JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When classes start this fall, one local college is expects to see more students than they predicted.
Officials at Edward Waters College say they have seen a 70 percent increase in applications over last year. And even more students have been admitted.
Officials say they have really been focused on recruiting, reinventing themselves here in Duval County and also focusing on some of the biggest cities in our state, like Miami, Orlando and Tampa. That's where the majority of the students who have applied come from, here in Florida.
When Andre Stevens first came to EWC, he came to play football. Now, when this math major graduates next year he'll be the first in his family to earn a college degree.
"It's definitely the family vibe here because once you find that close knit feeling, it's like you guys are there forever," said Stevens. That's why it's good for him to know more students will be walking this campus next year than expected.
EWC's Office of Admissions is reporting a dramatic increase in the number of applications to the institution for the 2015-2016 academic years. This time last year, the school received just over 1800 applications. This year, the school has more than 3,100 -- a 70 percent increase.
The college is also reporting a triple-digit increase in the number of students who have been admitted to the institution. EWC has already accepted 1,537 students compared to the 742 students who were accepted last summer.
One of those students will be Gabrielle Williamson, who just graduated from Sandalwood High School and is heading to EWC will a full softball scholarship.
Williamson says she was drawn to the college for a number of reasons.
"It's here in town and I know a couple of the people that go here and some of the staff and things and I think it's a nice little college," Williamson said. "It's different, smaller, and I think it would be nice; I think I would fit in."
"That's saying something really big for your institution. That's saying, 'Edward Waters College is here and Edward Waters College is on the rise,'" said Joel Walker, director of admissions.
The admissions office says now, the next stage is getting students confirmed and on campus.
If you are interested in attending EWC, you still have time. The deadline for students to apply for the Fall 2015 semester is July 31st. You can apply online at www.ewc.edu.