Posted by Tera Johnson
The Class of 2014 is the largest class in the college's history. Of the 731 first year students living on campus, 591 of them are living in triples.
Those students have received compensation from the Office of Residential Life. In addition to the newly refurbished resident halls, students living in triples will also receive 500 dollars per semester.
The admissions staff did not anticipate such a large first year class based on previous trends. For the past three years, the percentage of students who chose to attend Skidmore annually decreased by one percent.
"When you're thinking about enrolling a class, it's more art than science," said Rochelle Calhoun, dean of Student Affairs. "You are trying to admit students based on your history and way students have behaved in terms of enrollment. This year's yield went against the economic climate and the history of previous years" Calhoun said unexpectedly, the yield of student enrollment increased four percent.
The college is taking steps to minimize the effects of over enrollment. "We've been able to de-triple several students by offering upperclassmen incentives to move off campus. About 30 have taken up the offer. There have also been fewer triples through leave of absences and no shows," said Don Hastings. associate dean of Student Affairs.
The administration has also refurbished all of the study rooms in the residence halls to accommodate the larger student population. Additionally a game room has replaced the faculty lounge in Case Center to promote a sense community throughout the student body.
"In anticipating such a big class, we wanted to create gathering spaces both for quiet study and community outside of the residence halls. We really try to be attentive to making the in-residences as comfortable as possible," Calhoun said.
Although the college is adapting to the increase in population, it has no intention of changing its reputation of being a small liberal arts college. The college's intimacy has remained important to students and faculty alike.
"We tried hard to preserve the integrity of the educational experience in both academics and co-curricular activites. Academic Affairs did a great job in anticipating pressures in terms of enrolling classes, really working with departments and staff in such a way that students get the classes they want," Calhoun said.
The admissions office plans to be conservative when enrolling the next generation of students by acknowledging the fact that classes are in need of balancing. This year the maximum class enrollment has only increased by one student.
Despite the student population increase, many have yet to feel its effect.
"I think my class sizes are perfect. There are only 15 people in my Scribner Seminar and I am able to participate and feel comfortable" said Sam Cochrane '14'.
Furthermore, it is projected that once the Class of 2011 graduates there will be more room on campus for students. The Class of 2011 was the largest class before the Class of 2014. Recalibrating the housing situation will be much less demanding after graduation when space clears.
Until then, the majority of the Class of 2014 will remain in triples. Although the housing situation was not initially received well by most first year students, many have grown accustomed to the living arrangements.
"Initially, I didn't like the idea of being in a triple, but now that I've met my roommates I don't mind it. We all have similar habits and get along well. It's also nice to have an extra friend around," Elizabeth Cohen '14 said
"From this point forward you are going to find yourself living in community. You are going to find yourself negotiating how you live productively with other people for the rest of your life. It's simply one of life's lessons," Calhoun said.