Chapman received 14,170 freshman applicants this year, the largest number of applications in its history. The Office of Admissions plans to send out acceptances to 7,551 applicants, with the goal of enrolling 1,650 students. This increase comes nearly a year after Chapman had a higher-than-expected freshman student enrollment count by 1.2 percent, leading to Chapman’s largest freshman class.
This means that Chapman has a 53.3 percent acceptance rate for the class of 2022, only a slight decrease from the last recorded acceptance rate for the class of 2020, at 54 percent.
Mike Pelly, the vice chancellor for enrollment management, said that last year’s enrollment goal was supposed to be around 1,600 students. Because of the unexpected increase in enrollment last fall, the Office of Admissions plans to decrease next year’s acceptances by 3 percent to rebalance total student enrollment.
“Our goal is long-term, steady, moderate growth,” Pelly said. “(Without miscalculations like last year), this is measured as a 2 percent (increase) in the freshman class (per year).”
Pelly said the 2018-19 freshman class goal is 3 percent smaller than this year’s, and the class of 2023 will be 1 percent smaller.
After those two years of decreased enrollment, the admissions team plans to return to its 2 percent increase per year.
Pelly said that Chapman intends to expand its Irvine Rinker Campus in the future to reduce the amount of students on main campus. As outlined in Chapman’s new five-year strategic plan, some graduate student programs may be brought to the Irvine campus to help decrease student presence in Orange.
Despite this, some Chapman students and Orange residents remain concerned about the increasing size of the student body. Cayton Coburn, a sophomore vocal performance major, said she is worried about the negative effects a larger Chapman population may have on the surrounding city.
“I feel like Chapman is a perfect size right now,” Coburn said. “An increase in Chapman students could make the town lose its ‘small’ feel and drive out residents.”
The long-term plan is still to steadily increase the freshman class by 2 percent each year, but Pelly said that the university plans to accept fewer freshman students for the class of 2022 than it enrolled last year with the class of 2021.
“A larger applicant pool doesn’t mean we enroll more students, it allows us to be more selective in who we admit, which ultimately improves our reputation,” he said. “What’s more important is the quality of the students we enroll.”
Pelly also said that an increase in student body population will not cause a problem for residents, since new and expanding programs have been moved over to the Irvine campus, and additional residential housing is offered to students to alleviate the number of freshmen renting near Chapman.
When it opens this fall, the Chapman Grand property in Anaheim, which the university bought in fall 2017 for $150 million, will accommodate 900 students.