Application numbers soar

This year, St. John’s has seen a significant growth in applications of nearly 31 percent. For the Fall 2009 semester, St. John’s has received a record number of 51,978 applications so far, an increase from last year’s 40,921.

Karen Vahey, director of the Office of Admissions, attributes the increase in applications to several factors. One factor, she said, is how St. John’s strives to make the application process as easy as possible.

Students are required to submit an application, high school transcript, and standardized test scores. Letters of recommendation and essay are optional.
Vahey said she believes that this approach is most effective for the University.

“The fact of the matter is the best essay in the world will not make up for a poor GPA and poor SAT scores,” she said. “We look at the GPA, we look at the kinds of classes they’ve taken, we look at all their standardized test scores, the way we review applications do benefit the students.”

There are two different types of applications, one that can be submitted online and one that is written. Only nine percent of the students that apply to St. John’s University use a paper application.
One prospective St. John’s student said applying to the University online was easy and organized.

“It was easy to access online and when I called the school, I always got an answer and wasn’t put on hold a million times,” said Tatiana Grigorakos, a high school senior from Long Island. “The people over the phone were also very friendly.”

Vahey said she also attributes the increase in applications to target marketing and target recruiting. Recruitment has increased in northern and southern California, Houston, Dallas, Miami and Chicago.

“These are places where we hadn’t really made significant in-roads in before but now we are spending a lot of weeks in the fall and spring in these areas,” she said.

“We’ve established contacts in the guidance counselor communities there, St. John’s students from these areas are going back home and sharing their experiences.”

Vahey said the largest amounts of applications are coming from distant markets, states such as California, Texas, and Georgia. She said the number of applications received from the local areas is about the same.

Vahey said she predicts that the number of applications from distant markets will continue to rise, while the share of students from the local area will not increase significantly. For the Fall 2009 semester, 32,047 applications were received from the out-of-state market, while 17,928 came from within the state.

Vahey said thatshe expects the current application trend to continue.

“In our secondary market, I think we are starting to get our piece of the pie and we are starting to retain students at a higher rate from these distant markets,” she said.

“We’ll continue to focus a large part of our recruitment on our local market but also continuing to grow in our recruitment and marketing in our secondary markets out of the metropolitan area.”

Vahey stated that out of the applications received, the acceptance rate is lower than it was last year.

“Currently, we are at 41 percent and at this time last year we accepted 46 percent of the applicants,” she said. “I think that says a lot about the growing competitive nature of the growing applicant pool.”

As of yesterday, 21,340 students will have been accepted for the 2009-2010 academic year, which is an increase from the Fall 2008 semester, which stood at 18,665 students accepted.

St. John’s has a rolling admission process and so they will accept applications and admit students up until the first day of classes. Before the Fall 2009 semester starts ,another 1,000 students can be admitted.