WATERVILLE, MAINE, August 2016 — This fall, Thomas College will have the largest incoming class and overall enrollment in its 122-year history with a projected 320 incoming class and 550 returning undergraduate students.
Our incoming students represent 15 states and seven countries with an average GPA of 3.1. Seventy-one percent of our students will be returning to Thomas College this year.
“It is such an exciting time to be at Thomas right now. The campus is vibrant and growing – with record-setting enrollment, retention, residency, full-time faculty and fundraising,” said President Laurie Lachance. “I was honored to have the opportunity to personally welcome and talk with each of the incoming class members as they signed the matriculation book Sunday afternoon. They are now officially and forever members of the Thomas College family.”
This fall, Thomas College has expanded academic programming and hired five new professors in Education, Criminal Justice and Sport Management to support record enrollment. Thomas will also be adding a full-time counselor, Carol Jollotta, LCSW, to the staff to full-fill on-campus counseling needs for students.
In 2017, the College will expand its three-year Bachelor’s program for high-achieving students in the business fields to include many Arts and Sciences majors as well. Students in programs such as Psychology, Criminal Justice, Communications and Political Science will be able to complete their undergraduate degree in three years by taking additional courses during the summer and each semester. This program saves students about 25 percent on their tuition, room and board and gets students into their careers a year faster.
Record-breaking enrollment is not a new trend – Thomas College’s full-time enrollment has increased in the last three years by 15 percent from 737 full-time undergraduate students in 2012-13 to our College’s projected record high of 850 in 2016-17.
Thomas College’s dramatic enrollment increase in the past few years is due to revamping the College’s brand identity, marketing and recruiting strategy. In addition, Thomas has increased participation in programs to improve affordability of college for low-income and first generation students such as the dual enrollment program, which totaled 1,000 Maine high school students in 2015-16, housing two JMG specialists on campus, who recruited 30 incoming JMG students this year, and our new Pathways program, which allows students to achieve their high school diploma and their Associate’s degree from Thomas simultaneously.
The increase in overall enrollment is also due in part to our student success initiatives, including peer mentoring, peer tutoring and academic coaching. These initiatives work to give students the tools they need to make ongoing progress toward graduation.
In the past three years, Thomas College has constructed five state-of-the-art campus facilities projects and added eight new fields of study. The College plans to build a new 82-bed residence hall to meet the demand of on-campus residents in the next couple of years.
One hundred of Thomas College’s incoming class started College on August 17 with our 10-day early start program called EDGE (Educate. Develop. Guide. Empower). EDGE brings incoming Thomas students to campus early to obtain a free three-credit course, meet new classmates, get acclimated with campus, financial support and various learning style and time management workshops. The official first day of classes was August 29.