08/24/08 — Mount Olive College enrollment up 16 percent

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Mount Olive College enrollment up 16 percent

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 24, 2008 12:19 PM

Enrollment of new students at Mount Olive College -- including freshmen and transfers -- is up 16 percent, officials said Thursday.

Traditional classes resumed Wednesday, with what is believed to be the largest freshmen class since the college expanded to a four-year institution, said Tim Woodard, director of traditional college admissions.

"I know it is the largest since I started in 1987," he said.

Preliminary numbers showed 729 traditional students enrolled at the Mount Olive location, compared with 685 last year. There are 303 new students this year, including freshmen and transfers, as compared to 261 last year. Of those, the number of freshmen rose from 171 to 199.The freshman class this year also boasts three valedictorians from their respective high schools -- Robert Franks from Rosewood High School, Arlon Jones from Midway High School in Dunn, and Kelly Bowen from Wilmington, Del.

The increase could be attributed to several factors -- ongoing expansions that include new residential housing, additional buildings and programs, as well as the college's recent NCAA Division II national baseball championship.

Franks, of Goldsboro, said the latter played a part in his decision to attend the school.

"I chose Mount Olive College because I knew it was a good school with a good reputation," he said. "They were also able to give me the best financial aid package. In addition, I made the baseball team, and I was very excited to come play for the national champions."

Size was also the main attraction for Ms. Bowen, who said she has found additional benefits since her arrival.

"I like the fact that I am a name rather than a number, and the fact that you can walk the campus and feel safe," she said. "Everyone is so friendly here."

Jones was familiar with the campus through his sister, who graduated from MOC in 2001. He had also attended several functions on campus and came away with the notion that, "It just feels like home."

Growth for the college is definitely a positive, Woodard said.

"As our motto says, we are 'transforming lives and transforming education,'" he said. "The secret is out and we are attracting more and more students who are seeking a life-changing experience in an academic environment that is far from ordinary."