Union College is drawing more and more attention from high school seniors planning their future, and Matt Malatesta, vice president for admissions, financial aid and enrollment, is pretty sure they’re not all hockey fans.
The school announced Friday that it had a record 6,570 applications from high school students hoping to become members of the Union class of 2020. While Malatesta conceded the team’s 2014 NCAA hockey championship may have garnered plenty of attention, he thinks many were interested in what else Union has to offer.
“Union was definitely in the news a lot during that time, and it was such a good story, all positive,” said Malatesta, a 1991 graduate of the college. “It certainly helped, but there are a lot of things going on at the school. We’ve made a lot of capital improvements. There’s a new dance studio, a new science center, and we’re in the midst of a new arts facility. So it’s a combination of things.”
The 6,570 applicants Union received by its Jan. 15 deadline bettered last year’s total of 5,996. It is the first time the school received more than 6,000 applications.
“We were predicting a larger number, but that’s a little bit more than we were expecting,” said Malatesta. “It’s a jump of 10 percent, and that’s a bigger jump than we were anticipating.”
Among the projects that have enhanced the campus in the past 10 years are substantial improvements to the Taylor Music Center, the Henle Dance Pavilion, Lippman Hall, Lamont House, Karl Hall, the Wold Center and Bufferfield Hall.
Also adding to the Union College experience, according to Malatesta, was the rejuvenation of downtown Schenectady.
“There are new restaurants and new businesses in downtown, and I think that’s been a real big plus as well,” he said. “Schenectady has done a great job, and that helps us. As the year went along, we saw the number of visitors coming to campus and the number of students interacting with us via the Web, and all of those things helped with the number of applicants. So we saw more general interest, but you don’t really know until the moment of truth, which for us is Jan. 15.”
This year’s applicant pool included more students than usual from outside the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Since 2005, according to a school release, the percentage of students in Union’s incoming class who represent domestic multicultural diversity has increased from 12 percent to 20 percent. International students have increased from 2 percent to 9 percent. The expected size of the class of 2020 is 650.
“The value of a Union education has never been greater,” Malatesta said in an article on the school’s website. “We look forward to taking the time to get to know all of our applicants and welcoming those students who we believe are a good fit for the Union community.”
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or [email protected]