Heath Hutcheson, Campus Carrier staff writer

As Berry prepares for 2023-2024 and reviews potential student applications, many are wondering what exactly the schematics are looking like, considering how recent years have shown enormous growth in student applicants.

“This is our fourth or fifth year with record breaking applicants. We typically try to bring in like 530-ish I believe. Our numbers as far as each class are pretty consistent,” Zackry Smith, an Admission Counselor at Berry said.

Berry applications end on February 15th, and as usual, a large amount of students applied. While many have agreed this is great for growth, it has been resulting in some management difficulties.

“Berry is just a very popular place, so there is a certain type of student that is attracted to Berry that is applying and these are really great students and they’re getting admitted. These students are also depositing, which when they deposit that also locks their position into the incoming class, so what’s been happening these past few years with our record breaking applicants is [being limited by the number of beds and spaces at Berry],”  Smith said.

The Admissions Office also hopes to bring in a group of incoming students each year from a variety of different ethnic, financial and educational backgrounds in order to provide a culturally rich and engaging environment.

“Berry wants the group to be very diverse,” Smith said. “Berry wants smart students, marginally smart students, and even students who maybe didn’t even necessarily do their absolute best in high school but Berry wants to provide those students with resources they can use to excel.” 

Another priority this year is to create a community that is very welcoming in order to ease in students with difficulties that may be out of their control.

“Maybe some students did not necessarily have the resources that other students had or possibly had bad family situations,” Smith said. “Whatever it may be, Berry wants to open the door for those students as well, because four years here at Berry with the resources we have, the student experience they’ll gain and the community here could change their lives dramatically, especially first generation students.” 

Many may also be wondering how financial aid is exactly handled at Berry. It is recommended that families fill out a FAFSA as soon as possible and look at scholarship opportunities wherever they can.

“As for financial aid, we obviously encourage families to fill out a FAFSA, and we really need that from families to consider whether they are eligible for financial aid,” Smith said. “If we’re talking about need based aid, that is generated from a student’s FAFSA information, which tells us what their family can basically handle financially. Once a family fills out a FAFSA, that spits out an EFC (estimated family contribution), which is information we keep that information very close to the chest.”

Student applicants are also given the opportunity to receive certain grants and scholarships which help with their costs, some that are even exclusive to Berry.

“From a federal standpoint, those students can be eligible for the Pell Grant which is set in place for low income families to aid their costs for college,” Smith said. “For us at Berry, everyone receives an academic merit award, which is based on their GPA. We are test blind here at Berry, so we do not look at their test scores when considering either their admission or their academic merit.” 

Such an exorbitant and overwhelming amount of applicants has inevitably resulted in some hassle, but a hassle that brings with it some benefits.

“It’s getting better and better each year, which some may look at as a problem to have such record breaking numbers, but it’s a good problem to have,” said Smith.

Posted by Campus Carrier

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