For the first time ever, The University of Texas-Pan American has exceeded an enrollment of more than 14,000 students in a spring semester. Unofficial numbers indicate a 10.2 percent increase in enrollment for the 2003 spring semester compared to last year.
This semester, the University's enrollment reached 14,171, an increase of almost 2,000 from spring semester 2002.
"The University has developed many strategies to assist in enrollment," said Dr. John Edwards, vice president for Enrollment and Student Services. "This has been an effort in which all facets of the University can take credit. And the efforts continue."
The University has made an effort to increase enrollment by expanding programs; increasing the number of classes and seats offered; creating a more attractive campus - particularly with the added front entrance to the University, and the Visitors Center.
It has developed a marketing campaign both within and outside of the Valley; increased recruitment activities, created a more service-oriented attitude within University offices, and improved retention efforts such as the development of the Writing Center and various mentoring programs, according to Edwards.
Edwards said these efforts have lead to a more prepared group of students enrolling into the University.
"The students are coming into the University better prepared to be successful with our curriculum," Edwards said. "A larger percentage of our entering freshmen in fall 2002 had taken the more challenging recommended high school program in their high schools as compared to 25 percent of entering freshmen in 1994."
Many students across campus spent the first week finalizing schedules, buying books and paying off any outstanding bills with the University.
Returning freshmen that spent the fall semester getting acquainted with the campus are now more familiar with the procedure and are expecting a good semester.
"Last semester we were just getting to know our way around. Now we are back and feel more comfortable, like we belong. It's been interesting," said returning freshman Juan Hernandez.
Other students are preparing for a tough semester after taking a heavy load of hours for the semester.
"I'm juggling 18 hours of classes and being president of an active organization. It's like having classes and a full-time job, so to speak," said Fred Perez, senior engineering student.