PEI

UPEI applications unexpectedly soar by more than 30%

The number of students looking to attend UPEI this fall is up by more than 30 per cent, according to the university.

'It's a very welcome nightmare! When does a dream become a nightmare?'

An unexpected application increase of 30% will translate into more admissions this fall, says UPEI. (CBC)

The number of students looking to attend UPEI this fall is up by more than 30 per cent, according to the university.

Robert Gilmour, UPEI's vice-president academic and research, said overall application numbers are up more than 30 per cent while, international applications are up more than 100 per cent, Canadian applications are up six per cent and P.E.I. applications are up three per cent.

"Given the fact that we have historical rates of conversion of applications to actual students showing up at the door, we're very encouraged that we're going to have an increase in our enrolment come this fall," Gilmour said.

He said there are fewer students of university age on P.E.I. each year.

Part of a plan

While the increase is higher than expected, Gilmour said the university has been working on plans to increase enrolment for the last three years.

UPEI's renewed recruitment efforts are paying off, says the university's Robert Gilmour. (UPEI)

"We're aware of the demographics, and aware of just the financial realities of the university," he said.

"So there's been a renewed emphasis and focus on recruitment — particularly international recruitment."

Gilmour noted the best recruiters are students who've had a positive experience at UPEI.

The university's small size and Charlottetown's welcoming and safe community are a big plus for many international students, Gilmour said, adding the university receives a high number of applications from China and Nigeria, as well as more than 60 other countries. 

New programs in engineering and mathematical and computational sciences are also drawing in new recruits, he added. 

"These are skill sets that will translate almost directly into employment," Gilmour said.  

"We were pleasantly surprised," by the number of domestic applications, he said, crediting the high visibility of UPEI's new programs.

UPEI has also maintained some of the lowest tuition and fees in Canada, Gilmour added. 

'Welcome nightmare'

So how does the university prepare for a big bump in students? 

"It's a very welcome nightmare! When does a dream become a nightmare?" Gilmour said.

"We wouldn't go out and recruit more students if we couldn't accommodate them," he said, adding the university is planning more courses and instructors, as well as some larger class sizes. 

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With files from Angela Walker

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