For over 150 years, Trinity University has committed to attracting and enrolling the nation’s best and brightest students. This year, the incoming class stands out in many ways, including several record-setting statistics in the face of extreme and unprecedented challenges. In the midst of a global pandemic, the University is welcoming one of its most impressive classes ever, exceptional in size, academic strength, diversity, and confidence in their choice to become Tigers. Welcome, Class of 2025!
Each year, Trinity aims to enroll approximately 640 new first-year students. Despite the many stressors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, 674 first-year students have enrolled this fall, making the Class of 2025 the second largest class in the school’s history. Justin Doty, dean of Admissions, says there were many changes to the recruitment process and new tactics to ensure such a strong incoming class. “We incorporate a lot of statistical modeling, and all the modeling was basically thrown out the window with COVID,” he says. “We couldn’t confidently rely on trends from prior years because everything was different during the pandemic.”
A Hybrid Recruitment Process
Even though Trinity wasn’t able to host visitors on campus from March to August 2020, the Admissions Team rose to the challenge, switching gears and implementing unique strategies to recruit new Tigers. To make up for restrictions on in-person visits, admissions offered virtual open houses, virtual tours and information sessions, and multiple hybrid events.
One of the most successful visit experiences was Admitted Tiger Days, spearheaded by Aspen Gonzalez ’96, senior associate director of campus visit experience. In Spring 2021, Trinity hosted in-person events almost every Friday that allowed prospective students to tour campus, hear from geosciences professor Glenn Kroeger about the Pathways curriculum, and interact with Trinity students in small group settings.
In previous springs, Trinity would host two or three Admitted Tiger Days; this year, they hosted 11. Each event was broken down into a smaller, more intimate gathering to follow campus safety protocols. A total of 482 prospective students attended Admitted Tiger Days, and two thirds of them enrolled as Trinity students.
New this year, visit vouchers were placed in students’ admit kits, offering reimbursement for visiting campus. Expenses incurred by prospective students and their families while visiting Trinity and experiencing San Antonio could be submitted to the Office of Admissions for reimbursement with a specified dollar amount depending on their proximity to San Antonio. “We wanted to do all we could to get these admitted families to our campus and didn’t want cost presenting a barrier,” Doty says.
Setting New Records
At Trinity, students who enroll with an Early Decision (ED) application are confident and certain about becoming Tigers. ED is a binding application, which means that if these students are accepted to Trinity, they promise to also enroll. This year, Trinity is welcoming a record number of ED applicants at 19% of the Class of 2025.
Knowing that Trinity is the first choice for so many students makes enrollment management confident and certain, too: “Having a commitment from almost 20% of the class allows us to more effectively manage admissions decisions for the remaining students that are applying Early Action or Regular Decision,” Doty says. “We were also very excited to witness a stronger academic profile and racial diversity within the ED pool this year.”
Indeed, the Class of 2025 possesses an academic profile higher than previous years, with an average SAT score of 1390, an average ACT score of 31.5, and an average GPA of 3.71. About 48% of the incoming freshman applied under the University’s test-optional policy, implemented in 2020. These quality indicators showcase successful strategies for the admissions process and represent yet another win for the Class of 2025; as Doty remarks, “It’s large, it’s strong, and it’s diverse.”
Diversity and Dedication
This year, the University has continued to ramp up its efforts to minimize potential barriers to enrollment, ensuring that Trinity’s nationally ranked liberal arts education is accessible to students from any background or socioeconomic status. Underrepresented populations make up 42% of first-years enrolled this fall, and 50% of ED students are from underrepresented backgrounds. Also, thanks to a new community partnership with the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), Trinity saw a record eight new Tigers from SAISD schools this year, up from one or two in years past.
One key to encouraging a diverse applicant pool was the implementation of an early financial aid estimate for students who apply ED, a process now in its third year. “We let students know in the summer or early fall that if Trinity is a top consideration but affordability presents a significant hurdle, this is what their financial aid package would look like,” Doty says. “If students and families are worried about cost, and this is presenting a barrier from applying ED, we let them know we can work with them on the front end.”
All in all, the Class of 2025 already boasts multiple successes, an outcome that demonstrates the University’s resilience during a global pandemic—a true testament to the Trinity community. “Our faculty, coaches, staff, current students, parents, and alumni stepped up immensely for us this year. At every turn, whoever we called on, they said, ‘Yes, what can we do to help?’ because everyone knew what the challenges were,” Doty says. “The entire Trinity community rallied and came together to make this happen.”