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Welcome to Randolph: Largest first-year class in six years arrives on campus

Class of 2027

President Sue Ott Rowlands offered a special welcome to the “mighty” Class of 2027 during Randolph’s Convocation ceremony.

“I speak for all of us when I say how happy we are to have you join our community,” she said, “and I hope you know how much we are looking forward to getting to know you.”

Randolph welcomed its largest class in nearly six years this fall, a talented, diverse group that only adds to the momentum the College has experienced over the last year.

“When I think about all that we’ve accomplished as a College, it is clear to me that we did these things because we worked together and because we believed we could do them,” she said during Convocation. “New academic programs. New athletic programs. Our largest first-year class in six years. New opportunities to connect with our local Lynchburg community. Renewed efforts to be a student-ready campus.

“By working together,” she added, “we are already defining ourselves in new ways and moving forward to meet the challenges of this era.”

The class includes 200 new students, which is a 36 percent increase over last year, and a total of 228 new students, including transfers, which is a 30 percent increase.

“We are extremely proud of the growth that we are seeing,” said Travis Carter, dean of admission and financial aid.

The growth can be attributed to a number of factors. Randolph has seen a tremendous response from prospective students and families to its new TAKE2 curriculum model, which was launched two years ago.

Under this model, students take two classes each seven weeks, with no classes on Wednesday.

“We know TAKE2 has made a difference in our enrollment, not to mention the success our students are having in the classroom,” Carter said. “We have seen increases in test scores, the number of students on the Dean’s List, attendance and more. Families see the difference TAKE2 is making in the lives of our students on campus, especially when you combine that with our small, beautiful campus, growing academic and athletic programs, affordable tuition, and caring faculty and staff.”

The TAKE2 model also allowed the College to offer a new program this fall that provided students with an easier–and faster–way to transfer or enter college.

Under the new plan, students could enroll to start classes at the beginning of Session 2 in October. Most colleges make students wait until the next semester to transfer or enroll.

“We want to make Randolph as accessible and affordable as possible in order to open this enriching experience to more students,” Ott Rowlands said. “Not only does TAKE2 make us distinctive in the higher ed environment, it allows us added flexibility in situations like this.”

The College has also expanded its academic offerings, adding six new majors, two new master’s programs, and an honors program. The athletic program is growing as well, with four additional sports (women’s STUNT, men’s volleyball, and women’s and men’s wrestling) scheduled to begin in 2024-25.

“We are doing the right things in terms of marketing the incredible experience that is available to students at Randolph,” Carter said. “This incoming class is also extremely diverse, with 50 percent identifying as a person of color. Our high school GPAs have increased, and the number of first-generation students is nearly double what it was last year.”

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