On Monday February 19, 2018, numerous high school students came to tour Blue Mountain College and were introduced to the school's academic and sports programs. On this Preview Day, as potential students were thinking about their plans for the future, I got to meet with Dr. McMillin to discuss the plans in store for BMC.
One thing that was discussed was how the school was connecting with local high school and community colleges. Dr. McMillin mentioned preview days like the one that afternoon can help prospective students become introduced to the school. Another way BMC connects to potential new students is through an office and recruiter at North East Mississippi Community College. Dr. McMillin also mentioned that the "energetic" Impact drama team that performs at local high school is a great way to show the "great opportunities" that BMC offers.
Next, we discussed student attendance at Blue Mountain College, and Dr. McMillin mentioned that the Fall 2017 semester had a noticeable boost in admissions. Furthermore, the Spring 2018 semester had the highest student attendance for a Spring semester, hitting 578 students and leading to an incredible retention rate of 96%. After this record year, Dr. McMillin and the Board of Trustees have prayed for a reachable goal of 665 students to attend BMC in the Fall of 2018.
This growth in students comes in two ways: sports and academics. BMC has added multiple junior varsity teams such as basketball, baseball, and softball. Other additions include women’s golf, bowling, and a bass fishing team. Dr. McMillin also stated that the school would be obtaining a junior varsity cross country team.
The growth doesn’t stop there; the school is growing in its fine arts department and academic programs as well. The Fine Arts are expanding through the band, chorale, and the Impact team. Growth in academics comes from program reviews that help to involve each major.
Dr. McMillin said that she would love to see a Communication major added as well as a debate team to help grow “great achievement that is committed to leadership through civility.” Dr. McMillin adds that “Debate is an investment that produces leaders through communication.”
With this growth and a goal of even more students set for the future, the issue of sufficient available dorm space for resident students has developed. To begin to address this, BMC announced in early 2018 the plans for Patterson Hall. According to Dr. McMillin, the school is still in the process of gathering funds for the ten-million-dollar project. It is hoped that the dorm will be completed by the start of the Fall 2020 semester, ready to welcome many more Toppers to the expanding Blue Mountain family.