The things Geneva College offers -- a solid education in a Christian atmosphere, small class sizes and an eye-opening 94 percent placement rate -- are apparently hitting home with prospective students.
The Beaver Falls college announced this week that it is, for the first time in its 160-year history, establishing a waiting list for incoming students. It has 425 incoming freshmen already enrolled, and can take no more unless some of those enrolled withdraw.
"Our increase in the number of new students is extremely encouraging," Geneva College President Ken Smith said in a written statement. He called the high level of interest "an affirmation of the value of a high-quality education taught from a Christian perspective."
Geneva typically admits about 68 percent of those who apply, and typically sees one student enroll for every 2.5 that are admitted. The need for a waiting list comes because a higher-than-usual percentage of those admitted are choosing to come, an indication that the college is becoming more attractive to prospective students.
The college's vice president of marketing, Edgardo Vencio, noted that the incoming class includes a number of foreign students and American students from as far away as Florida and Texas.
The placement rate is one of the college's selling points: 94 percent of graduates are either employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation. And almost 55 percent have jobs waiting before they graduate.
Geneva's 57 percent graduation rate is also relatively high.
Geneva has a strong affiliation with the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and states its purpose as preparing students "to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church."
It is relatively strong academically, with an average SAT score of 1100 and an average grade-point average of 3.4 for incoming freshmen. Tuition is $16,900 and the total annual cost about $26,000, with 91 percent of students getting some form of financial aid.
Total enrollment is just under 2,000, including about 600 graduate students. The most popular majors are Education, Engineering, Business, Christian Ministries, Psychology and Biology.
The college is also embarking on a renovation project based on the ongoing project to straighten Route 18 in the northern stretches of Beaver Falls.
Since it was created, Route 18 has jogged from 3rd Avenue to 4th Avenue across one block of 32nd Street in the heart of Geneva's campus, with two dangerous 90-degree turns.
The state Department of Transportation is in the process of creating a road that angles further to the south, eliminating the curves and freeing up more space on the Geneva campus.
Brian David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-375-6816.