Flutie Effect? U of L Stops Accepting First Year Student Applications Earlier Than Ever

The University of Louisville has stopped accepting applications for first year students after seeing an 11-percent increase in submissions from the previous year.

This is the earliest U of L has maxed out the number of applicants its accepted—which is around 10,000— and officials say the success of the Cards men’s and women’s basketball teams are only part of the reason.

U of L’s director of admissions Jenny Sawyer says national exposure from the NCAA Championships and Final Four Tournament this year likely increased some students’ interest.

“But students don’t make decisions based on athletic success, but what athletic success and exposure does, it gets a student on our campus to visit,” she says.

Sawyer also attributes U of L’s growing profile to the increase in first year applications, including improved campus facilities and increasing the number of students living on campus. Around 11 percent—or 300—of students who will be enrolled are from out-of-state, which is on the high end, Sawyer says. Even though last year around 10 percent—or 264—of those first year students enrolled were from out-of-state.

“When you’re talking about 300, 40 more is a nice increase,” she says. 

Sawyer has tracked the out-of-state applications for the last 13 years. She says the highest the out-of-state application rate has been has been 11 percent during that time. Her numbers do not include the six Indiana counties that surround Louisville that are part of bi-state agreement where Hoosier students can pay in-state tuition.

The school will likely enroll closer to 3,000 of those students and officials expect this to be the largest incoming class in school history.

Officials further say applications were coming in at an even faster last fall before the football and basketball teams’ success, but last year there applications were never halted.

In 2007, The Economist discussed the “phenomenon known as the Flutie effect”:

The popularity of a successful sports team acts as advertisement for the university. This encourages more students to apply to it; a phenomenon known as the “Flutie effect”. This is a reference to Boston College’s Doug Flutie, whose miraculous pass in a 1984 football game contributed to a dramatic victory over the University of Miami. This play led to a large increase in applicants to Boston College the following year.

 

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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