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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Freshman class is second largest


With 3,650 incoming freshmen, the 2005 freshman class is the second highest number of students to enroll at the University.

Previously, BGSU may have been fourth or fifth on an individual’s list of college choices, but it’s moving upward, said President Sidney Ribeau.

‘The growth really symbolizes the reputation of BG,’ Ribeau said. ‘When students are thinking of institutions, we are on that list. We are now on the list of first choices.’

Last year’s record-setting freshman class totaling 3,929 students was the largest at the University.

After receiving more than 11,000 freshmen fall applications this year, University officials decided to shrink the incoming group’s size to ensure adequate services could be provided.

‘The fear is if you admit too many [students] at one time, you can’t provide the quality service you want to provide,’ Ribeau said. ‘We try to do it in a systematic way so we don’t jeopardize class size.’

Converting residence hall lobbies into rooms to accommodate the overflowing number of students in on-campus housing which occurred last year is easier to solve than adding classroom space, said Gary Swegan, director of admissions.

To allow students more one-on-one interaction with their instructors and prevent overcrowding in classrooms, University officials decreased the class size by 279 students.

‘Our desire was to be lower than last year,’ Swegan said. ‘It’ll be very healthy, but not as large as last year.’

In addition to the having more interest in BGSU, this year’s incoming class is more diverse than the previous year.

With a total of 640 students of color, the group makes up 17 percent of the 3,650 students, compared to 13.4 percent last year.

As colleges and universities strive to prepare students for the real world, diversity is becoming essential.

In a rural area like Bowling Green, a significant percentage of the student population at the University is from Wood County or surrounding counties, said Wanda Overland, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

Citing that Wood County is a less diverse area compared to the entire world, Overland said the diversity that exists at the University provides students with better opportunities to gain an understanding of society.

‘It’s important for students coming to campus to find mentors who have similar backgrounds and experiences to learn from and be mentored by,’ she said. ‘The greater diversity you have on campus is an opportunity to learn more about our society and certainly to experience different perspectives and different viewpoints.’

Over the last decade, enrollment at BGSU has been consistently climbing, and this year’s total is anticipated to reach 21,400 students including the Firelands campus.

Swegan attributes the increase in enrollment to the University investing more time and energy into recruiting students.

‘One of our big challenges is to continue to try to maintain the value of a BGSU education and make it attractive and make it doable,’ he said.

The entire enrollment team at BGSU, along with individuals in the admissions office, work not only to steadily increase enrollment, but also to increase the number of students coming from many of backgrounds and races.

‘We are doing a much better job of bringing in a diverse student population,’ Ribeau said. ‘It makes the learning environment much richer. When you talk about social issues and political issues, you’re talking about those issues through the eyes of students coming from different experiences and backgrounds.’

Although there are many of reasons attributed to enrollment increases over the past 10 years, Overland said that recent recognition of outstanding academic programs and school spirit adds to BGSU’s appeal.

‘We are becoming known for some really benchmark programs,’ she said. ‘School spirit and pride is more alive.’

And with the availability of organizations and programs to get involved with, students begin to adapt to University life and are less intimidated by the size of BGSU.

‘As students find those niches, they develop family,’ Overland said. ‘With that comes pride and fulfillment that you’re making a difference and growing as a person.’

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