San Antonio’s only highly selective college has received an unprecedented number of applications the past few years.
That’s let Trinity University drop from a 65 percent acceptance rate in 2014 down to a 38 percent acceptance rate this past fall.
Trinity University President Danny Anderson said the private school has seen a 40 percent increase in applications over the past three years, and this year the college has received more applications than ever before.
“We have really been changing over the past four or five years,” Anderson said. “We’ve worked hard at being better at telling our stories, so students who really connect with the kind of experience at Trinity can find their way to us.”
Incoming Trinity students have an average GPA of 3.6 and an average ACT score of almost 30.
According to data provided to the U.S. Department of Education, students at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M-San Antonio, St. Mary’s University, Our Lady of the Lake University and University of the Incarnate Word have ACT score averages ranging from 18 to 23.
Anderson said the school’s entrance criteria haven’t changed substantially, but it isn’t looking to increase enrollment.
“For us, growth means growing in terms of our reputation,” Anderson said. “Today we have many students who apply to us for a binding early admission decision.”
According to admission data published in the student paper, Trinitonian, and shared by the president’s office, Trinity received 5,563 applications for the freshman class of 2015. For the incoming freshman class of 2018, it received around 8,600, putting the acceptance rate at about 35 percent.
However, Anderson isn’t sure Trinity will be able to continue to see increased interest long term due to the national trend of declining college enrollment.
Trinity has an advantage over small liberal arts colleges in the Midwest and on the East Coast because Texas’ population is growing at a faster pace and has more high school graduates to draw from.
But Anderson said the private college isn’t a good fit for older students, narrowing its pool of applicants.
“Because we are a residential college, and we design our curriculum so that you need to start, by and large, early on to move through that curriculum, it’s not the kind of format that would be ideal for an adult,” Anderson said.
Trinity requires students to live on campus dorms for three years.
Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille