Fredonia Poised for Largest Incoming First-Year Class in History

Accepted students and their families learn about Fredonia at the spring Accepted Students Reception at King Concert Hall. Programs like this have led to the positive recruitment trend of Fredonia students.
Accepted students and their families learn about Fredonia at the spring Accepted Students Reception at King Concert Hall. Programs like this have led to the positive recruitment trend of Fredonia students.

Article Contributed by
The State University of New York at Fredonia

The complete overhaul of the undergraduate admissions process that the State University of New York at Fredonia began during the 2016-2017 admissions/recruitment cycle has put the campus firmly on target to welcome its largest ever class of entering first-year students.

These sweeping changes have resulted in significant increases in both the numbers of applications submitted and deposits made by new students for the 2018–2019 academic year.

An all-time record of more than 1,200 first-year students have placed deposits at Fredonia while new transfer student deposits continue to run ahead of last year as well. These significant enrollment gains are being achieved at a time when the pool of high school graduates continues to shrink across the nation. In the fall of 2017, Fredonia enrolled its second largest class ever, 1,128 first-year students. The previous record of 1,187 occurred in 2008 when high school enrollment peaked in New York state.

“Students are now being brought into the recruitment pipeline as early as middle school and we continue to build these relationships over time in high school. We are being very proactive in the outreach to these students to make sure they are not only admitted to Fredonia, but are also wanted and recruited by Fredonia,” said Director of Admissions Cory Bezek.

Changes in admissions were necessary to enable Fredonia to fulfill its mission of being a comprehensive university with a liberal arts focus, said Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Cedric B. Howard.

“The driving theme in reimagining the admissions process was to prepare Fredonia to serve as a catalyst for building a college-going culture in Chautauqua County and beyond,” Dr. Howard explained.

Fredonia has increased entering student enrollment by more than 25 percent and is prepared to offer post-secondary opportunities to every student seeking a quality four-year college experience as a result of the far-reaching admissions changes, said Howard, who joined Fredonia in August 2016 and was the guiding hand behind the admissions and recruitment overhaul.

“At the core, all of the strategies that we’re implementing are focused on maximizing the ‘student experience,’” Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services Daniel M. Tramuta explained. “We now have a more collaborative, intentional and strategic approach to both
new student recruitment and overall enrollment planning that is framed
by an advanced planning calendar.”

The entering class of students brings a rich and varied heritage to campus. They hail from eight different foreign countries and 19 states and are fluent in 42 languages other than English and represent 542 high schools whose graduation classes range from 14 to over 900 students. Among this entering class are 13 valedictorians and salutatorians.

The students are athletically inclined, as about half, 689, were varsity athletes and 32 earned state championships. Talent also flourishes. Just over 500 students have played a musical instrument, 412 were involved in theatre or dance at the high school or community level, 390 sing in a choir and 32 have performed at Carnegie Hall. They have also amassed over 110,000 hours of community service. They will travel a combined 229,276 miles to get to the campus this week.

Bezek said Fredonia continues to recruit high quality students who can be successful and has not lowered admissions standards to achieve an enrollment goal. “We have refined our recruitment process for students so they understand the value and quality of a Fredonia education. We have also spent considerable time in the recruitment of students from markets that have incredible opportunity for us, such as New York City and other downstate markets,” Bezek explained.

“Students are getting the message that you may have to travel a bit longer to get to us, but the quality of a Fredonia education is second to none,” Bezek said.

Geographic areas showing the most significant growth in students coming to Fredonia include New York City, the Southern Tier and Albany to downstate New York; while the academic major experiencing the largest percentages of growth include Computer Science, History, Psychology, Education and Dance.

As the entering class has grown over the past years, Fredonia has also spent more time paying attention to students who are closer to home, including those in Chautauqua County. “Our new Pathway programs with our Pre-college Outreach Office have allowed us to be able to provide a greater service to our county and surrounding area,” Mr. Tramuta noted.