JMU Changes: Admissions

2006-2007 JMU Admission Facts

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 15,653
  • Male / Female ratio: 39% / 61%
  • In-state/out-of-state ratio: 70% / 30%
  • Applications: 17,765
  • Applicants accepted: 62.6%
  • Applications accepted: 11,121
  • Applicants enrolled: 3,748
  • Applicants that picked another school after accepted: 7,373
  • Average SAT Score: 1140
  • SAT mid-50 percent range: 1080 – 1240

JMU is widely known as a party school, and many potential students deem it as their “backup school.” In fact, many Virginia residents joke that JMU stands for “Just Missed UVA.” The Commonwealth of Virginia has many quality schools (e.g. UVA, Va Tech, Richmond, William and Mary, Washington and Lee) so it’s hard for JMU to compete for admissions. However, in recent years JMU has seen an admissions boom, and the university’s reputation is drawing in more Virginia students and out-of-state students.

The issue facing JMU right now is quality vs. quantity. Does JMU want to admit a large student body filled with mediocre students or a small student body made up of top-notch students? I think that JMU should focus on maintaining a small student body and turning the school into a prestigious institute. However, the university can only snatch the top-notch students if they provide an inviting atmosphere that is conducive to learning. The University is receiving applications from top students, but many of them reject the offer after being accepted into a “better” school.

Potential college students pick school based on different criteria, and in this post I will review the issues that JMU needs to address to attract and retain high quality students.

-Areas of study: Students want to go to a school that has a program of study that captures their interest. For years JMU has been a top school for music, visual arts, graphic design, and education. JMU’s business school is developing a strong reputation, and Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) is attracting a lot of attention. 2008 will mark the first year of the new general engineering program, and hopefully this program will draw in more science/math students. There has been talk about starting a law program, and in 2005 JMU purchased the rights to Rockingham Memorial Hospital. I think that this facility should be utilized for medical school, dental school, or medical research facility. Schools with law, engineering, and medical programs usually attract the best students, and if JMU wants to compete on the national scene it needs to careful consider adding/expanding these programs.

Prestige: Students want to go prestigious schools that having meaning degrees – a degree that will impress future employers and open the doors to new opportunities. JMU hasn’t been around as long as other in-state schools, and as a result there isn’t a large network of alumni. Prestige isn’t developed over night – it takes many years to develop a favorable reputation and only a few to ruin your reputation. JMU needs to continue hiring high quality faculty, enhancing curriculum, and expanding research opportunities.

Fun: Even though some students won’t admit it, many select their college based on the amount of fun they think they’re going to have. Most college students want to go to a school that has a formidable academic reputation, but they also want to go to a school that allows students to have fun. This is probably the one area that JMU currently dominates. However, there is always room for improvement.

In the future I would like to see a “bar district” develop near current off-campus student housing, or off-campus student housing develop near downtown Harrisonburg. The University of Virginia has “The Corner”,the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has Franklin Street, and Virginia Tech has downtown Blacksburg. Currently, there are multiple bars in downtown Harrisonburg(Finnigan’s Cove, Dave’s Taverna, Mainstreet Bar and Grill, Calhoun’s, Artful Dodger, Luigi’s), and I enjoy visiting these establishments, however, most of the popular student apartments are located several miles away, and this distance makes it difficult to access these bars unless you are willing to shell out money for Taxi service. One of my main regrets as a JMU student is that I did not live in an apartment/house near downtown.

Additionally, I would like to see football and basketball tailgating a staple in every student’s life. If you ever visit an ACC or SEC school on gameday, you are sure to see students and fans tailgating in every nook-and-crannie on campus.


  1. finnegan

    “In the future I would like to see a “bar district” develop in Harrisonburg…”

    Do you ever go downtown? There are at least six bars within a 3 blocks. What sort of bar district are you referring to?

  2. Corbin

    Thanks for the comment. I clarified what I meant by “bar district,” and yes, I have been to dowtown Harrisonburg’s “bar scene.” However, I was just pointing out that I would like a “bar district” more accessible to where I live.

    I know what people are going to say. “You’re one of those yuppees that lives in that sea of apartments east of campus. It’s your own fault that you don’t live near a bar.”

    Yeah, you’re right. But imagine how much money could be made if there were bars located near Ashby, South View, Fox Hills, Squire Hill, the Devon Lane apartments, and Forrest Hills.

  3. finnegan

    The building where the University Outpost is used to be Chasers. Before that, it was Northern Exposure. Before that, it was J Willoughby’s. All of those were bars.

    I think one of the problems is that you have “drunk buses” that run to and from the party houses, but none that go downtown, or go to the bars scattered on the east side of town. But I agree with you that bars should be grouped together. When bars aren’t located near residential areas, and are all spread out, it encourages drunk driving.

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