**Additional reporting by Tess Kellogg**
Vanguard’s total enrollment this semester is the highest it has ever been, with 1,570 traditional undergraduate students exceeding the previous largest total of 1,539 in fall 2013. The increase comes with the addition of new sports, a new major, and a more focused recruitment system, according to Kimberly Johnson, Vice President of Enrollment Management.
The class of 2022 is the largest incoming freshman class with 459 students, beating the class of 2012 which had 439 students.
Many students around campus have been commenting on how the campus feels really crowded this semester.
“It feels like more students, because it will be more students than last year when all things are said and done,” Johnson said.
Based on capacity studies the university has done, Vanguard is not close to what they have deemed to be the capacity of managing undergrad students when it comes to housing, classroom, and parking according to Johnson.
“Nothing that happened this fall was a surprise or unplanned,” Johnson said.
It was planned growth, according to Johnson, and the university is continuing to focus on planned but manageable increases in enrollment.
Nursing, the newest major on campus, brought in a group of 24 students. The stunt team increased the number of participants as well as the addition of the new sideline cheer. Both men and women’s golf were introduced as a new Vanguard sport and brought in 13 students.
The building of the new student center also played a roll in new enrollments as students had a new facility to look forward to. Johnson said this played a role with students that were finalizing their decision on which College to attend. The tour guides were able to mention the construction during tours.
The admissions team also had a greater focus on Vanguard’s geographical backyard; they chose to focus on the students that are local and want a small Christian private school education. They have seen a growth in enrollment in the Orange County area and the key school districts and high schools nearby, which caused a two percent growth in commuter students.
Along with the growth in enrollment from students in Orange County, San Bernardino and Riverside county are two other areas that have major enrollment growth.
Just as with any school, the increase in Vanguard’s enrollment is limited by the property it currently occupies. There is currently a 30-year plan in the process of being approved by the Costa Mesa City Council that will allow for Vanguard to build a new dormitory building, new academic buildings, a parking structure, and other improvements that will allow the university to house and educate more students in the future.
The university is looking to add more graduate programs that they can offer students that are looking to get a masters degree. The current graduate psychology program has had four fall semesters in a row with 300 or more students. With the addition of an off-campus site in Santa Ana, that opened this year to house the program, they look to grow even more.
A community counseling center for the graduate psychology program is in the works for the Santa Ana location that would be ran by Vanguard Graduate students, which will increase awareness about Vanguard as a whole while subsequently increasing the number of enrollment in the future.