Campbell has 4th best growth in admissions applications in U.S. over past decade

BUIES CREEK — According to an independent analysis conducted by Mic, a news site geared toward the Millennial Generation, Campbell University ranks No. 4 in the United States based on growth in admissions applications from 2003 to 2013.

Over that period, Campbell had a 289-percent increase in applications. No other private college or university in North Carolina was ranked on Mic’s list of the Top 25 universities based on gains in applications.

“The nearly 300 percent increase in applications to Campbell University over the past decade is a strong indicator that Campbell is offering what the young people of North Carolina and the region are looking for,” said Britt Davis, vice president for university advancement and assistant to the president.

In an article posted on its website Monday, Mic reported that it set out to determine the “most popular colleges in the country” by looking at the growth in admissions applications since 2003 based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Liberty University, St. John’s University, Case Western Reserve University, Campbell and Chapman University were the five universities to see the largest growth, in that order. Western Carolina University, a public university part of the UNC System, was the only other university in North Carolina on Mic’s list (ranked at No. 7, with a 270 percent growth in applications between 2003 and 2013).

Other universities in the Top 25 included the University of Chicago, Baylor University, University of Denver, Vanderbilt University, Marquette University and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Campbell’s increase in admissions applications over the past 10 years coincides with a period of unprecedented growth and expansion led by Jerry M. Wallace, who has been the university’s president since 2003 and who will step down from the position in June 2015.

In addition to a physical transformation of its main campus in Buies Creek, Campbell has added or announced new programs and initiatives that have strengthened the university’s reputation and raised its profile across the region and nation, Davis said.

Most recently, for example, Campbell’s Board of Trustees approved during its October meeting opening of the university’s eighth school — the School of Engineering. If approved by accrediting agencies, Campbell will launch the proposed school in the fall of 2016 and become only the second private school in North Carolina to offer an engineering degree.

Also during its October meeting, the Board of Trustees approved adding a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. Pending accreditation approval, the OTD program will welcome its first students in the fall of 2016.  

When begun, the OTD program will be the sixth health degree program that Campbell has started in the past five years to complement its nationally-renowned pharmacy school and to address the shortage of health professionals in North Carolina and the region.

In January 2013, the university opened the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine — the first medical school to open in North Carolina in 35 years. Now in its second year, the School of Osteopathic Medicine enrolls 322 students, putting it on track to become the second largest medical school in the state by 2016.

Other health programs launched in recent years offer degrees in physician assistant (2011), public health (2012) and physical therapy (January 2014). Campbell also held its first seminar this fall for its new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which has an enrollment of 85 students.

Also this fall, Campbell added its first degree programs that can be completed entirely online. As of September 2014, more than 100 students were enrolled across seven fully-online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in criminal justice, psychology, religion, information technology and security, information management, business administration, and clinical research.

In addition to these new academic programs, over the past 10 years, Campbell has grown its study abroad program, added Greek life (2013), and brought collegiate football back to campus (2008). The university also relocated its Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law to downtown Raleigh in 2009, making Campbell’s law school the only one in the capital city. Since the move, the law school has expanded its externship program and climbed in the national rankings, becoming a top-tier law school based on the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

“Through the addition of numerous academic programs in the health sciences, business, and engineering, and other changes that have transformed our campus and increased its name recognition,” Davis said, “Campbell has become a destination school for some of North Carolina’s brightest students.”

In September, a statistical report noted that Campbell enrolled more undergraduate students from North Carolina than any of the 36 private colleges or universities in the state.

According to data from the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Campbell enrolled 4,440 undergraduate students from North Carolina during the fall of 2013. On average, the 36 NCICU schools enrolled 1,073 undergraduates from North Carolina in fall 2013.

In addition, Campbell’s total undergraduate enrollment has increased by 20.5 percent since 2009. The average enrollment growth for NCICU schools over the same time period is 2.8 percent.