Record numbers of students seek to join Union

Publication Date

Applications to Union have topped 6,000 for the first time, the highest number submitted for any individual class in the College’s history.

The record 6,570 applications from some of the nation’s top high school students vying to join the Class of 2020 eclipse last year’s mark of 5,996.

This includes nearly 400 early decision applications, the same as last year. Students applying under early decision have made a commitment to attend Union if they are accepted.

Since 2006, the number of applications to Union has jumped 50 percent. Founded in 1795 as the first planned campus in the country, Union is consistently ranked among the nation's top liberal arts colleges.

“The word continues to get out about the quality of the Union experience,” said Matt Malatesta ‘91, vice president for Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment. “But while we are happy with the continued growth in the number of applications, we value more the overall quality of the applicant pool, which is outstanding.”

This year’s applicant pool is broad in its geographic and international reach, with more students applying from outside the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

Since 2005, the percent of students in Union’s incoming class who represent domestic multicultural diversity has increased from 12 to 20 percent; international students have grown from 2 to 9 percent.

Malatesta said while it’s difficult to pinpoint specific reasons for the rise in overall applications, he cited a number of factors that have helped bolster demand for a Union education. These include critical capital improvements in the last decade.

In his opening Convocation remarks last fall, President Stephen C. Ainlay recounted the transformation of academic spaces, which has dramatically enhanced the educational experience for students and faculty. Among the projects are Taylor Music Center, Henle Dance Pavilion, Lippman Hall, Lamont House, Karp Hall, Wold Center and Butterfield Hall. Visual Arts, currently under renovation, will be renamed Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts when it reopens in the fall.

An ongoing communications and marketing plan designed to elevate the College’s reputation in the marketplace has also paid off, Malatesta said. The offices of Admissions and Communications have collaborated with an outside marketing firm on a number of initiatives, including strategic messaging, a suite of print and online viewbooks, a student email campaign, and enhanced web imagery and design.

The expected size of the Class of 2020 is 565 students.

“The value of a Union education has never been greater,” Malatesta said. “We look forward to taking the time to get to know all of our applicants and welcoming those students who we believe are a good fit for the Union community.”

Regular decision letters will be sent by April 1. Accepted students have until May 1 to commit.