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Stillwater high school ranks highest in new freshmen at UW-River Falls

Falcon News Service

January 31, 2017

New data show River Falls High School isn’t in the top three feeder high schools for UW-River Falls.

“Feeder school” is a label given to high schools and technical colleges that contribute a significant amount of students to universities. According to UWRF’s admissions office, River Falls High School is ranked No. 4 in a recent list of the top 12 high schools contributing students to the university’s 2016-2017 freshman class. Only 17 students from the high school’s 2016 graduating class enrolled in UWRF while other high schools in the region provided the university with higher numbers of students.

Sarah Egerstrom, UWRF’s executive director of Admissions & New Student and Family Programs, said she is not surprised by the data.

“I think there’s a variety of reasons,” Egerstorm said. “I think we still have a strong reputation in the community but there’s some students that want to get away for college. They don’t want to continue their education in their hometown.”

The No. 1 feeder high school for the university is Stillwater Area High School in Stillwater, Minnesota, which contributed 29 students to the current freshman class. Hudson High School in Hudson came close to first place with 25 students attending UWRF. New Richmond High School in New Richmond, Wisconsin, rounds out the top three with 20 students.

“It just so happens that many of our students like that a university is close to home, and UWRF has programs many of our students want to pursue such as animal science or agriculture,” said Shannon Bartlett, a school counselor at New Richmond High School.

According to Egerstrom, the university is always looking to improve the number of students it recruits from area high schools.

“The institution always has an eye on growing the size of the freshman class. Our goal is to always strengthen both the number of students coming from high schools as well as the quality of those students,” Egerstrom said.

Every year, the university’s admission counselors visit close to 200 high schools in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Despite all of their efforts to recruit as many students as they can from each school, high school counselors try to provide several options for students.

“We focus more on what our students are looking for in post-secondary education,” Bartlett said. “Our counseling department does quite a bit of academic and career planning with our students and if UWRF fits what they are looking for, we absolutely encourage them to take a look.”

Besides high schools, the university also directs attention to students looking to transfer from another institution. In the fall of 2016, the university saw 76 students transfer into the university from Century College in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, and 40 students from Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

“We are visiting those campuses, working with our academic departments on campus for transfer policies and agreements to try and make it easier for students to transfer their credits to UWRF,” Egerstrom said.

Last year, the university enrolled students from over 430 high schools.