FDU sees rise in applications from out of state students
Maryland native and junior Jamal Jefferson attends the Interfaith Harmony Ceremony at the United Nations on February 14, 2013. Fairleigh Dickinson University’s close relationship with the U.N. factored greatly into Jefferson’s decision to attend school here.
By Kenna Caprio
College students are flocking to New Jersey — and more specifically, to Fairleigh Dickinson University. Approximately 28% of admitted students for the Class of 2017 live out of state.
“What I find is that kids from out of state appreciate the proximity to New York City and take advantage of campus life,” says Jonathan Wexler, Vice President of Enrollment Management.
Wexler says in recent years the University has seen an uptick of interested students in Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Ga.; Miami, Fla.; Southern California; Arizona; Washington; Albany and Syracuse, N.Y.
Admissions counselors travel across the country to these cities and states to visit regional college fairs and tell high school students about Fairleigh Dickinson University.
“These students like the two-campus structure because it provides them with a lot of choices,” says admissions counselor Elizabeth Jung, whose territory includes Texas.
Brittany Scoles, an admissions counselor who recruits in California, Connecticut and upstate New York, adds that springtime Admitted Students Days help out-of-state students decide on FDU. “They see the campus and fall in love. Seeing student life gives them a feel for the University.”
Two students who “fell” for FDU now work in Admissions as student ambassadors: Mandy Morris, hailing from Southern California and studying at College at Florham, and Jamal Jefferson, hailing from Maryland and studying at the Metropolitan Campus.
“I’m very adventurous and wanted to experience something totally new. I figured that college would be the best time to go somewhere completely different than home,” says Morris, a sophomore and native of Laguna Beach, Ca. She also was impressed by the University’s business school and wanted a school “that treats the students more like people and not like a number.”
California girl Mandy Morris cheers for the home team at the College at Florham. The sophomore also works as a student ambassador and studies business at FDU.
Before arriving at FDU, Morris’s first choice was Purdue University. “I had my heart set on Purdue, but after I visited, I decided I’d be happier at FDU. After touring Purdue, I saw that it was massive and I was overwhelmed. When I visited FDU, everybody was so nice and easy to talk. The campus is quaint,” she says.
“I got my acceptance letter in the mail from FDU. A couple of schools I applied to sent me an admission letter through email. It took away from the whole experience of ‘This is it — am I going to get in or not?’” says Morris.
When prospective students ask her about life at FDU and the College at Florham, they often focus on her out-of-state student status. “I get asked a lot about how people reacted to me being from California and if I’ve been accepted by students who grew up in New Jersey,” she says.
Morris reassures her tour groups, explaining that coming to FDU from out of state wasn’t a big issue. She admits that while it took her some time to adjust to East Coast mannerisms, especially the hand gestures and voice projection, it didn’t take much for other students to make Morris feel comfortable. In addition to being a student ambassador, the business major is also a cheerleader.
“One of my favorite things is that the school really promotes student involvement. I watched my brother (at Purdue), and he never got involved because they put extra emphasis on the GPA,” she says. “That’s here too, of course, but the University also wants you to be involved in clubs, internships and things that make you learn how to network and socialize.”
For Jefferson, FDU’s appeal was all about the University’s United Nations connection. Appropriate, considering his major: international studies.
In “Model U.N. Comparative Politics,” a favorite high school class of Jefferson’s, he studied the inner-workings of the United Nations, political theories and global governance. As he and the other students engaged in mock debates, Jefferson realized he’d figured out his future course of study.
“At my high school, we have a computer program where we could put in our preferences for college, and when I typed in international studies, all different schools popped up, including Fairleigh Dickinson University,” says Jefferson, a junior originally from Owings Mills, Maryland.
Attending school out-of-state is a way for Jefferson to “put roots down in a different area. I wanted to go out of state, to a school with my major and a good financial aid package.” FDU fit the bill.
“I’m very involved here. I work in the Office of Global Learning, serve as a student ambassador, participate in the Global Scholars Program and am the Tae Kwan Do Club president,” says Jefferson.
On tours with prospective students and parents, Jefferson emphasizes the global nature of the Metropolitan Campus.
“I tell students on tours that it’s a very diverse campus, a globally-connected school. You make friends from all around the world when you come here. And with Facebook, you can keep in contact with them,” he says.
With an eye to the future, Jefferson is taking advantage of any United Nations opportunities he can, plus the chance to build relationships with faculty.
“FDU is a great school to come to if you want to network — so many professors known people in the business world, he says. “They can help you in the long run with future job opportunities.