Contributed by: Andy Bills, Vice President for Enrollment, High Point University
High Point really has an amazing story of growing from a regional college in North Carolina into a top university that’s gaining national recognition. In 2005 we inaugurated a new president, an alumnus who left his very successful business career to come do something special at High Point. At that time, we had 1,450 undergraduate students and about 950 students living on campus. We decided to grow the university in all of the positive measurement areas we could, with quantity and quality, from geographic growth to academic growth. And today we have more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 3,700+ students living on campus. 80% of our students are now from out of state, representing 46 states and more than 30 countries.
So High Point has gone through a phenomenal growth period in the past decade—more than tripling our freshman class, increasing our average SAT scores by 100 points, and really transforming what was a good university into an extraordinary university that is ranked #1 for regional colleges in the South. And because we have grown our geographic footprint, we’re now heavily involved in states where there are very strong institutions that have been using the Common Application for years. We were getting more and more requests from guidance counselors and independent counselors for High Point to consider the Common Application.
But in deciding to join the Common Application, we first and foremost wanted to make it easy for students to be able to find and apply to High Point University. It’s about removing barriers and improving access to a college we feel is special because at High Point, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people. We not only want to educate the whole student inside and outside the classroom, we want to look at the whole student when we are deciding who is admitted.
So we look at things beyond just grades and SAT scores. One of those positive indicators is whether the student really wants to be at High Point. If we can fill our school with students who want be here and who are academically ready for the challenges here, then we’ve got a great student body. So we spend a lot of time during the application and visit process meeting, interviewing, getting to know our students and speaking with them to make sure they understand the opportunities available here, that they see there is a path to their future success here, and that we too see that the student’s a good fit. This is what holistic review is all about. And this is the mission of the Common Application.
Our Common Application membership will help us meet our future enrollment goals. Among them are attracting students in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, exercise science, and athletic training who will help feed our new Master’s in Physician Assistant and Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Pharmacy programs; expanding access for first-generation students with financial need; and increasing our geographic, ethnic/cultural diversity, including with more students from China, South America, and Middle Eastern countries.
We’re excited about our new relationship with Common Application and look forward to improving access for the students we want to serve as High Point continues to grow.