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   from the issue of September 22, 2005

Admissions dean outlines enrollment figures

Editor's Note - Alan Cerveny, Dean of Admissions, issued this overview of UNL's fall enrollment numbers in a campus wide E-mail on Sept. 15.

This year our new freshman class increased by more than 270 students, an increase of over 8 percent from our freshmen numbers a year ago. In today's competitive college student recruiting world, new student enrollment success depends upon the active involvement of the entire campus community. On behalf of the staff in the Office of Admissions, I thank all of you for partnering with us in this critical effort.

Our new student enrollment increase is only part of this year's success story. For the fourth straight year, UNL has enrolled the most talented freshman class in school history based on standardized test scores and class ranks. The average ACT score for our freshman class increased from 24.8 to 24.9, our highest score ever. The number of new out-of-state students is an all-time record high for UNL and represents 22 percent of our freshman class. This year's class is also the University's most diverse as a result of another increase in our students of color numbers.

American multicultural students represent 10 percent of this year's freshman class compared to just 5 percent only three years ago.

While enrollment challenges continue to exist, we need to keep in mind that we are facing them from a position of unprecedented strength. I was disappointed to see local reports focusing on the fact that our overall enrollment was down 100 students from a year ago.

We do need to be concerned about our overall enrollment because of its implications on our budget. However, what needs to be recognized - and celebrated - is that we are graduating students faster and in record numbers. Our 2004-2005 graduating class of 3,267 was the largest in school history, topping the previous all-time record (last year) by 146 students.

It is true that UNL's enrollment has declined from the early 1980's when the university's enrollment climbed to over 25,000 students. But what has been absent from any public discussion of our enrollment trend is that today UNL is producing 500 more graduates a year than we did during those peak enrollment years. This is a result of your efforts and the increasing quality of our entering classes.

As UNL begins a new recruiting cycle, we need your support more than ever.

Given our state's demographics, we can never afford to rest on our laurels.

A serious drop in new student enrollment, such as the one we experienced last year, will harm every department and office on campus. I ask everyone to do what they can to support our recruitment efforts. One important way you can help is by supporting our campus visit program. Campus visits play a critical role in a prospective student's college choice. Students and their parents form lasting impressions of UNL based on their experiences while on campus. You can become a difference-maker with our campus visitors in small ways (e.g. a simple smile or a friendly "hello") or in big ways by offering your assistance when called on by a vice chancellor, dean, or the Office of Admissions. You can also help spread the word about your program as well as UNL's affordability and value.

I suspect there are some talented prospective students who are not on our radar screen even though we currently have more than 50,000 active prospects in our database. So another way you can help the university with recruitment is by sharing the names of possible prospects (particularly your own children, grandchildren, family friends, or relatives) with admissions. Please email me the student's name, year in school, and mailing address at

Once again, thank you for your support. Working together, I believe the best is yet to come.

Alan L. Cerveny, Dean of Admissions



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