(WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is Your School Authority and we are checking back in with local college and universities to see how the admissions process is going amid the pandemic.
As 2021 is just underway, the coronavirus continues to linger and cause uncertainty.
However, amid the unknown impacts of the pandemic, many local colleges and universities we spoke with have seen an increase in application numbers.
“We are cautiously optimistic about next fall, but we’re in a pandemic,” said Kerry Cole, vice president of admissions at American International College.
AIC has seen an upwards trend. According to Cole, at the end of December, undergraduate applications were up by 30 percent compared to last year.
Cole said they’ve also seen an increased interest in health science programs.
Elms College officials also said their application numbers are up compared to last year.
“Where we are really seeing success is, we’re up 47 percent in acceptance compared to last year, meaning we are not only getting very high achieving students applying, but they’re completing their applications,” said Jonathan Scully, vice president of enrollment management and marketing at Elms College.
Scully told Western Mass News students are committing earlier too.
“Last year at this time, we didn’t have a single student who had committed. This year, we hit 25 who have said ‘I’m coming to Elms and I’m good to go.’” Scully noted.
Over at Smith College, officials also said the number of applications are currently up as their January 15 deadline approaches, but not all local colleges and universities are seeing an increase in applications this year.
Holyoke Community College officials said they’ve only had half the number of high school seniors submit applications compared to this time last year.
“So, it’s a little bit concerning that students aren’t thinking that far ahead at this point, but we recognize that the pandemic has made it difficult to think that far ahead,” said Mark Hudgik, director of admissions and onboarding at HCC.
Westfield State is also seeing a decrease in applications, but vice president of enrollment management Daniel Forster said the number of deposits for next school year are double compared to last year.
“We’ve seen a move for students to stay a little bit closer to home when picking their schools,” Forster explained.
As the National Student Acceptance day on May 1 inches closer, school officials said it's too early to tell how the numbers will play out for the fall.
“I think we are all holding our breath. There’s a lot of unknowns right now and none of us have never experienced a full pandemic year here before,” Scully said.