This year’s freshman class at Bethel is one of the largest ever at the school. It’s good news for Bethel, which has struggled with declining enrollment in recent years. Those declines in enrollment have contributed to cutbacks in staff and faculty. This year’s 293 member class is significantly larger than last year’s class of 224 students and it’s the biggest freshman class since 2009, which had 309 students in it. “There were so many new things we were trying this year, so it's hard to pinpoint which of the new things made the greatest difference,” said Andrea Helmuth, director of admissions. “New programs like the rugby team, lacrosse, drum line, all of that contributed to some of that growth as well. I would also add that it was a campus wide effort. The admissions team did a phenomenal job in thinking of new things to do and trying those things, but I would underscore that it was a campus wide effort.” Helmuth said the admissions office also changed how it went about visits to high schools and it worked hard to get financial aid information out much quicker to students. “It wasn't the biggest (class), but we're getting pretty close,” said Helmuth. Two roommates in the girls dorm Shupe, Allison Croft and Megan Weier, talked about what drew them to Bethel. Both have siblings that have either already graduated, or are current students, at Bethel. “I wanted to know that everyone around me had the same morals,” said Croft. Weier said, “I really like the nursing program. It is very good.” The admissions office will continue its work to reverse the recent trend of declining enrollment. This year's class was a good start.