Even in a pandemic, Duquesne boasts record freshmen application rates

Griffin Sendek | Multimedia Editor. A record number of freshmen applications have been received. This comes just as Duquesne is set to begin a full year construction on St. Martin's, a freshmen dorm

Kellen Stepler | Editor-in-Chief


Griffin Sendek | Multimedia Editor. Despite the challenges of the pandemic and a decline in college applications across the country, Duquesne has received a record number of applications. More than 10,000 students applied for admission in the upcoming semester.

While some colleges and universities are facing a decrease in admissions, Duquesne University is experiencing just the opposite. 

Duquesne drew a record amount of freshman applications – more than 10,100, to be exact – for the upcoming fall semester. The university admitted 8,400 freshmen and 230 transfer students, and is expecting between 1,193 and 1,248 freshmen, about 150 transfer students and 979 new graduated students, according to Joel Bauman, senior vice president for enrollment management. 

“As a philosophy, we seek intellectually motivated and academically curious individuals with leadership potential, students who have records of personal growth and community service who will thrive in our classrooms and bring vibrancy to our campus,” Bauman said. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bauman said that the biggest change this year was test-optional admission. For fall 2021 to fall 2022 freshman applicants, all majors are offering a test-optional opportunity. 

61% of the incoming class utilized the test-optional process, and Bauman said that the university will most likely maintain it for all programs at least until fall 2022. 

“[D] epending on the academic success of the students enrolled and future testing limitations, it will be reviewed then for future years,” he said. 

In addition to moving to an admissions process that was test-optional, Bauman said that the biggest challenge was the restriction of on-campus visits and interacting in-person with students, families and faculty members. 

“Staff and schools and faculty moved to a mostly virtual experience while also adapting the on-campus experience to follow all CDC and Health department guidelines,” he said. “We also created a fully online virtual opportunity to directly meet with counselors and instituted a ‘live chat’ feature for the admissions and financial aid office.” 

Nearly 40% of the incoming class comes from outside the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which Bauman attributed to Duquesne’s “national and international footprint and presence.” 

“Legacy communities and alumni around the country and world are proud of their education and help promote through vigorous word of mouth,” Bauman said. 

1,627 applicants were from Allegheny County, and Bauman said that local high schools are still the largest source of students that select Duquesne. 

“Our reputation is rock solid for having caring faculty who engage with students, walking beside them as they discover who they are and expand their horizons,” he said. “As a residential campus with a location with easy access to all areas of the city, students know they can make connections and learn together with one another, faculty, professionals and in communities here.” 

Despite the uncertainty of the past year, Bauman said that the focus has still remained on students. 

“Everyone in the Duquesne community rallied. The fact that students and faculty still participated in as much of a residential experience and as impactful and supportive a year bodes well for the future of Duquesne and of those students who will graduate and pursue yet bigger goals,” Bauman said.