2021 was a year like no other for Kenyon’s Office of Admissions: The Class of 2025 enrolled in record numbers, with 560 first-year students joining the College community, 50 of whom are currently enrolled in the newly created Kenyon-Copenhagen program.
This large enrollment size came as a surprise to the Kenyon admissions team, who operated almost entirely virtually throughout the 2020-21 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Campus tours and information sessions were not offered in-person until late April, when vaccines started to become available across the country.
Still, the Class of 2025 persevered. Coming from 45 different states, 23 different countries and 485 different high schools, the 560 first-years stepped up to the challenge of navigating a virtual college admissions process. The Office of Admissions at Kenyon received 7,601 total applications this year — a record high, and a 15% increase from 2020. From that pool, they accepted 2,778 students, bringing the acceptance rate to 35%.
In an email to the Collegian, Vice President for Enrollment Diane Anci wrote about the challenges of navigating the admissions process in one of the “most extraordinary years” for college admissions. “This class truly has the distinction of being the first admitted class whose admission unfolded start-to-finish during a global pandemic,” she wrote.
Given the unparalleled nature of this past year, Anci stressed how it became “nearly impossible” for the admissions team to gauge yield, with no comparable data from past admissions cycles to serve as a reference point. In fact, most elite colleges had similar issues with yield, according to Anci.
Additionally, Anci noted that although the College’s Strategic Plan does account for steady growth, their current goal is to return to typical Kenyon class sizes — between 480 and 520 — while they continue to implement initiatives to grow the school.
Such a large class did not come without repercussions. On an 1,100-acre campus with a finite amount of housing options, the robust first-year class size — as well as the additional three dozen December graduates who took time off last year due to pandemic-related circumstances — proved to be an added strain to a housing system already pushed to the brink.
After delaying the housing selection process several times until mid-July, Reslife announced in a June 28 housing panel that, for the first time ever in Kenyon’s nearly 200-year history, students would be offered the option of off-campus housing at the Pines housing development in Apple Valley.
The pilot Kenyon-Copenhagen program, too, was designed to take stress off of the housing situation; Kenyon created the program to provide first-year students with the opportunity to gain a global perspective through co-curricular travel, while simultaneously taking courses that mirror typical first-semester courses at Kenyon.
The Class of 2025 has certainly dealt with immense adversity, but their Kenyon careers have officially begun.