Western State Colorado University’s enrollment at the beginning of the Spring 2013 semester was up by 119 students over Spring 2012. Furthermore, Western retained a higher percentage of students between fall and spring semesters.
“This is the best retention we’ve seen in years,” Western President Dr. Jay Helman said. “We have been working hard to develop an effective strategy for keeping students engaged, and I believe programs like our First-Year Experience are working.”
Western's First-Year Experience program launched as a way to build connections between first year students and their community while giving them a broad survey of Western State Colorado University’s academic offerings. First-Year Experience is a requirement for freshmen, and includes an enhanced student orientation, participation in an interdisciplinary First-Year Seminar and living on campus in academic-focused, living-learning communities. The First-Year Experience aims to boost camaraderie among students through shared experiences, as well as integration into the campus and Gunnison Valley.
“I loved the First-Year Experience because it helped me learn about the new community I live in, and how students fit into the picture,” Western freshman McKenzie Parrott said. The student from Breckenridge said she enjoys living in campus housing, in a living-learning community as well. “The small groups are great,” she said. “It helped me meet lots of other students and make connections with freshmen from all types of backgrounds.”
Other factors that contributed to Western's spring enrollment numbers include an increase in the number of high school students taking classes at the university. Western is committed to providing college access to high school students, because getting involved in higher education early is proven to help students prepare for college.
About Western State Colorado University
In Gunnison, Colo., Western is a public university unlike any other in Colorado, and unique nationwide – with the faculty focus and feel of a private college; a commitment to access, excellence and student success; and a strong tie to the land, our local natural resources and our surrounding community. With an enrollment of 2,300 students, Western offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate academic programs, along with unlimited opportunity to shape your identity, customize your education and chart your course for a meaningful life. To learn more, please visit Western.edu.