At this time last year the economy was in the toilet and the university was looking at the very real possibility of a second year of a small freshman class.
But by the first week of May, admissions officials were celebrating the record number of enrollments for the class of 2013.
Those same officials hope to draw on that momentum as they head into this year’s admissions season.
A significant part of that goal revolves around Bradley’s new agreements with a number of community colleges from both central Illinois and Chicagoland.
Students at those colleges, which include Joliet Junior College, McHenry County Community College and Illinois Central Community College, among others, who meet Bradley’s admissions standards will be eligible for a $3,500 scholarship on top of whatever other financial aide the student would qualify for.
Bradley will dole out 20 of those scholarships to each of the nearly 10 community colleges with agreements.
“These schools were chosen because of their location, size and that they have the kind of students who would succeed at Bradley,” said Alan Galsky, vice president for student affairs.
Students from zip codes that send a lot of students to Bradley also attend those community college, which factored into the agreements.
This move comes at a crucial time because Bradley can’t admit any transfer nursing students as all the spots were filled with the large freshman class.
“We need at least 300 transfer students,” Galsky said. “And since we need to replace 30 nursing transfers we can’t admit, this program is especially important.”
Bradley will be pursuing mainly students leaders and those in honors programs at those community colleges.
But the community college partnerships isn’t the only part of Bradley’s attack plan.
The university is planning on introducing a number of new degree programs and concentrations for next fall.
They include pharmaceutical sales, health services administration, Web design, gaming, animation and an overhaul of the criminal justice program.
Most of those programs will need to be approved by the University Senate, which Galsky said he hopes will happen by its December meeting.
“These are the kinds of things we’ve got to do,” Galsky said. “We got 30 freshmen in the sports communication program. Hopefully these programs will have a similar affect.”
The school is also offering additional scholarships to out-of-state students and increasing recruitment on the coasts.