Wildcats pounce into top tier of colleges

Northern Michigan University’s enrollment report is out and there appears to be more Wildcats roaming the halls than in years past.

The number of incoming freshmen pursuing bachelor’s degrees increased by 2 percent compared to last year’s figure which could help counter the exiting effect of one of the largest graduating classes in school history. The new class added some weight to the academic arena as well, bumping the average ACT score and high school grade-point average to 22.9 and 3.17 respectively. First-time graduate student enrollment also went up to its highest point in the last five years, increasing by 35 percent. NMU officials intensified their focus on retaining enrolled students last year, and the initial outcome shows a 7.4 percent increase in retention among a control group of at-risk freshmen, who are now sophomores.

US News and World Report seems to have taken note of the new and improved figures, placing NMU in the top tier of Best Midwest Regional Universities and in the Top 100 of the 2014 edition of Best Colleges.

While the report is mostly glowing, there was a decrease in transfer students and smaller sophomore and senior classes. The total headcount is now 8,879, down 2 point four percent from last years start. The four largest academic programs at NMU remain art and design, with 619 majors; nursing, 554; criminal justice, 396; and elementary education, 230.