Freshman class lacks Jesuit High School students

NIA PORTER

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Loyola University prides itself on its rich Jesuit tradition, but the school failed to attract any students from New Orleans’ only other Jesuit institution this year -Jesuit High School.

Not one student from Jesuit High School’s graduating class of 2013 enrolled at Loyola this year, and it is something Keith Gramling, dean of admissions at Loyola, hopes to fix.

“I think one thing to be mindful of is that, at Jesuit, we did admit around 37 students,” Gramling said. “So it’s not that we did not offer admission, they just did not choose to attend.”

Allie Timberlake, Jesuit High School college counselor, said although graduates attended universities all over the country, the majority of Jesuit’s 2013 graduating class attended Louisiana State University – something she credits to the availability of the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, TOPS.

“Of the 88 percent of seniors who earned TOPS, a substantial amount of them used their award to attend Louisiana public universities,” Timberlake said.

LSU not only managed to attract most of Jesuit High School’s graduating class, but it also managed to enroll the majority of Mount Carmel Academy’s graduating class.

At a university senate meeting on Aug. 15, Roberta Kaskel, Director of the Career Development Center at Loyola, said that only four students in Mount Carmel Academy’s 2013 graduating class attended Loyola this school year.

“Most of my graduating class is attending LSU this year as well,” Jade Sorrell, a freshman chemical engineer major at LSU and recent Mount Carmel graduate, said. “I just thought that LSU was a better fit for me.”

According to Kaskel, the best way to fix this low enrolment is to build better relationships with the high schools in the New Orleans area..

“It’s about relationship building so people who live in our community see Loyola as a first choice school,” Kaskel said.

Gramling and the Office of Admissions plan on strengthening these relationships by bettering its approach. Along with the three to four visits admissions counselors make to each metro area high school a year, they also hope to host specific visiting days for each school around the city.

“Once students have had the opportunity to experience the Loyola community, they’re much more likely to enroll,” Gramling said. “That opportunity to interact with faculty and staff and students is so important in students making that decision, so, we’re really trying to expand opportunities for students to come to campus.Gramling said Loyola is focusing on attracting more students from Catholic high schools, like those from Jesuit and Mount Carmel; however, it is not to the exclusion of other public and private high schools around the city.

“I think that there’s a real energy surrounding Loyola, and interest continues to be quite strong from all of our metro schools,” Gramling said.

Nia Porter can be reached at [email protected] 

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