By Alex Christodoulides
The Vincentian university on Utopia Parkway said it has received more than 37,000 freshman applications so far – the school has rolling admissions – or 27 percent more than by this time last year. It credits outreach efforts for the surge.”This is the largest applicant pool in our history,” said Beth Evans, associate vice president of admissions at St. John's. “We are looking for a freshman class this year of 3,290. We definitely are looking for the best qualified students, but we want to stay true to our mission of helping those in need.”She said the university has seen a steady increase in applications in recent years. “It's been rising the last 10 years, actually,” she said.Outreach is the key to the increase, both nationally and internationally, Evans said.”We've hosted a lot of receptions in our primary market, which is the New York City area and New Jersey. Our teams have done a great job reaching out to markets nationwide,” Evans said. “International applications are up from last year as well. We'll probably be up 36 percent this year.”St. John's is ahead of fellow city colleges, which are seeing more applications in 2008 but less of a year-to-year jump than the Queens school.New York University is reporting its largest freshman applicant pool in the school's history, with more than 37,000 applications received through its Jan. 15 deadline, the school noted on its Web site. That figure is up 8.5 percent from the 2007-08 academic year, according to a report in Crain's New York Business. NYU could not be reached for comment.Fellow Catholic school Fordham University has had a very strong year for applications for its incoming freshman class of 1,730 students, said John Buckley, the Bronx- and Manhattan-based college's assistant vice president of undergraduate enrollment.”We had a record number of applications for us, just under 23,274 to date, which is up about 7 percent from last year at a comparable point,” Buckley said. “This is the 17th consecutive year that we've seen more applications than in the previous year. In the late 1980s and early '90s we typically had an applicant pool of about 4,000.”Columbia University told Crain's that admissions there are up 4 percent to date over last year, with more than 22,248 applications received as of this month, compared to 21,343 for the 2007-08 academic year.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.