Ever since Elon University’s founding in 1889, its growth in both size and academic popularity has become immense. With the class of 2014 entering this fall the largest class in school history, Elon continues to flourish.
According to the Elon University website, Elon now has about 5,000 undergraduate students, over 600 graduate students and nearly 350 faculty members. This creates a teacher to student ratio of about 14:1. According to sophomore Hayley Moll, “the fact that there are a lot of small classes allows you to get more individualized attention from teachers, and they are always willing to help.”
According to college evaluation organizations, Elon University is now known as one of the best private universities in the south. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranks Elon University as the nation’s number one school to watch and the number two master’s-level university in the south.
Not only do Elon’s students excel academically, but they also pay less than students at many other private universities throughout the country. Elon is ranked as one of the nation’s top 100 “Best Value Colleges” by The Princeton Review, and was named the “top financial find of 2010” by Reader’s Digest. Despite being a relatively unknown university by the national public, Elon continues to be recognized as one of the best up-and-coming universities in the nation.
Many of Elon’s individual academic branches are highly regarded as some of the best in the nation. BusinessWeek ranked the part-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at Elon number one in the south and number six in the nation. The Communications program is one of only 18 nationally accredited communications programs among private universities.
As Elon hopes to continue furthering its positive reputation, it is taking steps to expand the student body. According to the Elon Admissions 2009-2010 Fact Book, the number of enrolled first-year students has grown from 820 in 1992-93 to 1,291 in 2009-10. As the size of the freshmen classes continue to grow, the applicant pool continues to drastically climb as well. In 1992-93, only 3,398 students applied to Elon, but in 2009-10, 9,041 students applied to Elon. That is an acceptance rate change from 74% to 48%, which makes it even more impressive that school continues to grow despite becoming more and more selective. According to the Elon Admissions 2009-2010 Fact Book, the average SAT score of incoming freshman is 1843 (over 300 points above the national average) and an average GPA of 3.97.
Another significant advantage students at Elon have over many students at other private universities is their ability to get involved as early as their first semester on campus. According to Kenn Gaither, the director of the Journalism and Communications Fellows program, “Elon is being mentioned as one of the best schools in the country, and we want every student who goes through the school of Communications to have a special experience.” Communications students are able to get hands-on experience in their first year of college. Freshman Melissa Kansky says, “It is easy to get involved with various media organizations on campus, which provides you with a portfolio early on to use for jobs and allows professors to see your capability outside of the classroom.”
Elon is also in the process of expanding its academic concentrations. In 2000, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, and the School of Communications were founded. In August of 2006, Elon opened its School of Law, and in the summer of 2009, Elon established a master’s program in Interactive Media.
Perhaps the most well known feature of Elon is its beautiful campus, which is nationally recognized as a botanical garden.
As Elon University has evolved over the years, so have its students. Every year, not only do the numbers of the incoming class continue to grow, but also the average grades and SAT scores of applicants steadily increase. As these improvements continue to better the institution, Elon has the potential to be ranked as one of the best colleges in the nation. Therefore, the incoming class of 2014 has some high expectations to live up to.