Temple experiences rise in undergraduate applications

The university is developing a program to invite students near campus to Main Campus tours.

Main Campus experienced a 9 percent increase in undergraduate applications from students of color and a 3 percent increase in students from Philadelphia for the Fall 2022 semester. | NOEL CHACKO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

More than 38,000 students applied to Temple University for the Fall 2022 semester — a 5 percent increase from this time last year — amid efforts to increase recruitment for out-of-state students, students of color and students from Philadelphia high schools. 

Main Campus experienced a 35 percent increase in applications from international students, a 24 percent increase from first-generation students, a 9 percent increase from students of color, according to a university press release. Additionally, there was a 3 percent increase in students from Philadelphia. 

The university also saw a rise in applications from parts of the country where Temple is “aggressively recruiting” out-of-state students, like Florida, Texas, California or North Carolina, said Shawn Abbott, vice provost for admissions, financial aid and enrollment. 

Temple had not previously invested any recruitment efforts in those states but chose to hire admissions officers from those areas because they expected an increase in the number of high school graduates, Abbott said.

Abbott said students who don’t live near Philadelphia may feel more comfortable applying to Temple and traveling to Main Campus as COVID-19 cases and positivity rates decrease in the United States. He also sees urban universities become popular among high school students. 

Urban universities can make it easier for college students to meet other students and are more accessible for commuter students to travel to school using public transit, according to Intelligent, an education blog.

To improve outreach to students of color, Temple piloted a program where it hosted a group of Black high school students from St. Louis, Missouri, and gave them a tour of campus.

The proportion of Black students within Temple’s student body has declined throughout the past few decades, decreasing from 27 percent in 1995 to 14 percent in 2021, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Students of color currently comprised 55 percent of Temple’s applicant pool for the Fall 2022 semester, according to the press release. The university doesn’t have final enrollment figures because accepted applicants have until May 1 to commit to Temple. 

Temple received 3,902 applications from students in Philadelphia, which is 99 more than last year, Abbott said. 

Antonio Romero, associate director for diversity initiatives and community relations, and Courtney Bradshaw, assistant director for diversity initiatives and community relations, are working to build relationships with counselors in the School District of Philadelphia. 

Romero used his background in education and community development to make personal connections with local high schools. 

Courtney Bradshaw (left), assistant director for diversity initiatives and community relations and Antonio Romero, associate director for diversity initiatives and community relations, discuss their recruitment and outreach efforts at Conwell Hall on Mar. 18th. | ISAAC SCHEIN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

“I have a more intimate knowledge of the city and what people are looking for,” Romero said. “And in general, I think it’s just a humanistic view. People want to be seen, they want to be heard, they want to have that connection.” 

Romero and Bradshaw are pushing scholarship opportunities, like the Cecil B. Moore Scholars program, to the 90 Philadelphia schools they visited this year. They’re also meeting with the School District of Philadelphia’s College & Career Readiness Program to discuss course offerings, like options for high school students to take classes for college credit through Temple’s pre-college program. 

Additionally, Romero and Bradshaw are in the beginning stages of developing a program to invite students within the eight ZIP codes surrounding Main Campus to tour the university. 

In addition to recruitment strategies, Temple revived Experience Temple Day this year, an event for admitted students, after a two-year absence, Abbott said. Temple has hosted three Experience Temple Days for prospective students and families so far, with roughly 4,100 people in attendance. The university plans to host two more, hoping for more than 2,000 attendees at each, and is continuing to offer virtual admissions programming. 

“It’s been an absolute joy to be able to bring Experience Temple Day, which I think is a really revered tradition on campus,” Abbott said.

Lilly Werling, a high school senior from Pittsburgh attended Experience Temple Day on March 12 and was excited to learn Temple’s journalism major is one of three accredited programs in the state. She committed to Temple in January, but learning more about the program reaffirmed her decision. 

“I love the campus, I love all the people there, was so exciting,” Werling said.

Temple extended its application deadline to March 18 to provide high school students with more time to apply as they try to return to normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Abbott said. 

The university has not yet expanded any scholarship opportunities and does not expect to lower its acceptance rate. 

“For those of us in Philadelphia, it’s exciting to think that more students are thinking about coming to Philadelphia and coming to the United States for their education,” Abbott said.

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