In a USA Today article published on Oct. 13th, Cleveland State University ranked 43 out of 100 on the list of colleges with the greatest increase in applications.
With a 66.8 percent increase over the past five years, Cleveland State received national recognition by being featured on the list.
As for what sets Cleveland State apart from other schools, Lee Furbeck, Ph.D., Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Cleveland State, said that the school is growing along with the city—and the appeal of going to school in a big city plays a role.
“As the city of Cleveland has been on the rise for the last few years, Cleveland state is coming right along with it,” Furbeck said. “There are a lot of students who are interested in going to school in a city, not out in the middle of nowhere, so that has certainly helped.”
As for the specific growth in applications, Furbeck said that the number has grown substantially in the time since she has joined Cleveland State in 2014.
“I came in February of 2014 and we had 6,256 freshman applications for fall of 2014,” Furbeck said. “Then last year we had 13,352, so that is how we landed on that list.”
Many would believe that the surge in applications would make for a lower acceptance rate and more competitive applications process—but Furbeck said that the school was able to admit and enroll more students as the number of applications grew.
“Our admissions requirements are pretty straight forward and they really haven’t changed during that time period,” Furbeck said. “We are not more selective, the selectivity is about the same actually. We are definitely admitting more students and we are enrolling more students, too.”
Cleveland State was the only public university from Northeast Ohio featured on the list. Furbeck said this is because of the exciting and positive image that the university displays, as well as strong leadership—all the way up to the presidency.
“This has been a very positive and exciting place to be,” Furbeck said. “We have been lucky enough to have great leadership and a stability in the presidency.”
Furbeck said that the strong leadership from the president will only continue now that Harlan Sands has taken over, which gives Cleveland State an edge over other public universities in Northeast Ohio.
“By the looks of it, our new President Harlan Sands is ready to hit the ground running,” Furbeck said. “He is very interested in admissions and enrollment and growing our student body and making Cleveland State even more of a first-choice school. He is very interested in academic reputation and research and those are all really good to see in a new president–and I think that some of the other schools around here maybe haven’t been as lucky with this, at least in the last few years.”
Furbeck said that the national recognition from the story and positive publicity is always a good thing for the university.
“Anytime we get some national recognition in a positive way, then we will take it,” Furbeck said. “I was pleased that CSU was recognized and hopefully some positive publicity will come out of it and more students will want to find out what the big deal is.”
Furbeck said she hopes that the application surge continues, but also realizes that for this to happen, there must be some type of investment of resources to support the growth.
“I think that we are kind of at a point where we have done a lot of good work and we have made a lot of changes, and I think that to take that next leap forward, there may need to be some sort of investment,” Furbeck said. “I mean you can only grow the application numbers, the number of schools you are visiting, and the number of students that you are doing outreach to a certain point with existing resources. If we are going to continue to grow, I think we need to look at what kind of resources need to be put into that effort if we are going to continue on that upward trajectory.”