Rising class sizes force changes to first-year housing
The Department of Community Living had to place 65 first year students in East Quad in order to accommodate the increased student body, according to Amanda Drapcho, Assistant Director of Operations and Community Development.
In an email to the Justice, Drapcho said the Class of 2022 is made up of 922 students, which is an eight percent increase from the previous year and the largest first-year class in the University’s history. Drapcho explained that placing first-years in East Quad allowed DCL to meet housing needs without making major changes to existing first-year housing. “By locating 65 first-year students in East, we were able to keep the lofted triples the same number as last year, with 321 beds being lofted triples,” Drapcho wrote.
Brandeis’s incoming first-year class sizes have been growing since 2015, according to Chris Holsten, senior institutional research analyst at the University’s Office of Planning and Institutional Research. In an email to the Justice, Holsten wrote that beginning in 2015, the incoming first year class size has increased each year, from 802 to 841 to 858.
Drapcho explained how DCL accommodates this growth in class size in the same email. She said that this year, DCL looked “outside of our traditional first-year quads at other residential areas where first-year students could reside and remain connected with the rest of their class,” she wrote. “We then worked closely with our campus partners such as [the] Orientation [program] to ensure that all our first-year students felt connected to their class,” despite some not living in traditional first-year residence halls.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jennifer Walker explained that although class sizes have been increasing, the first-year class goal — the number of admitted students that Admissions hopes will choose to attend Brandeis — has remained around 835 to 840. She explained that setting the class goal “involves feedback from the Provost's office, Finance, Admissions and others who serve and support our students.”
Walker cited the growing popularity of Brandeis as a reason for the increase in class size. According to Walker, having a larger first-year class “was not a strategic goal, but rather a result of more students than anticipated accepting our offer of admission,” she wrote. “The University's popularity has increased over the past couple of years to [a] point that more and more students are choosing Brandeis as a first choice.” Walker added in a follow-up email that this increase in the popularity of the University could lead to admissions becoming more competitive.
Despite increasing class sizes, the class goal “isn’t likely to change as we are not expanding or contracting the overall size of the university,” Walker wrote.
Although the class goal is expected to remain the same, Walked said that Admissions “will take into account lessons we have learned from last year’s admissions cycle and try to get closer to previous years’ class sizes” during this admissions cycle, she wrote.