The Daily Gamecock

In Our Opinion: Too many freshmen hurt school's progress

The Daily Gamecock loves freshmen. They provide us with a lot of new recruits, tons of stories and overall, it’s just fun to watch them get acclimated to campus. But 4,900 of them? That’s a bit of a concern.

We’ve been saying it for years, but here it is one more time: We don’t have room for 4,900 more people.

We don’t have places for them to live. We don’t have advisers for them to see. We don’t have classes for them to take. And we really don’t have the patience to deal with the problems that come from not having these things.

The university supposedly guarantees on-campus housing to 100 percent of the freshman class, but only 95 percent are able to live on campus this year. So not only does the university not have room for a huge majority of the upper classes; now, it doesn’t even have room for the freshman class. Maybe that’s a bad sign.

It’s time — again — for the administration to realize this and correct it. We really thought we were getting somewhere two years ago when President Harris Pastides promised that the university wouldn’t increase the size of the freshman class any further.

Last year, it was 70 people larger than before. This year, it’s 300 people larger. So this is awkward.
But a broken promise and a campus that is at its absolute maximum capacity aren’t the only things that we’re concerned with. If one of the university administration’s goals is really to make USC more competitive, they might consider actually raising the standards for admission.

USC’s acceptance rate this year was 63.1 percent, according to the Princeton Review. Meanwhile, the peer institutions that university leaders say they want USC to be like — the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia, for example — are notorious for extremely low acceptance rates. This year, they accepted 31.4 percent and 33.3 percent, respectively. If administrators really want to be as competitive as those colleges, they have to prove it.

But we get it. For all the great things that limiting the size of the freshman class could do, it would also limit the amount of money the university can make from tuition. Sure, that’s not ideal, but neither is living with two other people in a tiny dorm room.

So we’ve said it countless times before, and we’ll say it again: Things have to change.