Local Colleges See Enrollment Increases

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The college semester is in full swing.

Some schools in the Shenandoah Valley are noticing enrollment increases.

There are thousands of college students in Harrisonburg and the surrounding area, which is one draw according to the Director of Admissions at Bridgewater College.

Eastern Mennonite University also offers courses such as photography, that other small liberal arts Christian universities don't have.

"I got accepted, got a fantastic financial package before I even came and I visited the campus. And as soon as I came to Bridgewater I was in love with it, so I had to come," said Jordan Mitchell, a sophomore at Bridewater College.

Mitchell, a Communications major, has a long list of things she likes at Bridgewater College.

"Everybody wants to be here that's here... All the professors really work with you... The food's fantastic so there's nothing to complain about on campus," said Mitchell.
1,849 students are enrolled right now, which is the highest in the college's history.

With a new project to expand the athletic facility as well, those numbers could grow.

"We offer students a challenging education, but yet a close knit community that supports them as well," said Jarret Smith, the Director of Admissions at Bridgewater College.

Smith is already signing letters of acceptance.

They start looking at prospective students in high school.

"To become part of their normal conversations about colleges at an earlier age instead of maybe an afterthought."

At EMU, enrollment increased from 1,519 to 1,640 students.

Director of Retention Jason Good said new masters programs, such as the biomedicine program, are part of that.

"Being a small liberal arts Christian university with a big emphasis on both an international perspective as well as a social justice perspective, but also having some very concrete programs that prepare you for the work force," said Good.

Another draw is, of course, seeing the scenery in person.

"You actually set foot and see how beautiful this place is in the fall when the leaves change colors," said Mitchell.

Bridgewater College's enrollment increase is the highest in its history.

As for EMU, Good said the high job placement rate, which is 98 %, draws students.

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