Temple University received more than 37,000 students applications for admission this year, which reversed a two-year trend of decreasing applications to the university.
In previous years, Temple received a total of 36,069 applications for 2019 and 35,281 applications for 2020, wrote Shawn Abbott, vice provost for admissions, financial aid and enrollment management, in an email to The Temple News.
“We interpreted [the increase] to be a sign that students continue to want to be in an urban environment for their collegiate experience,” Abbott said.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted what universities could do to increase prospective students’ interest, but Temple’s decision to staff virtual college recruiting events and reopen campus tours earlier than other colleges contributed to the increase in applicants, Abbott said.
“We were largely prohibited from having any kind of campus experiences in the form of campus tours and open houses and special events, and we were largely if not entirely prohibited from from visiting high schools, covering college fairs, hosting receptions around the United States and around the world,” Abbott said.
Instead, Temple recruited students at virtual college fairs, Abbott added.
“You name it, whatever we traditionally did live and in person or off campus, we hosted in a virtual way,” Abbott added.
With the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting higher education, many colleges made the decision to waive their requirement for students to include test scores in their applications for Fall 2021 admission, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Temple, which was already a test-optional university, saw a three to four percent increase in applicants for Fall 2021 admission as the deadline approached, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The deadline for admission to Temple for Fall 2021 closed on March 1 for regular decision applicants, an extension from the usual Feb. 1 deadline.
Madisyn Hayes, an incoming criminal justice freshman for Fall 2021, said one of the main reasons she decided to commit to Temple was because she loved the diversity at the university, the city and felt the university had a lot to offer to students.
“Being on campus makes you feel at home,” she said. “The events also definitely attracted me more to Temple because a lot of other schools didn’t have that.”
Temple began giving prospective students campus tours in mid-March earlier than other universities, which waited until April, Abbott said.
Alli Beaumont, an out-of-state incoming freshman undeclared major, said her tour of Temple greatly impacted her decision to enroll at the university.
“The guide was really nice and really sold the school,” Beaumont said. “The tour made me feel confident and wanted at Temple.”
A 15 percent increase in out-of-state applicants accounted for a majority of the overall increase in applications to Temple this year, while the number of international applicants decreased, Abbott said.
“We were expecting, based on just issues of affordability, to have an increase in students that applied from the state of Pennsylvania, but our actual application increase was largely centered among non-Pennsylvania residents,” Abbott added.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions plans to continue offering a large variety of virtual programming to students in the future in addition to regular tours and events, Abbott said.
“The reality is that our admission officers can cast a much wider national geographic reach with virtual programming, so while we’ll always want to go back to visiting schools and covering college fairs in person, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t compliment that with a really robust slate of virtual programs to reach students,” he added.