As the Spring 2021 semester begins to wind down, DePauw University is looking toward the Fall semester of 2021 and welcoming the Class of 2025.
Although it was an unusual year with COVID-19 and the Class of 2024 was small in numbers in part due to the pandemic—only a total of 382 enrolled first-year students compared to 423 the year before in 2019—on May 1, DePauw officially received 538 deposits for the Class of 2025.
However, that number could change over the course of the summer. Some students might get off the waitlist at other schools and international students might not be allowed into the United States again due to the pandemic.
Terry Cowdrey, interim vice president for enrollment management, says that she expects DePauw to end up with a total of 475 first-year students come fall 2021.
Although the number of currently enrolled first-year students is up compared to the past few years, there were still many hurdles throughout the recruitment process.
“The single biggest challenge was not being able to have large events on campus because it has been the case in the past where DePauw has drawn quite a number of students from admitted student open houses or other big events,” Cowdrey said.
Despite the challenges, the numbers from the Class of 2025 are the highest that they have been since 2018 at DePauw. There are 82 legacy students, 92 first-generation students, 108 international students, which is the highest it has ever been, and 189 athletic recruits, which is the highest in at least six years.
There are also 95 U.S. students of color, which is also the highest since 2018.
“One of the really exciting things from our perspective is both the high school GPA average and the average test score are up,” Cowdrey said. “So the high school GPA average is a 3.91, which is up from a 3.8, last year, and the SAT average is 1301 up from 1230 last year, and both those years we were optional.”
Some challenges, like not being able to give tours to 15 people at a time, have actually turned out to benefit the prospective students more. COVID-19 has allowed for tours to be more personalized, according to tour guide and senior Vincent Luciano.
“COVID-19 has helped us there because we've been able to make these tours really personalized where I can have time with the student, I can ask them what they're interested in what they want in their college experience what majors what, you know what activities you want to do and I can personalize that too,” Luciano said.
The spike in the number of first-year students in the Class of 2025 can be attributed to a lot of different factors but, due to numerous reviews, the campus tours led by students are what stood out to prospective families.
“And I think part of it could be attributed to those personal tours. The reviews we're getting on them are just absolutely phenomenal,” Luciano said. “I read through different tour guide reviews and I read through my own reviews and parents and students are really enjoying these tours, they feel connected.”
Numerous professors sent emails showing gratitude to the entire admissions staff as well for their efforts in the recruitment process in unprecedented times.
“Thank you for forging a pathway for the Class of 2025 to study the liberal arts at DePauw. I know you have worked tirelessly on behalf of all of us, and I am grateful,” History professor David Gellman said.
“Terry, Amanda, and the Admissions team…thank you so much for your tireless work, your amazing dedication, and your steadfast perseverance in recruiting an outstanding class under such challenging conditions. You exemplify the best of DePauw, and we are fortunate and grateful to have you all as colleagues. Well done!” Geoscience professor Scott Wilkerson said.
As DePauw begins to prepare for the Fall 2021 semester, Cowdrey’s advice to upperclassmen is to pay attention to this incoming first-year class.
“I think they are going to add to DePauw in all kinds of ways so I really hope that as a senior, your path will cross somewhat with some of these first years,” Cowdrey said. “They're great kids coming like they're just really interesting people and smart people who are coming and I think are going to just add to DePauw in all kinds of ways.”