Record Enrollment at The Master's College
Enrollment at The Master's College, which jumped nearly 15 percent in two years, has reached a record high.
Heading into the 2011-2012 academic year, the number of traditional (18-24 year-old) students attending the Christian liberal arts college stands at 1017, eclipsing the former high of 1003, reached in 2001-2002.
Hollie Gorsh. The Master's College's Director of Admissions, credits several factors. Some are economic, she says, but most stem from a more deliberate approach to recruit and retain students.
"Over the last couple of years we've increased our inquiry base - the number of prospective students we communicate with," Gorsh said. "In the fall of 2008, our inquiry pool was about 11,000. This fall it was 17,000. As we work with more students, the numbers increase across the board."
In the five academic years from 2005-2006 to 2009-2010, the school averaged 319 incoming students. Last year, new students increased to 372. For this year there are 371.
"We started working with high school students earlier, when they're sophomores and juniors" Gorsh said. "That gives us more time to bring them on campus, for them to see what Master's has to offer."
According to Gorsh, private Christian colleges such as Master's are seeing divergent trends. In the Midwest, such schools are sustaining or are under enrollment, while private Christian colleges in Southern California are exceeding enrollment.
In Southern California, that trend may be the result of factors such as increased tuition at state schools and the difficulty many students face trying to squeeze into classes offered at overcrowded community colleges.
The Master's College executive vice president Mark Tatlock believes another factor is also at work.
"Our graduates are now sending their children here," he said. "It's taken 25 years to create that constituency and now it's beginning to reproduce itself. That, along with an effective enrollment strategy that reflects and a more sophisticated, more personal approach, is making a huge impact."
Enrollment has swelled to such an extent that there are only nine empty beds on campus, Gorsh said. Campus officials are weighing options on how to accommodate the rising tide of students on its campus in Placerita Canyon in Newhall, Calif.
In October, the school will officially christen a new campus welcome center and an extension to its library. Dr. Tatlock expects both facilities to see a lot of use moving forward.
"The Master's College isn't driven by a secular definition of success," he said. "It's great to look at the numbers, but they serve a greater goal. What drives us is a desire to prepare a young man or a young woman to stand for the truth and to use his or her vocational platform to advance the Kingdom of God."
Article by Bob Dickson