Zach Maher

From a general perspective, increased applicant demand shows strength in what the consumer believes Cal Poly gives them, Associate Vice Provost for Marketing and Enrollment Jim Maraviglia said.

Suha Saya

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Cal Poly may now be on par with the University of California system as a highly selective public university.

With its record-breaking number of more than 52,000 applicants, Cal Poly’s reputation has risen and competition has heightened, Associate Vice Provost for Marketing and Enrollment Jim Maraviglia said.

“This increase in applications in no way has a negative impact,” Maraviglia said. “It just makes the admission process more selective.”

This year, almost 25 percent of first-time freshmen exclusively applied to Cal Poly out of the California State University system.

“That shows competition,” he said. “We’re no longer competing with the CSUs, we’re up to UC level.”

From a general perspective, Maraviglia said, increased applicant demand shows strength in what the consumer believes Cal Poly gives them.

Over the past decade, Cal Poly has been trying to enhance the overall applicant pool quality through targeted marketing. Maraviglia said he believes they’ve accomplished it.

“What you see with these numbers is tremendous strength increases in the applicant pool,” he said. “If you look at performance indicators, they’re all up.”

While Cal Poly did see an overall applicant increase, applicant pool numbers declined in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Maraviglia said.

“We declined roughly 10 percent,” Dean of Architecture and Environmental Design Christine Theodoropoulos said. “One reason may be because we did not recruit vigorously in past years.”

Because programs like architecture and architectural engineering were so heavily impacted in the past, the college decided to become smaller and reduce recruitment, she said.

“We’ve had kind of a silent phase in terms of outreach and recruiting, but we’re about to change that,” Theodoropoulos said. “Now we’re discovering ways we can accommodate students … but it does take a year or two of recruiting before you start seeing results.”

In 2013, Cal Poly enrolled a total number of 5,818 freshman and transfer students for fall quarter. In Fall 2014, Cal Poly plans to enroll approximately 5,600 students.

The enrollment process, Maraviglia said, always starts with continuing students.

“For one, you have to predict who’s going to graduate, you have to predict who’s going to be retained and you’re going to have to predict who’s going to leave,” he said.

New students are only a part of the picture.

“If the campus increases graduation rates quickly, you can have more new students,” Maraviglia said. “When the chancellor gives us growth and more funds — which he did do this year — it impacts the overall number.”

Maraviglia said he doesn’t think there will be cuts in funding because of the number of enrollees for next year.

“I believe the provost and the president have addressed enrollment very positively,” he said. “They’re not trying to cut, but instead they’re trying to find ways to reward and provide additional resources — especially faculty and staff — to students.”

Cem Sunata, the university registrar, said there shouldn’t be many problems in registration when it comes to enrollment numbers.

“In terms of block scheduling first time freshman in, we’ll do whatever is necessary to get the classes that those students need,” Sunata said.

Since continuing students don’t necessarily need classes that first-time freshman take, competition with currently enrolled and newly enrolled students shouldn’t occur, he said.

“The continuing students class availability is going to be much more improved with the introduction of PolyPlanner because they’ll be able to tell us the courses they need,” Sunata said. “As long as they plan and try to stick to that as much as possible and let us know what their demand is going to be, we can react to that.”

Once the different colleges see the need for incoming freshman, they can better articulate how they are going to meet the needs of continuing students, Sunata said.

“That’s something that’s getting better every year because we’re all learning from the past,” he said, “But overall, this increase simply shows that people are interested in joining our community.”

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