August 25, 2016 | Watch the Matriculation Ceremony on YouTube
Overall enrollment and student diversity continue to trend upward with the arrival of Albion College's Class of 2020.
As of the first day of classes August 22, the matriculation of more than 400 first-year students and 35 transfers—coupled with a higher returning sophomore retention rate—has driven the student body above 1,400 for the first time since 2011.
The newcomers reflect Albion's success in drawing students from a nationwide pool. More than 25 percent of the Class of 2020 come from outside Michigan, while a third identify themselves as underrepresented students. Sixteen first-years and one transfer are from California; among new out-of-state students, only Illinois sends more.
"Everybody has a different story for why they're here, but all of these California kids are adventurous and want to try something new," says Molly Vander Heyden, assistant director of admission who recruited the California contingent. "They know the 'community as family' style of Albion is going to be a good fit, and at the same time they're getting something completely new, and that's exciting to them."
The 35 transfer students are equally diverse, coming from 10 states including Arizona, Colorado, Maryland and Alabama. New international degree seekers come from Mongolia, Vietnam, Nepal, Pakistan and India, along with eight exchange students, including five from Albion's partner institution, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ) in France.
"President Ditzler made diversity a priority when he arrived, with the goal of having the student body look more like America," noted Steve Klein, vice president for enrollment management. "I believe such diversity gives our graduates an advantage as they prepare to meet the challenges that await them after Albion."