Interview with Falone Serna, Vice President for Enrollment Management

Stephanie Whang, Whittier College


This response from Falone Serna, Vice President for Enrollment Management, discusses changes to enrollment for the 2020-2021 year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This interview was performed through email correspondence. The college experienced a 40% decline in applications, as well as many students taking leaves of absence or delaying their enrollment. Online learning also meant that campus tours could not be held, which Mr. Serna notes is important for incoming students. He also mentions the challenges that student athletes, international students, and low-income and first-generation students. Student athletes make up approximately a third of the Whittier student body. Low-income and first-generation students make up a significant amount of the population, and international students face additional complications regarding the status of their visas. The insight into how Whittier College handled enrollment challenges is a significant perspective to take into account.