Large freshman class raises questions of Mac's capacity

By Sara Staszak

Macalester continues to grow.With the start of the new school year, roughly 542 new faces have arrived on campus-515 freshmen and 27 transfer students.

While the class of 2013 is still the largest with 565 members, the freshmen group is still larger than usual, continuing with what seems to be a trend of large incoming classes.

Macalester has seen an increase in admitted students who opted to come to the school-this year’s class had a yield rate of 28%, higher than previous classes. Additionally, 95% of the sophomore class returned this year.

The increasing size of the classes will likely have ramifications on the school as a whole. A report issued last year by Macalester’s Resources and Planning Committee explored the challenges that an expanded student body could pose to Macalester as an institution, namely a change in atmosphere, a need for more professors, and a need for more student housing.

The school already had to make special accommodations last year for the large incoming class, including transforming some common spaces into dorm rooms.

Associate Director of Admissions Jeff Allen points to new buildings on campus, financial aid increases, and the relative financial stability of Macalester as a few factors that may be responsible for such large classes.

The Class of 2014 is also the first class to have received the newly redesigned recruitment mailings.

“It is our sense, having read applications that reference the publications, that they certainly impacted students in the sense of initial interest to Macalester,” Allen said.

Additionally, over eighty percent of the freshman class made a visit to campus prior to deciding.

“When I visited Macalester I was very torn about whether I should come here or somewhere else,” said Jake Waxman ’14. “But on my second visit I really got a feel for both the college academically and the student body as a social group and I liked both.”

The class of 2014 has students from forty-two states, and there are about thirty more domestic students of color in the grade than the five-year average, according to data from the admissions office.

Sixty freshmen are international students, and another sixteen percent of the class spent at least six months outside of the United States before enrolling.