Ella de Jong — staff writer
The first day back at Dordt University brought both the start of the spring semester and the largest total spring enrollment in the institution’s history. Despite many challenges, Dordt University has managed to reopen its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide a Christian education to undergraduate and graduate students, a major factor in the institutions rise in enrollment.
The fall semester started with 1,666 total students—a record for the fall semester. The spring semester has 1,623 total students—a record for the spring semester. Undergraduate students were drawn to Dordt for not only the in-person classes, but also the community and Christian atmosphere that the students have here on campus. Graduate students were drawn for the same reasons, even if they participate through online classes in different states. This semester there are 1,261 full-time undergraduate students and 236 graduate students.
Dordt University is having largely in-person classes, with some exceptions for online classes or hybrid course plans. This has been a draw for many students, especially the freshman class some of whom were convinced on going to a public university before COVID-19 hit.
Seth de Jong, a freshman studying agriculture business, planned on attending Michigan State University. You can now often find him learning at the Agriculture Stewardship Center.
De Jong picked Dordt “because Dordt has an in-person school, when all other schools are online.”
The freshmen are not the only factor in the growth of Dordt University. The retention rate for the sophomore class reached 83.8% this year.
“I think Dordt also has a love for everyone,” Morgan Fopma, a biology sophomore, said, “and when people find their place they love it here.”
The Dordt community reaches to more than those on campus. The online master’s programs are growing and the master of education program has more than doubled in three years.
“I think it’s doubled because it has such a great reputation, first of all,” graduate student Debra de Jong said, “Second of all, it’s so biblically based.”
De Jong said that she has many reasons for choosing Dordt for a higher education. She wanted a biblically-based program to continue her education and found it at Dordt. She also knew of the education program’s reputation and felt impressed with the different avenues that a student can take in the master of education program.
“They make all of our work very, very applicable to what we do,” de Jong said, “They know that we’re all working in schools already, and I’m able to directly apply what I’m learning.” In a time when college enrollment around the country is dropping, partially due to health and financial insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dordt University is breaking records.