High schoolers hopeful to get traditional college experience next semester

Hampden County

(WWLP) – The college fall semester may be well underway but many universities are already trying to catch the eyes of next year’s prospective students.

A college fair was held at Western New England University with many high schoolers ready to take their education to the next level.

“I am very excited,” said Madeline Riechers of Dalton. “I live in a very small town, so I am looking towards bigger colleges. I am very social and I love meeting new people.”

Universities across the country saw a decline in enrollment during the pandemic according to a nationwide study by National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.  The study found that this past spring semester overall college enrollment fell to 16.9 million students from 17.5 million the year before.

Representatives at Western New England University say they’ve actually seen an increase in their enrollment.

“We actually brought in the fifth-largest class in school history,” said Christopher Wysterpek, Executive Director for Admissions Outreach and Recruitment, Western New England University. “The second-largest freshmen class. We increased our housing this year, We increased our housing this year, so overall we did fantastic.”

As high schoolers begin to look their perfect match, many are hopeful that despite the pandemic, they’ll get that full college experience.

“I hope it still feels more normal than it has been,” said Jocelyn Somers of Dalton. “Even with the masks, I hope we have the normalcy of actual classes and in person.”

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