Sterling College has record enrollment

Monday, September 29, 2008

It’s a record-breaking year for Sterling College. A total of 654 students have enrolled at Sterling College this fall making this the largest enrollment in the College’s 121 year history. Sterling has 30 more students than the second highest recorded enrollment the fall of 1968.
This year also marks the third straight year for Sterling enrollment to top 600. This year’s total enrollment includes an increase of 11 full-time students over last fall and also includes 38 students through e.Sterling, the online division of the College as well as several dual-credit students from Sterling High School.
Sterling’s full-time equivalency number is 612, marking the first time that number has been over 600. The full-time equivalency is derived by totaling the number of credit hours for all part time students. The number of new students attending Sterling College for the first time this fall is just over 200. Retention among students returning to Sterling this fall has increased 15% over last year.
“There is a definite excitement all over campus,” says President Bruce Douglas. “All of the efforts of our faculty and staff as well as alumni and friends have really paid off this year. Why wouldn’t students want to come to Sterling with the dedicated faculty, our Christ-centered mission and the commitment we have to strengthening programs?”
“Three years of enrollment above 600 means we are definitely turning the corner,” says Vice President for Enrollment Dennis Dutton. “Dr. Douglas’ time at Sterling has marked a renaissance for the College. Since he joined us, every single academic department and most extra-curricular programs have been strengthened in some way – people, program, facilities.”
Sterling has traditionally had a strong appeal for student athletes. Now the coaches’ efforts to attract students to their programs has been supplemented with faculty involvement. “In three years we have seen 160% increase in the number of students coming to Sterling to pursue something other than athletics,” says Dutton.
Many of Sterling’s academic programs have seen substantial growth in enrollment over the last three years. “Our arts programs: Art and Design, Communications and Theatre and Music have seen a 68% increase in enrollment of new students this year compared to last,” says Dutton.
“Faculty have come on board to build their programs primarily through sustained personal contact with future students,” says Dutton. “Everyone on campus has a greater understanding of what it takes to attract a student to Sterling College.”
“It was really nice to have Professor Ritterhouse of the Education program help me through the college selection and enrollment process,” says transfer student Salima Watson of Russell. “I can tell she really cares about her students. She invested time in me before she even knew me.”
“I really feel like Sterling was an answer to prayer for me,” says freshman Lauren Cox of Colby. “I could see that my passion to reach out and make a difference in the world is what Sterling is all about. That made me all the more excited to be part of Sterling College.”
“The ways of interacting and communicating with students has changed dramatically with the advent of the online world,” Dutton says. With that in mind, Sterling added two new websites designed for future Sterling College students last year. One is built for the general student shopping online for college, the other specifically for students who apply for admission to Sterling. Both feature social networking along with videos, articles and blogs.
A total of 39 states are represented on campus this fall. Texas is second only to Kansas with Colorado and California third and fourth. In addition there are seven international students, each from a different country.