At 663, Class of 2023 is small but diverse

Percentage of students of color stable; top major is ‘undecided’

The class of 2023 promises a wide range of students from various backgrounds. The class “is slightly smaller in size, more academically pronounced [and] prepared, more geographically diverse, and represents a nice cross-section of majors that continues to ensure that we have a vibrant student community here,” said Scott Schulz, Vice President for Enrollment Management.

With a class size of 663 students, “the biggest change was… a decrease in our PAL students, those [being] what we would consider high need based on household income,” said Schulz. There has been a drop in these students from 37% down to 31% compared to last year.

However, according to Schulz, “diversity has been very stable.

22.5% of the first-year class are students of color, which is almost equal in comparison to last year’s 23%.

In regards to academic performance, students are “more academically prepared than last year. We just saw our strongest GPA ever that I can find for our first-year class,” said Schulz.

These findings indicate that the class of 2023 is “very academically prepared and ready for the rigors that BW has to offer,” said Schulz.

Out of state percentage is another difference in the first year class. Out of state percentage went up to 28% compared to last year’s 26%.

Students are coming from “35 states as far away as Alaska, and we had 31 states last year,” said Schulz. “The core is definitely still Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan, but we have particularly athletes, theater, and conservatory students from different states throughout the country.”

“Our biggest growth actually was in Michigan and Florida,” said Schulz in regards to students coming from out of state.

“We did see a nice surge of interest, particularly in Michigan, and we consider it to be one of our primary markets in the last couple of years,” said Schulz.

Baldwin Wallace University’s athletic, theater and conservatory programs “[have] allowed us to branch out and continue to bring in students from more geographically diverse sections of the country,” said Schulz.

Other than having diverse origins, students also range on studying a different variety of majors. “Our top major was undecided, followed by biology and business administration,” said Schulz. In comparison, the most prominent majors of growth was “undecided, and then engineering and exercise science,” said Schulz.

With more students entering undecided on their major “[BW is] actually quite a healthy place to be because you have the opportunity to explore and you have the opportunity to see [possible] fits from the standpoint of having no pressure to decide in a hurry,” said Trina Dobberstein, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, speaking on the university’s liberal arts base.

The Academic Advising Office is one of the significant resources for underclass students to help them through any questions they may have on their major, including those who are undecided.

In the Advising Office, “we have dedicated advisors that work frequently with undeclared students [who] are sensitive to what an undeclared approach would be,” said Dobberstein.

These advisors are “particularity geared toward working with undeclared students. They have access to a number of online and disciplinary resources around being undeclared,” said Dobberstein.

Overall, Student Affairs “provides a broad array of places for students to connect… [and] that they find people that will advocate for the student when they need to be advocated for, but at the same time, help themselves advocate because that’s part of the learning experience,” said Dobberstein.

The future of the class of 2023 looks set, as the students, who are a part of Gen Z, “know that they want a job and success… they’re enthusiastic about learning, and they take responsibility for their learning… they’re expecting from [those in Student Affairs] help in that regard to know that they are on a path to something which will be their future,” said Dobberstein.