Student Enrollment Exceeds Capacity

By Rebecca String
Elm Staff Writer

New faces on campus are something Washington College students are used to, but this year the amount of new students has made many people question exactly how much the campus has grown and what Washington College is doing to accommodate it.

According to Vice President of Admissions and Enrollment Management Kevin Coveney, the official freshman count for this year is 399 students.

“We had our largest applicant pool ever, 4,799 applications, and our lowest acceptance rate, 57 percent, in 20 plus years” said Coveney.

Even with this influx of applicants to WC, the total number of new students was not any higher than last year. When compared to the amount of students accepted last year, WC admitted 246 less students, dropping from 2,961 last year to 2,715. While these numbers show WC’s continuing popularity, it is hard to claim that this correlates with the increase in ranking that WC has seen.

“The conventional wisdom among admissions professionals is that ranking does not significantly influence application rates,” said Coveney.

Yet the school is still running at more than its maximum capacity. Larger rooms that once existed as doubles have transformed into triples and many of the lounges were also turned into dorm rooms.

Associate Dean of Students and Residential Life Director Carl Crowe said that the school has admitted a very large class and that “space is a real premium. We foresaw this and rented out Kent Crossing. There are 60 students that are living there right now.”

Kent Crossing is in a trial period. If everything continues to go well, WC will consider looking into acquiring more rooms for students. Crowe is slowly working with students to unpack the cramped rooms.

“The smaller the space, the higher up the room is on the list. It’s not an ideal situation by any means.”

As students begin to transfer out of WC, rooms start to open up for those students who are uncomfortable in their tight living quarters. While there has been some negative reaction from the students who live in small quarters, most seem willing to work with the situation.

According to Crowe, there is a discussion about a new residence hall that will take 3 1/2 years to build. The building will be placed adjacent to Chester and Sassafras and will be similar in design to that of Chester.

Housing for upperclassmen will remain a priority. They will never be forced to live off campus due to the lack of rooms.

Crowe said, “It is not a discussion we are having. We are obligated to house the upperclassmen.”

The students who are living in these conditions regard it as an experience.

Freshman Ashley Myles, who currently lives in what used to be a lounge on the third floor of Minta, said, “It’s not really that bad. It’s more stressful with more people, but we all get along. It’s a little more condensed and a pain to get up and down [from the lofted bed].”

Sophomore and Resident Assistant Zee Abu has not heard too many complaints from her girls, though she does notice that there is limited room to relax with friends.

“My girls don’t have anywhere to hang out. They go into the hallways to talk and do homework,” said Abu. Due to the limited amount of space, her first hall meeting was held in the hallway. Rather than having a convenient place to hold activities, Abu said, “We have to try to reserve the common room downstairs, but it limits what we can do.”

Freshmen James Cittadino and Aaron Taylor share one of Kent’s first floor lounges. Both admit that even though some of the girls share their lounges with three other students, having three or more guys in one room would be a very bad idea. With just the two of them it is not so bad. Even so, Cittadino said that with windows facing the inside of the buildings, the hallway lights tend to keep them awake.

Even with these troublesome living arrangements, students are making the best of their situation and making friends among their many roommates.

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