It expects to have 1200 undergrads this year, which is a decrease.
Frederick, Md. (KM) Hood College begins its fall semester on Monday.
President Andrea Chapdelaine says the school is expected to have a total enrollment of just over 1200 undergraduates, and 900 graduates this year. She says that’s a drop compared to past years. “Over past several years. we have seen a decline in our first year student enrollment. Very typical across the station: all small liberal arts colleges are showing on average a decline in numbers over the past several years, simply because of the demographics. There’s not as many high school students graduating right now,” she says.
Chapdelaine says one of the reasons for that includes low birth rates among the children of “baby boomers.” “If you look at the cycle of birth rates in the United States starting with the baby boomer generation: so you look at their children then their grandchildren, there’s always sort of an upturn and a decline in our growth rates. So we’re in one of those declines right now as we’re cycling through the next generation of the baby boomer descendants,” she says.
But there’s also the after affects of the near collapse of the world economy in 2008. “When the economy took the hit several years ago, many students opted to delay going to college, or had to for affordability reasons, or chose community college. So one of the things we’ve seen is a strong growth in our transfer numbers,” says Chapdelaine.
She says Hood expects to have 230 new first year students, and 100 transfer students in the undergraduate programs. There are also 250 new graduate students coming to the college.
President Chapdelaine says Hood anticipated this decline, and planned accordingly. “We won’t see a recovery from that for a couple more years before you start to see those growth rates on an upward trend. This is a just a challenge that all small schools–in fact all schools, public universities community colleges–will be facing over the next several years,” she says.
With the beginning of the fall, 2016, semester, Chapdelaine starts her second year as President of Hood. “I’ve never been a college president before so learning how to work in higher education at this level, adopt a different perspective, learn a different set of responsibilities–that’s the biggest challenge. Of course, learning as much as I could and as quickly as I could about Hood,” she says.
But she says she and Hood are a good fit. “I think I was well prepared, having been in higher education for all of my professional life, pretty quick learner. I found that a lot of the responsibilities suit my personality and interest. I get to spend a lot of time with people, interacting with them and enjoying time with the students in all different ways,” says President Chapdelaine.