The 120th school year at Southwestern Adventist University is off to a record start. With 167 freshmen, the class of 2017 is the biggest freshmen class since 1999. There are 50 more freshmen than last year—a 43 percent increase. “Our current students were our best ambassadors,” says President Eric Anderson. “They are spreading the word to other students.”
With a total enrollment of 817 active students, Southwestern also saw an improvement in other categories. “Financial full-time equivalents” (an important budget category) was up by 14. “It’s an exciting start to the school year,” explains Anderson. “The enrollment initiative begun in 2012 is paying dramatic dividends.”
“I couldn’t be more thrilled with our freshmen,” says Enga Almeida, vice president for enrollment. “We’ve awarded more merit scholarships than ever before, because their test scores are so high. This is a high-achieving class.”
All the good news is not for the freshmen class alone. The residence halls are filling up, with 46 more students in the dorms than last year.
“At the beginning of the 2012 school year, Dean Ann Jobity and I started praying for a full dorm,” says Janelle Williams, dean of women. “We’ve been faithfully and specifically praying for a whole year now and it’s awesome to watch our residence halls fill up. We’re still praying because we could hold 50 more!”
Southwestern draws students from Adventist academies, public high schools, and home schools. Of the incoming freshmen, 82 graduated from Adventist academies in the New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The University also received a boost of 22 new international students, coming from countries ranging from Angola and Brazil to Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.
“I came to Southwestern because they wanted me here,” says Taylor, a freshman from Houston. “I heard back from them quicker and more often than any of the other universities I applied to. They were so friendly and helpful!”