2021 Fall Open House

Bucknell Breaks Application Record for Second Straight Year

January 26, 2022

by Mike Ferlazzo

Families participate in Bucknell's Fall Open House. Photo by Michaela Bracken '22

In spite of the challenges associated with the ongoing pandemic, Bucknell University has set a new application record for a second consecutive year. As of Jan. 17, Bucknell had received 11,364 applications — more than 100  more than last year's record of 11,263. Vice President for Enrollment Management Lisa Keegan expects the University to receive approximately 200 more applications before May. 

Prior to the last two years, the previous record was 10,967 applications in 2015.

This year's record applicant pool includes a 15% increase in applications from international students, a 7.5% increase from students of color and an 18.5% increase from students who would be the first in their family to attend college. There was also a slight increase in religious diversity among the applicants.

Keegan attributes some of the application record to finding the right balance in reaching students virtually and with in-person offerings.

"Our team was able to resume some fall travel to high schools and college fairs, and we have been welcoming prospective students to the University through campus tours and small-scale open house events," Keegan says. "We have experienced increases in applications from the South and West and attribute that success to Bucknell's presence with regional representatives in California and Florida."

The University employed a multipronged approach to inviting prospective students and their families to learn more about its academic offerings and campus life. This includes a menu of new ways to tour campus in person or from home.

Bucknell continues to attract prospective students from across the nation because of its robust residential educational experience that offers top-ranked liberal arts, engineering and management programs in three distinct colleges: Arts & Sciences, Engineering and the Freeman College of Management. The University began the current academic year by welcoming its largest incoming class in history. The 1,031 new students in the Class of 2025 were part of a record opening enrollment of 3,810 students (3,774 undergraduates and 36 graduate students on Aug. 17, 2021). The record incoming class came from 34 states and 43 countries.

Bucknell's ability to safely offer in-person instruction throughout the last two academic years, an effort girded by stringent health and safety protocols, has also played a role in encouraging prospective students to apply.