Your Thoughts on Beloit

We have an Upper Midwest college tour coming up with S20. Beloit is on the list. I’ve heard so many positives about the school over the years but some of the items I’ve been reading about Beloit lately on CC are concerning:

  • Declining enrollment
  • Declining student retention
  • Declining budget
  • Reduced faculty salaries
  • Staff layoffs
  • Declining credit rating

How concerned should we be? If you have a child at Beloit or are a student there, what impacts are you seeing on the ground? How do you see this situation playing out?

We have been looking at Beloit as an option for D22 after reading about it in CTCL. The recent financial difficulties and changes at the school (such as reducing staff and reducing salaries for remaining staff) are unfortunate, and I hope the school will find a path forward.

I took a look at the common data sets for Beloit from 2005-6 to 2017-18, and found a significant difference in the data sets post test-optional (beginning with 2015-16) and the ten years prior. Comparing the average of the three test-optional years versus the previous ten years, the number of applicants has doubled, the yield is down significantly (14% versus 23%), the percentage of students in the top 10% of their high school class is down slightly, and the retention is down. The ACT scores of the students reporting is approximately the same as previous years, but only 42% of students reported any scores (SAT or ACT) in the 2017-2018 admission cycle.

It will be interesting to look at all of the numbers when the 2018-19 data set is released. The school has indicated that the retention rate this fall for returning freshmen is only 79% (compared to a historical level of 89%), and that the incoming class size is lower than desired.

I really wonder if the switch to test-optional has contributed to the current problems, particularly the retention and yield problems. At the very least, the change has led to a significant increase in the number of applicants, and it may take some time to get a predictable entering class with respect to size and quality.

We are still interested in Beloit, and will probably visit during D22’s junior year.

This is rarely asked (with respect to any college), which is one reason it is an interesting (implied) question.

My d is a senior at Beloit and has had a good experience there. Her class was the largest entering class in many years, and I think the class below was quite large too. So i wonder if they grew a little too quickly. They added a new dorm and are currently building a beautiful new rec/student union facility (which is fully funded, apparently from donations). I’m somewhat puzzled about how the college’s fortunes changed so quickly, but it’s a good school that I think will recover from one bad year.

My daughter is a junior transfer and loves Beloit. She tells me the students and professors have a high intellectual curiosity. It is a very diverse student body which is refreshing to see for a small Lac. Many small Lac’s are having similar issues. From people I know that are involved at the school it seems they will move forward and not be to impacted.

I also have a senior D this year. Beloit has been great for her so far. It seems that things are moving more slowly there this semester because of the staff reductions (as well as those leaving voluntarily now before they are cut later). However, I hope the drastic response will align the staffing to the student body size for future years so that the college can continue its success as a great LAC option in the Midwest.

I think Beloit’s biggest negative in attracting students nationwide is its location and the college can’t change that. While it’s not in the middle of nowhere in any sense…right off the interstate corridor from Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee, and Madison and relatively easy airport access…it’s not a town where high school seniors are chomping at the bit to go when they are trying to envision their ideal college experience. But, we love Beloit…the college and the town.

My D graduated in 2016 and Beloit was a great fit for her. I’m an alum and also a huge fan.

The issues this year (and last) were about yield and retention. The school seems to have a plan in place to address the financial issues. Beloit is very good about coming through these sorts of situations. They got hammered in the great recession and came out stronger.

They also have been through tougher times-- in the late 70s the college almost went under

My DD was accepted to Beloit with large merit scholarship and did the overnight (2016). She was not impressed with the campus (too small, no student union except a rather sad one with broken chairs and a coffee cart) and her overnight host basically told her not to come here.

That’s really unfortunate. My daughter a junior Transfer with a $30,000 merit loves Beloit. She went to a very good LAC prior but her experience at Beloit has been great. She sees the kids /faculty being more interesting, intellectual and academic then her previous LAC.

My son graduated from Beloit not quite two years ago and we still cannot say enough good things about the academics and the close relationships he developed with many of his professors (and the amazing outside-the-classroom opportunities that provided) some of whom he has stayed in touch with and who continue to encourage him in his chosen career. Alums he met as an applicant do the same. This is not unique at Beloit; many of his classmates have similar experiences. My husband and I went to “top colleges” and neither of us had this. My daughters at other “top colleges” do not either.

Yes, it is a small campus and some of the buildings are far from the country club style increasingly prevalent on college campuses (the new combination student union/athletic facility is going to be fabulous and the science center is amazing) and the location may not appeal to many college students. But if your priorities for college are excellent academics, close relationships with professors and an atmosphere that fosters and continues to foster even after graduation a passion for continued learning in your field, than Beloit deserves serious consideration.

@11colleges. I couldn’t say it better. My daughter just found out with her advisors help she will be presenting her research at a university and a major association that has to do with her field. They went out of their way to make both things happen. Both will look great on her resume.

I have a son who is a junior at Beloit, and I would put his experience on a par with that of his siblings who went to Williams and Tufts. Sure, Beloit is smaller - which means a more limited class selection, smaller faculties, and fewer resources overall - but three years in, I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Going in he was a semi-engaged student with a background as a partier in high school (OK, he was a recruited athlete) but thanks to the incredible hands-on nature of the school, the ease of developing relationships with faculty, and the opportunities for leadership in the smaller setting, he is now an intellectually engaged, curious, focused student and leader. I do think that the school had one bad year in admissions, but that shouldn’t be enough to cause big concerns. As for the physical plant, when you look close up the facilities overall they aren’t any worse than at the aforesaid schools. And when the Powerhouse opens in 2019, it’s going to be an amazing facility they can put up against any in the country.