Concordia Seminary, St. Louis continued its strong enrollment trend this fall when 124 new students enrolled in residential programs of study to prepare for service in the pastoral ministry. Of the 124 new students, 109 enrolled in the master of divinity program and 15 in the certificate program. When combined with the unusually high 137 new students two years ago, and the 121 new students in 2001, Concordia Seminary has experienced its three best consecutive years of new student enrollment since the early 1980s.
The Seminary’s admissions office prepares an annual “Class Profile” which analyzes many characteristics of the incoming class of students. Several interesting characteristics were discovered when the “2002-03 Class Profile” data were analyzed. “In summary, this year’s incoming class is comprised to a greater extent of students who are young, single, and are graduates of our Synod’s Concordia University System schools,” commented Rev. Jeffery Moore, the Seminary’s director of ministerial recruitment.
Data from the “Profile” support Moore’s observations. The incoming class is significantly younger than past classes. The average age of the incoming students is 27.5 years, versus 29.3 last year and 29.2 two years ago. This represents a significant decrease considering it represents the average age of more than 109 students. Data from future years will determine whether this is the beginning of a new trend.
For the first time in recent history, more than half (52%) of the incoming students are graduates of Concordia University System (CUS) schools. This compares with 46% last year and 47% in the previous year. CUS schools with the highest numbers of graduates in the Seminary’s incoming class include Seward (11), Mequon (8), Irvine, River Forest and St. Paul (7 each), and Ann Arbor (6).
Slightly more than half (51%) of the new students are single, compared with 47% in each of the two previous years. In the most dramatic shift of all, the incoming class brought a total of 49 dependent children with them, compared with 103 dependent children in 2001 and 79 in 2000. The vast majority of incoming married students (86%) had one or no dependent children. The average is .92 children/family compared with 1.72 children/family last year. All but one of the new certificate program students are married, and most have children who no longer live at home.
For the first time since 1998, more than half of the new students are “traditional students” who matriculate within two years of college graduation. Only 46% (compared with 53% last year and 57% in 2000) of the new students are classified as “second-career students,” meaning that they were employed in a vocation other than “student” for at least the two years immediately prior to seminary enrollment. All of those in the certificate program are “second-career.”
Additional data from the 2002-03 Class Profile includes the following data gleaned from the incoming class of master of divinity program students, with additional references made to those enrolled in the certificate (alternate route) program.
District of Origin:
The top five Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) districts of origin for students provided 43% Concordia Seminary’s new students in 2002. These top five districts in terms of the number of new students provided this year include Michigan (12), Missouri (11), Northern Illinois (10), Northwest (8) and Pacific Southwest (6). Five districts provided no new students in 2002-03.
A significant percentage (76%) are lifelong LCMS members. An additional 14% have been LCMS members for more than six years.
Pastors and parents remain the people most likely to provide a positive influence on a man’s decision to begin seminary preparation with 83% of students mentioning their pastor and 53% mentioning their parents in this regard.
Sons of Pastors:
Only 13% of the incoming students have fathers who are LCMS pastors, compared with 14% last year and 19% two years ago.
For more information, contact Rev. Jeffery Moore, director of ministerial recruitment, at 1-800-822-9545 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .