Westminster College Welcomes the Largest Freshman Class in Five Years

Fulton, MO ‒ Aug. 19, 2021: As classes officially begin today at Westminster College, faculty and staff members are busy welcoming the largest freshman class in five years.

At 217 freshmen, the historic, small liberal arts college witnessed a 25 percent increase over last year’s freshman enrollment and a 53 percent increase compared to 2019.

Likewise, overall student enrollment of more than 650 students, which includes transfer students, is up by 7 percent.

Dr. Paul Orscheln, Vice President of Enrollment Services, Marketing, and Strategic Communications, says this increase is the result of student retention being at a five-year high.

Although nationwide trends generally show college enrollment is declining, Westminster may be an anomaly because of its small size and personalized student services added in 2020, Orscheln explains.

“When we look at our freshman-to-sophomore retention rate, which increased by more than 6 percent since last year, we know there is a link to the services offered by our Student Success Center,” he says.

The Center opened in September 2020 under the leadership of Dr. Ingrid Ilinca, Associate Dean of Student Success and Chief Retention Officer.

Services offered at the Center include academic advising and help with a number of skills, including time management and other competencies necessary for adjusting to college life.

Orscheln explains that providing these services is part of Westminster’s unique approach to higher education, which is possible because of the College’s smaller size.

And while Westminster waived the ACT and SAT requirement throughout the last year and a half — like most colleges and universities during the pandemic — he says the College met or exceeded its enrollment goals for both student quality and diversity.

“This increase can be attributed to a number of factors, but especially our exceptional faculty and academic programs,” Orscheln reflects. “The personalized educational experience Westminster College provides students is unmatched.”

About Westminster College: Founded in 1851 and home of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech, Westminster College in Fulton, MO, is ranked prestigiously by U.S. News & World Report as the only National Liberal Arts College in Missouri. The institution is in the top 16 percent for graduate earnings and boasts a 98 percent placement rate. Westminster also is a Forbes Best Value College. Westminster focuses on educating and inspiring students to become the world leaders of tomorrow. To find out more about Westminster, please visit the College’s website.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is a Media and Content Strategist at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. A 1992 graduate of the College, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communication in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.