More prospective students are applying to local colleges and universities

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Universities in the Shenandoah Valley are experiencing an increase in applicants and enrollment.

After many colleges have seen fewer applicants over the past two years due to COVID, this is not the case for the incoming class. As restrictions ease, incoming freshmen are ready for college classes.

James Madison University just had the largest pool of applicants in school history. This is largely due to joining the Common Application, a platform used to help students easily apply to colleges across the country.

However, JMU is not the only school with record numbers. Mary Baldwin University just had its highest enrollment rate yet.

“In fall 2021, last fall, Mary Baldwin had record enrollment for the entire university, both undergraduate and graduate residency and online, so you know we have definitely seen a shift in enrollment lately, especially with the residential undergraduate population,” said Matthew Munsey, Vice President of Enrollment Management at Mary Baldwin.

Other schools in the Shenandoah Valley are seeing the same positive trends.

According to Bridgewater College, there were 23% more applicants this year, while Eastern Mennonite University saw an increase in the number of students accepted.

As students return to classrooms, many have found solace at community college amid the pandemic.

Natasha Butler, outreach and enrollment services coordinator at Blue Ridge Community College, said the school has seen an increase in applicants for the first time in a few years due to COVID.

“While most didn’t go over four years, this was our first full spring 22 of increases, so we’re hoping enrollment will continue through the summer and fall,” Butler said.

While it’s still too early to tell if these increases are due to declining COVID numbers, it looks like some students and faculty are ready to return to class.

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