Larger Population Causes Hectic Student Life

Pierce House in the winter snow.

The staff of the dining hall wander around, leisurely cleaning tables, or joke around while preparing food. Between the ‘A’ lunch period and the ‘B’ lunch period, there is a span of about 20 minutes where very few students come through the dining hall.

These split lunch periods are the result of Western Reserve Academy admitting a record 140 students this year, expanding the student population to 438, up from 404 last year.

These admissions decisions have been the basis for many more of the changes made to student life this year, such as chapel seating and packed dorms. When reached out to for clarification regarding admissions policies, multiple members of the Admission Office declined to comment.

Obviously bringing in more students to WRA makes the school more money, but there are many drawbacks. “[A]ll 3 years I been in the A we’ve been almost completely filled to capacity,” commented 4-year senior Taylor Harper ’22.

There simply are not enough rooms in many dorms for all the new students, even with Seymour House opening its doors as a dorm last year. According to 4-year senior Isabella Folio ’22, there have been multiple instances of two students being “shoved” into a single room this year, whereas previously “empty rooms or doubles [were] used as singles, but,” Isabella continued, “there is none of that this year.”

In addition to the dorm issue, some worry that WRA simply is not built to handle this many students; “[B]y making Reserve less selective you’re introducing more students into a culture that might be foreign to them,” Taylor expanded, “[Y]ou can see that through the general disconnect of the student body. I’m not saying letting more people in is bad but I am saying … that we need to be cognizant of how strong our foundations [are].”

Of course, new students were happy about higher acceptance rates and more opportunities to find a place to fit in. “I like having a lot of people in my year. Especially compared to my middle where I had a graduating class of 49. I really get to choose who I want to be friends with,” stated Marie Gentile ’25.

At the dining hall, students begin filing in, lining up in the lunch lines after 3 long morning classes. The dining staff quickly lapse back into working mode and start the process of serving students for the second time.

Jacob Coblentz ’22

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