Shenandoah University expects to welcome more than 480 first-year students this year, its largest freshmen class ever.
The freshmen enrollment estimates were released by the university as first-year students moved into their dorms Tuesday.
Shenandoah University will have around 685 new undergraduates this year, which includes both freshmen and transfer students. Total estimated enrollment among all undergraduate and graduate students is 3,686 as of Monday. Fall enrollment numbers will not be finalized until a census is taken in early October.
The large freshmen class means campus housing is slightly over capacity.
For the 2019-20 school year, SU is housing about 1,100 students, which is more than 100% occupancy. The university has eight residence halls on main campus and one in downtown Winchester. SU is briefly using La Quinta Inn to house about 50 students for the 2019-20 school year.
This is the first year SU has worked with La Quinta Inn for overflow housing, but it was not the first time it has used hotels for temporary housing. In the 2017-18 school year, SU housed 1,050 students total and about 20 students lived in the Modern Hotel of Winchester (formerly the Aloft Hotel) that year. In the 2016-17 school year, SU housed about 1,100 students and 24 students lived in the Aloft Hotel.
Construction is expected to begin soon on the fourth house in the Village Apartments, which will house 24 students and help alleviate some of the overflow. The new building should be ready for the 2020-21 school year, said Becky Layne, SU’s media relations coordinator.
Andy Woodall, SU’s assistant vice principal for recruitment and admissions, credits the estimated record-breaking number of incoming freshman to the university’s ability to better spread the word about SU to high school students and school guidance counselors.
“Word has just gotten out there a little bit more into the marketplace that this is who Shenandoah is,” Woodall said. “So we seem to be a place where students are choosing more often than not.”
Woodall added that despite the housing being over capacity, there hasn’t been any issues with move-in day with the exception of someone accidentally setting off a fire alarm in a dorm by bumping into it with a box.
About 300 SU faculty, staff and students came together Tuesday to assist first-year students to move in the dorms.
The moving process was smooth and fast, some SU freshmen students noted.
SU freshman Emily Luzier, 18, of Seberna Park, Md., said she was surprised to see all the volunteers approach her car to help her move into her dorm.
“I wasn’t expecting everyone to swarm my car, and it kind of scared me a little bit,” Luzier said. “And the next thing I know my car is empty.”
Luzier’s roommate, Arlene Miller, 18, of North Bellmore, N.Y., said it took less than five minutes to move her things from the car to her new dorm room.
Another freshman Tom Preston, 19, of Pittsburgh, plans to study music production and recording technology at SU. He said he’s looking forward to recording music and focusing on music full-time in school.
“I’m very excited,” Preston said. “A little nervous about the classes.”
The top three states new freshman come from are: Virginia with 60%, Maryland at 18.5% and Pennsylvania at 6.4%. Students come from 29 different states, including West Virginia.
In the incoming freshmen class, 29% of students identify as a race or ethnicity other than white while 35% of the incoming transfer class identify as a race or ethnicity other than white.
Two incoming freshmen and four new transfer students grew up outside of the United States.
There are three sets of twins in the incoming freshman class.