Laurier sees decrease in admissions
Admissions for incoming first-year students at Wilfrid Laurier University have dropped 14 per cent since last year, according to the admissions office and the Ontario University Applications Centre.
This drop in admissions brings the university 7 per cent below their target from last year.
Holly Cox, Laurier’s director of recruitment and admissions, explained there are strong demands for some programs and weakening demands for others. Laurier arts programs, for example, have more declined applications than confirmations.
“We are looking at this and it’s not something that we are trying to push under the carpet. It’s something we really have to look at as an institution,” she said.
According to Cox, since June 22, Laurier has accepted over 200 students for the upcoming year.
She explained that offers go out as early as mid-December and run through until August, but there has not been a change in when the letters go out.
“In the 15 years that I’ve been working in recruitment and admissions, we have made offers through the summer, depending on where there was capacity,” she wrote in an e-mail. “The bulk of our offers are made by early May … but offers after that are not late.”
According to Cox, universities all over Ontario are experiencing a drop in arts programs. At Laurier’s Brantford campus, social science programs have risen in admissions and liberal arts programs have declined.
Since Laurier has a high proportion of their student body in arts programs, there will be a decline in the numbers and will have a stronger impact than other universities.
The Students’ Union budget, which is based off the amount of student fees they receive every year, reflects more students than Laurier will be taking in. As a result, the Union will also be dealing with the affects of there being fewer students on campus.
“It’s going to be a hard year especially considering the decrease in enrollment, but we’re prepared for it,” Sam Lambert, president and CEO of the Students’ Union, said.
Brantford’s concurrent education program has also decreased, as the Ministry of Education has requested a decline in admissions, according to Cox.
As far as other faculties go, Cox said, “Science, overall, is flat. They haven’t increased or decreased much, they’ve seen some programs with huge increases and other programs with decreases, so they’re all over the place.”
To help fix this problem, Cox explained that Laurier has hired a consultant to create a strategic plan. So far, they are looking at core opportunity areas to work on as an institution. Admissions is also looking at curriculum development, composition and compliments given to faculties to see how they can improve, especially in arts programs.
“Something that every university right now is grappling with is, how do you convey to a 17-year-old the value of liberal arts, and it’s undeniable, but it’s hard for a student to understand that value,” said Cox.
She also believes students think they’ll get more success from a very specific program than one such as liberal arts.
”We’re committed to the program that we have and that we very so much value liberal arts,” she said.