For the 2017-18 school year, California Lutheran University welcomed approximately 800 students, a smaller number than last year’s record breaking class size, said Michael Elgarico, director of undergraduate admission. This includes approximately 600 first years and an increased number of transfers, at around 270.
Although the total class size is smaller than the previous year, Elgarico said that larger class sizes are not always the main focus in admissions.
“That’s not necessarily always something we’re striving to do. We always have to maintain a certain enrollment for the university,” Elgarico said.
Dane Rowley, director of international admission, said there are more international transfer students this year than international freshmen – a stark contrast from previous years, where international freshmen outnumbered international transfers by a third.
While only five percent of the undergraduate population is international, 20 percent of them are from Norway.
“We have this Norwegian-American association so then we can skip freshman year. We transfer from the last year of high school,” Ina Svanes, a transfer student from Oslo, Norway, said.
Svanes and her roommate Thea Holtlund are just two of many Norwegian students on campus. In fact, Cal Lutheran is one of the leading universities in graduating Norwegian students in the country.
“We’re now enrolling children of (Norwegian) parents who attended Cal Lutheran back in the 80s and 90s. So there’s a really strong tradition. It really goes back to the founding of CLU in terms of the Scandinavian connection,” Rowley said.
“Some of the political rhetoric is having some impact on it [international admissions]. Not a huge impact, but it’s definitely making students a little more nervous about applying for a visa,” Rowley said. “And we did see more visa rejections. There are several students who intended to be here, but aren’t here today on campus because the U.S. government wouldn’t give them a visa to study.”
Many in this incoming class are also student athletes. According to Amanda Wallin, who works with athlete recruitment on the admission council, 25 percent of the undergraduate population are student athletes.
“I’ve met a bunch of volleyball players, my roommate is on the volleyball team. There’s two (swimmers) right down the hall from me. One of them is in my English class. I met a lot of them at our play fair and hall cup,” said Rose Stephens, a freshman on the swim team.
While football continues to be the most highly recruited sport at Cal Lutheran, baseball and volleyball have seen increases as well.
“It has also been interesting in the past few years with women’s volleyball and now baseball having national titles, as the students are seeking us out and wanting to commit to CLU much sooner than normal,” Wallin said in an email interview.
Although athletics are obviously prominent, the arts are becoming more popular with undergraduate students as well, according to Elgarico.
This year also marks the first time nearly one in five students are first generation in Cal Lutheran’s undergraduate class, according to an article written by Cal Lutheran Media Relations Manager Karin Grennan.
“We continue to be a very global institution. More than half our students identify as coming from traditionally underrepresented communities,” Elgarico said.