With the start of the 2021 Fall semester in full swing, campus is noticeably busier and more lively than it has been in months. Not only is this due to less restrictive COVID-19 policies and increased in-person classes, but there has also been an increase in enrollment numbers in the Class of 2025.
On June 9, 2021, DePauw University announced the new Vice President of Enrollment Management, Mary Beth Petrie. Going into the school year, Petrie wants to build on the momentum that brought in the Class of 2025 and aim for an even bigger first year class next year.
Petrie began her new role on August 1, 2021, after serving as dean of admissions at Lawrence University in Wisconsin.
Petrie is originally from central Indiana and has always been familiar with DePauw University. “DePauw was the institution that I wanted to return home to, so I’m very excited,” Petrie said. “I believe very strongly in liberal arts education and what it can do for students and what it can do for the world. I think that liberal arts students are the ones who are going to be the changemakers in the world.”
This year, the Class of 2025 is significantly bigger than the Class of 2024. However, the final numbers won’t be determined until Census Day, according to Petrie. Regardless, there has been an increase in both in-state and international students. One reason for the larger first-year class could be the efforts from the admissions team to individualize prospective students’ experience on campus.
According to Amanda Ryan, assistant vice president of admissions, DePauw was one of the few schools to keep in-person tours during the pandemic last spring. The in-person tours helped first-years significantly with their decision to attend DePauw this year.
Last year, due to COVID-19, in-person tours went from two to three families of prospective students, sometimes up to five, to much smaller, sometimes only one family/one prospective student. Sophomore and tour guide Lauren Paque said this allowed for a more individualized experience when prospective students visited campus. “[Smaller tour groups] really allowed current students and prospective students to bond and I think in the long run it is helping to increase enrollment,” Paque said.
Current first-year Ashley Baldwin said she visited in the fall of 2020 with one other prospective student. “It helped a ton with my decision because I didn’t know much about DePauw at first. The tour was really thorough and I learned a lot,” Baldwin said.