With a viral video, a championship volleyball team, and now a surge in new student applications, Brandon University is riding a high wave lately.
On Saturday, the university’s admissions department released figures that show new student applications have jumped 20 per cent compared to the same month last year, reaching its highest level in four years.
The university says 636 potential students have submitted applications for the term beginning in the fall. That compares to 528 in February 2012, 619 in 2011 and 567 in 2010. BU’s overall annual enrolment is more than 3,000.
"This year to date, we have seen a substantial increase in student applications," said BU director of admissions Murray Kerr. "This number includes international and domestic, graduate, undergrad and EAP students — anyone considering BU."
BU president and vice-chancellor Deborah Poff attributes the high number to increased funding in recruitment and retention, including a number of new administrators.
"We’re also dedicating a lot more resources to international recruitment," she said.
"Students, parents and alumni recognize that we offer a quality of education unavailable at other institutions. We are proud of that and welcome each student who chooses BU."
BU has also ramped up mature student recruitment for those who never attended university after high school.
Students wishing to be considered for BU’s substantial scholarship program must apply by March 1. Over the past year, the university has awarded more than $1.4 million in scholarships.
While it probably wasn’t the reason for the application jump, the viral YouTube video showing BU men’s basketball coach Gil Cheung hitting a half-court shot at halftime on Feb. 15 now has close to 2.3 million views as of Sunday afternoon, which no doubt is increasing international awareness of the university.
Not only did the video garner national attention, it was also featured on a segment of American news channel CNN.
And the good news keeps coming.
The Brandon University Bobcats are the Canada West men’s volleyball champions and will head to Quebec City for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship, which gets underway on Friday.