It’s been a busy year for Paul Steenis, the Dean of Admission at Knox. This year’s fall class — a term that includes both freshmen and transfers — was selected from the largest applicant pool in the history of Knox. The number of applications received during the 2013-2014 academic year increased 21 percent from the year before, and the acceptance rate, a popular statistic among parents and prospective students alike, dropped 7 percent.
This year’s 402 freshmen and transfers offer more than just a competitive edge to the Knox community. Fifty-six percent of the fall class is comprised of international students and U.S. students who identify as students of color, making it what Steenis describes as “hands down the most diverse class that we have ever recruited at Knox.”
While an increase in applicants is hugely welcome for a school trying to increase enrollment to the 1500 and maybe even 1600 range, there is another trend among last year’s applicants worth noting.
“The applicant pool went up a lot; most of the students were good matches for Knox, some of them weren’t,” Steenis said. “It went up a little disproportionately among students who weren’t quite as well prepared … so that accounts for some of the decrease in the admit rate.”
Steenis isn’t entirely sure why this is, but it doesn’t change the fact that last year Knox received the most applications in all of its 177 years.
No matter the changes in the applicant pool, Steenis and the rest of the admissions team still know a Knox student when they see one.
“Students who are well matched to Knox understand and value and appreciate the benefits of learning from people who aren’t just like them … We want to enroll students who, at least on some level, value or understand or appreciate that, or can make a contribution to that wide range of perspectives and opinions that are so much a part of the Knox education.”
Editor’s note: The accompanying graphic for this article has several errors. There are 366 freshmen in the fall class. Additionally, 13 percent of the fall class is international students and 43 percent of U.S. students are students of color, so white students are not in the majority as the graphic reflects.