The numbers are good this year at the College of Business and Economics for incoming freshmen, providing encouragement that the trend will continue. Not only does B&E have more freshmen, but the business school has more highly credentialed freshmen.
B&E’s freshman class is up 30 students to 436 this year, and statistics show that those freshmen are higher achieving individuals. In the past two years, the number of incoming freshmen with a minimum 3.5 high school grade point average (GPA) and high standardized test scores has increased from 22.8% to 30.5%. Nearly 13% of the incoming class maintained both a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher and placed in the highest category of standardized test scores, up 9% from two years ago.
In fact, 52% of B&E’s freshman class this year have at least a 3.25 high school GPA. What that means is that more than half of this year’s freshmen qualify for a merit-based scholarship at WVU, based upon GPA and test scores alone.
Rachel Nieman, undergraduate recruiter in B&E’s Office of Undergraduate Programs and Advising, said there are some very positive reasons for seeing students with high credentials enrolling at WVU’s business school.
“One is the exciting sense of momentum in our College. Once prospective students realize they’ll be able to take on leadership roles, build meaningful relationships with faculty and fellow students, and how we support them outside of the classroom with academic advising, tutoring and career development services, we become a serious contender on their college short list,” Nieman said. “Second is the financial support both the university and the college are able to provide to top tier students in the form of merit-based scholarships. Third, last year WVU joined the Common App, an undergraduate college admission application that has given WVU exposure to thousands more students than in the past.”
Nieman explained that the Common App gives B&E access to an unprecedented number of students.
“Students using the Common App are typically high achievers applying to multiple institutions. WVU now has the chance to get on their radar in a way we haven’t been able to do in the past. I’ve found that once we can get on their radar, we have a wonderful window of opportunity to expose them to Mountaineer culture and to explain what all we have to offer,” she said.
Milan Puskar Dean Javier Reyes emphasized that it is important to understand WVU’s goals from a broader perspective. “This is exactly the kind of growth we want as we look to grow the enrollment of the College of Business and Economics. In WVU’s 2020 Strategic Plan for the Future, each of the colleges on campus is challenged to work toward goals that include excelling in research, creative activity and innovation in our disciplines; advance international activity and global engagement; and enhance the well-being and quality of the people of our state. Attracting more high achieving students is just one way we can work toward those goals. It’s not about getting more students at B&E; it’s about getting as many high achieving students as possible at B&E.”
Nieman said access to and recruitment of high achieving students improves the college as a whole during their careers and possibly even beyond.
“It’s very important that we recruit good students,” she said. “These students are most likely to perform well academically while they’re here. They’re more likely to stay enrolled and finish within four years, and to get great jobs when they graduate. They’re more likely to be the go-getters we love to see in terms of pursuing competitive internships and getting involved in business student organizations. And it is our hope that they have such a positive experience while they’re here that they will continue to stay involved with us long after they earn their diplomas.”