GREENSBORO — The N.C. A&T campus is quiet because it’s spring break, but the admissions office is busier than it ever has been.
A&T has received about 15,000 applications from high school seniors hoping to enroll in the university this fall. That’s nearly twice as many as A&T got a year ago, and the university is on pace to break previous application records.
“We’re looking at the fruits of a lot of hard work,” Provost Joe Whitehead said in an interview last week. “And we have a lot more work to get students to enroll.”
During the past decade, A&T usually received between about 5,500 and 6,500 applications each year, and applications went up every year but one since 2009. In fall 2014, the last year for which data is available, A&T received applications from 7,075 prospective freshmen.
As of March 3, A&T had received 14,902 applications for freshman who hope to start school there next fall. That’s up from 8,584 a year ago at the same time, according to A&T data.
University officials weren’t able to provide direct comparisons between current and historical numbers, as the data for this year include complete and incomplete applications. (A&T officials said some students don’t immediately submit test scores or high school transcripts.) But the number of completed applications is running ahead of last year’s totals, and A&T officials predict that the university will end up with a record number.
What’s driving the surge?
“I think it’s a testament to the national platform that North Carolina A&T has,” said Erin Hill Hart, the associate vice provost for enrollment management.
Last year, A&T passed Florida A&M to become the largest historically black college and university in the nation. In December, a national audience watched on ESPN as A&T’s football team beat Alcorn State in the first Celebration Bowl. That gave A&T the unofficial title of HBCU national champion.
This fall, A&T kicked off a yearlong 125th anniversary celebration.
Cheryl Pollard-Burns, A&T’s director of undergraduate admissions, said the university tried a few new things this year. Admissions officers sought out Latino students and African American males, two groups they say are underrepresented at A&T. Only about 2 percent of A&T’s students are Latino; in 2014, only 41 percent of applicants were men.
A&T also is aggressively recruiting North Carolina students. For a week in early November, A&T waived the $55 application fee for all in-state applicants.
A&T officials said they expect to see a freshman class next fall of roughly 2,000 students. That would be A&T’s largest incoming class since 2010.
Students who hope to enter A&T in the fall have until May 1 to apply. A&T officials won’t predict how many applications they’ll end up with.
“Applications continue to come in,” Pollard-Burns said. “We still have several weeks before May 1.”
Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story gave the incorrect admissions deadline. It is May 1.