Freshman enrollment drops, but GPA rises


Lindenwood University entrance off of First Capitol Drive.
Photo by Kelby Lorenz

statsLindenwood’s freshman class is not as large as previous years, but it is being touted as one of the school’s best classes ever by academic standards.

The class of 2020 is able to boast a cumulative GPA of 3.38 and an average ACT score of 24, well above the national average for colleges and universities, according to Joseph Parisi, the vice president of enrollment management.

For perspective, last year’s freshman class entered Lindenwood with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 and an average ACT score of 23.2. The fact that the university was able to improve its numbers so rapidly is something that Parisi said he is proud of.

“This is a record, banner year for us academically,” Parisi said. “To move the needle from a 3.2 and a 23.2 is very difficult. When you get to that level, and the amount of students that we bring in every year, it is very hard to do that.”

According to the national ACT website, the average ACT score nationwide in 2015 was a 21.0, a full three points lower than Lindenwood’s average. In fact, Lindenwood’s average ACT is higher than the averages in 47 of the 50 states, including Missouri, which averaged a 21.7.

Parisi said that even though the freshman class saw a decrease in numbers to 711 from 779 heading into this school year, he considers it a success because the school was able to remain stable while seeing an increase in its academic standards.

He said that various schools, both locally and nationally, are easing or eliminating their miniimum GPA and standardized test requirements as a way of increasing their enrollment.

“At a time when others are finding ways to increase enrollment wthrough eliminating roadblocks, we are increasing our academic averages,” Parisi said.

He stressed that it is important for the university to be able to continue to market its high academic quality to students, especially in today’s competitive college environment.

“In all my time of being in admissions work, I’ve never seen a more competitive marketplace as I see today,” Parisi said

He said that the average student chooses between four and six schools during his or her college selection process, and that it is Lindenwood’s job to continue to differentiate itself by its quality of students.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”Joseph Parisi” link=”” color=”#0265a7″ class=”” size=”30″]“This is a record, banner year for us academically.”[/perfectpullquote]

As the school continues to make its quality of students the priority, it has begun to focus heavily on the community college level as way of attracting transfer students, something that has recently begun to pay off in a big way.

This year, Lindenwood saw an influx of 468 new transfer students, an increase from the 348 the university brought in a year ago.

He said that the school has doubled its effort in terms of attending college fairs, as well as attending as many college nights as it can and even buying advertisements in the student newspaper at St. Louis Community College.

“We have really put a lot of effort into that,” Parisi said. “I think we are seeing the fruits of our labor from spending time cultivating and developing our relationships from the community college level.”