The fall 2019 freshman class at Jacksonville State University is the school’s largest batch of new students in the school’s recorded history, according to Emily Messer, the university’s associate vice president for enrollment management.
This year’s freshman class, 1,493 strong, is the largest for JSU since at least 1985, Messer said, when the school began keeping the record.
“We’re super excited to see the largest freshman class on record come to campus,” Messer said.
According to figures published in the university’s Fact Book, the previous record for freshman enrollment in that time frame was 1,489 in fall 1988, and the last time the university broke the 1,400 barrier prior to this year was 2011, when 1,414 new students arrived on campus.
The freshman enrollment figure also boosted total enrollment to its loftiest height in seven years.
The fall 2019 total enrollment at JSU, or “headcount,” is 9,021, according to Messer, the first time more than 9,000 students have been in classes since 9,161 students were enrolled in 2012.
“We’re ecstatic that we were able to break that 9,000 mark,” Messer said. “For a lot of us here, it’s our first full recruitment cycle, so it’s kind of rewarding to see that.”
Katelyn Langley, a member of the record freshman class, said she was attracted to JSU because of its comfortable environment.
“I’ve been to JSU often, and it’s because of the atmosphere and attitude,” said Langley, who is from Piedmont. “It really does feel like home.”
She also said the nursing program was a big positive for the university.
“I’ve heard about other schools’ nursing programs, but JSU just stuck out to me,” Langley said, now enrolled in that program.
More than a year after the March 19, 2018, tornado that caused widespread damage across campus, Messer said, she was glad to see enrollment numbers climbing.
“We’ve implemented a lot of new recruiting strategies, and I think those have helped,” Messer said.
Among those strategies, the admissions department presented signs this summer to incoming freshmen that read “Future Gamecock,” a slogan they were also encouraged to post on social media.
Dalton Epps, a junior from Anniston, said JSU’s proximity to his hometown played a key role in his decision to attend.
“I live really close, so it was always one of the schools I wanted to go to,” he said. “I visited before I came as well, and really liked it.”