The University of Mississippi: Growing and Adapting, Are You Ready?

Ole Miss is attracting record-breaking freshman class sizes and shows no signs of slowing down. This growth has been going on for 19 years straight, giving Ole Miss the highest enrollment in the state of Mississippi.

While college admission nationally is declining, Ole Miss admission is experiencing quite the opposite trend here in Oxford, Miss. The fall of 2013 brought the largest freshman class that Ole Miss has ever seen, with an enrollment of 22,300 students. This is a 3.5 percent rise in enrollment and 7 percent increase on campus. According to the United States Census Bureau college enrollment in the fall of 2012 fell by half a million from the previous year.

This makes for the largest freshman class in Mississippi history, with higher ACT scores and student retention, according to University of Mississippi News.

The university is already making changes in order to accommodate this influx of students COMMA especially regarding student on campus housing. “Due to the growth of our incoming class, we will only be able to offer housing to a limited number of our returning students,” said a University of Mississippi Department of Housing document.

This is news to current freshmen girls who were expecting to live in Crosby dorm, which is primarily a sophomore girl’s dorm with the exception of the 5th floor being freshmen girls. “Not only is this inconvenient, having to drive to campus everyday for class next year, I also feel unwanted,” said Hallie Knotts, a freshman Intergrated Marketing Communications major.

Even though the chances are slim, if you are lucky the department of housing is offering very limited spaces in the Campus Walk apartment complex or the residential colleges to returning freshman with two semester’s worth of completed on campus residency, sophomores, and upperclassmen.

Ole Miss can credit many things to the growing population of incoming students: Perhaps, the campus being named the most beautiful by the Princeton Review, Oxford being ranked the 2nd best college town by Livability.com and Forbes naming Ole Miss No.18 on their list of best value colleges. Also there are the nationally ranked academic programs, like the School of Accountancy ranked in the top 10 in the United States, and the variety of majors that the university provides.

Senior Journalism major Olivia Rearick likes to think of her graduating class as “The Blind Side year” in that they were the first freshman class after the movie debuted. Just like the movie debuted big so did her class. “At the time our freshman class was a record breaker. However, each year the freshman class is only getting bigger,” said Rearick.

Unlike Rearick, who is about to finish her college career, the new freshman rebels will start theirs with orientation this summer. The university has even added another orientation date at the end of June and beginning of July for this record-breaking class. What may seem like a daunting task to most; making thousands of freshman familiar with campus is exciting to the orientation leaders of Ole Miss who get to greet them first. “The orientation leaders are just excited to have more incoming students and meet and introduce all the new faces to the legacy of Ole Miss,” said junior orientation leader and Anthropology major, Grace Meyers.

Ambassadors of the university take freshman on campus tours and get to see first hand who Ole Miss is attracting among high school students. “There are definitely a wide variety of geographic regions represented from Virginia to California,” said Paige Gremillion, a senior Political Science major who was an ambassador her junior year. Gremillion believes it is the price of out of state tuition that attracts students from out of state, which is lower than other public universities, at around $33,000 for a non-resident full time undergraduate student.

Chancellor Dan Jones believes that it is all these great things together that make Ole Miss a great choice for college. According to University of Mississippi News, “High school students and parents across Mississippi and throughout America are evaluating universities more closely than ever, and they’re focusing on four attributes: nationally-recognized academic excellence – which translates into a diploma that will be recognized and valued everywhere – exciting careers after graduation, a competitive price and a collegiate experience they’ll treasure for a lifetime,” said Chancellor Dan Jones.

Rearick would also agree that her college experience here at Ole Miss was one of a kind and what she loves about Ole Miss is the family feeling you feel around campus. “You are not a statistic or student ID number like at other schools. You are supported, encouraged, and recognized for your worth to the university,” said Rearick.

Ole Miss is sure to accept yet another record-breaking freshman class this Fall. Welcome, Class of 2018.

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