Newly admitted Lancers signed their names on a beach ball.

When 363 rising high-school seniors came to campus this summer and received the news that they were accepted into the Longwood Class of 2022, emotions were running high.

Students cried. Moms cried. Dads cried. Sometimes even the person delivering the news and welcoming them to the Lancer family cried.

“It’s hard not to get emotional and excited,” Cartie Pruitt, associate director for recruitment, said of the newly revamped program known as Lancer Summer Decision Days. That’s really what our job is about—helping them find their home here.”

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Lancer Summer Decision Days allowed rising high-school seniors to get an on-the-spot admission decision when they visited campus.

The program, which allows rising high-school seniors to get an on-the-spot admission decision when they visit campus, is a key factor in the recent boom Longwood has experienced in early applications. As of Oct. 10, applications were up 215 percent compared with that same date five years ago.

“We changed the program so that it’s more of a special experience and not just a typical college visit,” said Dean of Admissions Jason Faulk. “It was highly successful. The applications for fall 2018 are trending very positively and above every level where we have been in the past.”

This year, for the first time ever, Longwood had received more than 1,000 applications for the next year’s class by Oct. 1. Of those applications, more than half were connected to the 12 Lancer Summer Decision Days events. Longwood’s increased name recognition from hosting the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate is also driving awareness and the increase in early applications, Faulk said.

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Not only does the summer program impact applications, but it also helps both enrollment and retention rates. Faulk noted that more than 80 percent of the students who are accepted through Lancer Summer Decision Days ultimately enroll.

Efforts to recruit next fall’s freshman class are building on a very firm foundation. The 1,100 members of the class who arrived on campus in August 2017 constituted not only one of the largest entering classes in school history but also the most diverse and accomplished. They are likely to be followed next year by a similarly gifted group of freshmen, said Faulk.

“We are seeing an increase in applications from students with higher GPAs,” he added

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