Admissions Amidst the Sandusky Affair
Earlier in the week, Kevin Horne asked students not to transfer from Penn State due to the ongoing crisis. Freshmen have already spent thirteen weeks here, and I believe that this was the most exciting time of their lives. So far, they have seen football games, a canning weekend, concerts in the Bryce Jordan Center and a rich experience in education. But what about the high school students who have applied to Penn State? They have an outsider’s view not only of the university, but also the scandal that has ensnared the attention of the national media. Will the crisis cause them to cross Penn State off of their shortlists?
According to the admissions offices at University Park and the Commonwealth campuses, the effects from the Sandusky Affair on acceptances are not yet known. The campuses are experiencing normal levels for tours and admissions, if not above average, and they have not fielded any complaints from parents of prospective students. Hannah Brukardt, president of the Lion Scouts, reported that not only have tours had high numbers of families, but there has also been a greater level of spirit as well.
The World Campus was the only campus that responded to me that experienced negative effects from the scandal. Dave Aneckstein, Director of Outreach News and Communications, says that the World Campus has fielded nearly one dozen emails, but no phone calls, from prospective students who said that they were going to look elsewhere due to current events. The admissions office also received several emails from students who were reaffirming their commitment to attend Penn State. A majority, 54%, of World Campus students are from Pennsylvania, but Aneckstein did not have the specifics from the withdrawn applicants. Therefore, we do not know if the lost applicants are from Pennsylvania, where they could draw news from local media, or elsewhere, where they are more likely to have followed the scandal through the national media.
What about high school seniors? What do they have to say about their decision to apply to Penn State? Hunter Moore, the brother to Onward State contributor, Meghin Moore, writes that the scandal has not affected his decision to attend Penn State. He recognizes that the school is a “wonderful place, full of great people and achievements.” The actions of several men do not ruin the integrity of Penn State University, which he believes is one of the best schools in the country.
If any high school student had a strong desire to attend Penn State before the scandal, he or she would still want to attend our university. They recognize that we are more than the actions of several individuals or how the media portrays our school. However, if a student is vacillating among several colleges, I assume that the scandal will have an impact on his or her decision. It is necessary for us to wait several months to know if the Sandusky Affair had a significant effect on the number of applicants who accepted contracts for Penn State University.