This fall, Penn State University Park is preparing to bring in its second-largest undergraduate freshmen class on record.
Penn State admits even more freshmen
by Jessica Beard
This fall, Penn State University Park is preparing to bring in its second-largest undergraduate freshmen class on record. To put the numbers in perspective, it will admit about as many students as all of the 19 branch campuses combined.
“We expect to welcome a first-year class of about 7,600 to University Park,” Anne Rohrbach, Executive Director for Undergraduate Admissions said.
Though final enrollment numbers won’t be available until October, some numbers are already in the books. With first-year undergraduate application and admission rates at an all-time high, Penn State students are facing the national trends of isolation in larger-than-ever classrooms and overcrowding in scarcer-than-ever housing.
“First-year baccalaureate applications for University Park is at a record high,” Rohrbach said. “University Park received 4 percent more applications from first-year students for Summer/Fall 2012 compared to 2011. Penn State received almost 78,000 undergraduate applications, which is over 2 percent more compared to last year at this time.”
According to Rohrbach, University Park’s 2016 class is about 55 percent Pennsylvania students.
“Commonwealth campuses as an aggregate of 19 campuses enroll 77 percent of their first-year class from Pennsylvania,” Rohrbach added.
Jennifer Garvin, Director of Ancillary Services at Housing and Food Services in University Park, says that Housing Services will have to make do with current campus housing.
“No new buildings...not until next fall!” Garvin said. “Plus, we have two buildings offline for the renovation.”
As of 2010, 37 percent of University Park students lived in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 63 percent of students lived off campus.
“To accommodate the freshmen, we increased capacity in certain rooms [and] are using every available space that is possible,” Garvin said. “We did have some ground floor lounges planned to be used, but were able to avoid that space.”
In 2009, two Penn State students posted a YouTube video called “The Real Fake Supplemental World.” Juniors Brad and Rebecca (“Chuck” and “Juicy;” no last names given) open the video with, “This is the true story of eight strangers forced to live in one loft and not even have their lives taped. This is the true story of supplemental housing at Penn State.”
Brad said that in the lounge, “All Rebecca has is a bed, a dresser and a desk. She doesn’t even have a closet.”
“It’s really, really awful,” Rebecca said. “I don’t have real walls because it’s a lobby.”
Rebecca said she “got stuck there” through Penn State housing’s lottery system.
“I didn’t get drawn the first time or the second time and when I got drawn the third time, I got supplemental housing,” Rebecca said. “I don’t know the people I’m living with, but I don’t want to catch anything.”
The joke-filled expose, shot in the dorm room of an unspecified Penn State building, predates the official promotional “Supplemental Housing” videos which the Penn State: Auxiliary & Business Services Marketing team shot for its official YouTube channel this May.
“When you live in apartments, they say, ‘We’re gonna cram eight people into two bedrooms,’” mother of transferring junior Jonathan Quinn said. “Oh, that sounds like fun. It’s just crazy.”
“RAs also have roommates, where feasible,” Garvin said. “So students are definitely crowded in, but we are anticipating cancellations that will give us some flexibility of relocating students around.”
Jason Nevinger, President of the Pennsylvania Association of College Admission Counseling (PACAC), says that statewide, the related “yield” factor of admissions---the percentage of admitted applicants who ultimately enroll---has become more difficult for admissions offices to project.
“You have to look at all of those applicants and then project through, ‘Okay, how many should we admit?’” Nevinger said. “And I think what you find over the last few years is that the predictability of what that yie