Thousands of families are expected to hit the Montclair State University campus on Sunday to attend Accepted Student Day.

For the third straight year, the public institution may welcome its biggest incoming class on record.

"I think that students want to be on campus ... more than they want a remote experience," Jordanna Maziarz, director of undergraduate admissions for Montclair State, told New Jersey 101.5.

Months into 2023, colleges and universities across the Garden State are getting their first real sense of post-COVID volume. The deposit deadline for wannabe students is May 1.

Montclair State University
Photo courtesy of Montclair State University

According to Maziarz, applications from potential students are up by nearly 80% compared to pre-pandemic 2019.

"This feels like the new normal," she said.

The university has been increasing its capacity and plans to do the same in fall 2023, Maziarz said. Typically, 25% to 30% of would-be students don't declare their intention to attend Montclair State until the May 1 deadline or right before it.

And after that date, colleges still experience "summer melt," as students who commit decide to take a different route and never truly enroll.

Rider University is seeing record numbers in terms of campus visits and open-house attendance, according to Drew Aromondo, vice president of enrollment management.

"There's been a lot of good indicators along the way," Aromondo said.

Peter G Borg/Rider University
Peter G Borg/Rider University

Applications are up at Rider, and the university has increased its admission standards a bit, Aromondo said.

At Rider, about half of a fall semester's incoming class commit between April and May 1.

New Jersey and the northeast region are in a favorable position for the next few years because of a high volume of high school graduates. A several-year decline in graduates is expected after 2026.

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