars.  “They’re really heavy on SAT scores, but they are focusing more on service and extracurriculars more than academics.”

Common App is available for use starting August 1.