Denison Admission Most Selective in College History

Posted: March 19, 2018
Students walking on the academic quad

GRANVILLE, Ohio— Denison University reports that the number of students who applied to the college has increased — for the fourth consecutive year. Applications to the college have increased 64 percent over the past four years. From a record-breaking pool of more than 8,000 applications, Denison has offered admission to 2,700 students, resulting in the most selective year in Denison’s history, with an admission rate of 34 percent.

As applications increase, the academic performance of those admitted also has continued to increase. More than two-thirds of the students admitted to Denison this year rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class or have a high school GPA above 4.00. Multicultural students form 36 percent of the admitted students. In addition, 20 percent are the first in their family to go to college, and 20 percent are eligible for Pell Grants, representing the lowest income families in the country.

How did Denison increase both the number and quality of admitted students in a shrinking demographic?

Vice President for Enrollment Management Greg Sneed says this is a result of Denison’s commitment to reframing the liberal arts with a pragmatic orientation.

“We’re in the third year of implementing Denison’s strategic plan, which emphasizes academic innovation, exceptional support of our career exploration program, and meaningful mentorship of our students by faculty members, staff members, and coaches,” said Sneed. “Denison also has a built-in advantage: we are next door to Columbus, a Forbes #1 Opportunity City and home to a thriving global business community. This means great opportunities for internships, externships, and networks for our students.”

How can the liberal arts prepare college students for successful lives?

Denison’s transformative college education gives students the skills, values, habits, networks, and experiences needed to launch into successful lives in any field — business, finance, communications, medicine, law, the arts and more. We are building on the liberal arts tradition, bringing depth and breadth of knowledge into innovative academic programs in Global Commerce; Data Analytics; Health, Exercise and Sport Studies; Financial Economics; and Narrative Nonfiction Writing. These programs give our students the ability to combine knowledge in new ways that harness the power of the liberal arts curriculum to unlock the potential of our students.

Why are career centers so important for college students?

In the 21st century, college career centers should help students land their first job, and prepare them for their second, third, and fourth positions, as well. Denison’s Knowlton Center for Career Exploration collaborates with our students to start thinking about their lives after graduation as early as their first year on campus.

The Knowlton Center team works with faculty members across the entire campus to help Denison students answer three pivotal questions:

  • What kind of life do I want to lead?
  • How do careers and professions fit into those lives?
  • How do I use my time in college to develop the skills, values, habits, experiences and networks to get started?

Denison’s Knowlton Center advises students both one-on-one and through small-group workshops, provides profession-specific skills via 60 online modules, and links with Denison’s extensive alumni network to connect students to internships and jobs. And the success of our alumni is something we are proud to share: five years after graduation, 95 percent of alumni are in their desired field, or on their way to achieving what they hope to accomplish professionally.

What is the importance of mentorship in college?

A great college experience starts with student-faculty relationships. Relationships are at the core of the Denison college experience. Our faculty members meet with students during office hours and over meals. Denison coaches have created a program specifically geared to help student-athletes develop their full potential as athletes and leaders. And Denison staff members become mentors and friends with students through on-campus employment and co-curricular programs. This is not as common as you might imagine. A Gallup poll reports only 22 percent of college students had a "mentor who encouraged me to pursue my goals and dreams.” At Denison, 92 percent of alumni report having close relationships with members of the faculty and staff.

What are the advantages of urban opportunities for college students?

Denison is in a unique position. We are located in a small college town, yet only a 20-minute drive to Columbus, Ohio, the 14th largest city in the nation. This gives our students the best of both worlds, a safe and charming community, next door to great opportunities for internships, arts, learning, global networking and, of course, shopping and night-life. Denison students have starred in Columbus musicals, have interned with Columbus businesses, and have been able to conduct field research in Columbus. This kind of exposure to expanded opportunities in the metropolitan Columbus area, in conjunction with a friendly hometown campus, gives our students an edge as they launch into their professions.

“Denison is a terrific place for high-achieving students who want a challenging academic experience, are looking for close relationships with their mentors and peers, and who want to be prepared for a lifetime of professional success,” said Sneed. “Prospective students are seeing the work Denison is doing on these frontiers, and they are responding positively.”

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