University of Mary Implementing Wait List in Anticipation of Another Record Freshman Class

Students sitting by the University of Mary Marian Grove.

BISMARCK, ND — As the University of Mary’s reputation and profile continue to rise both nationally and internationally, the private, Catholic university in North Dakota is experiencing unprecedented demand from prospective students. The attraction of a thriving campus community, a world-class education, and a marketable degree led to the university’s largest ever overall enrollment last year, along with a record-breaking freshman class. With just under two months before the start of the fall semester and a new academic year, all indications point to an even larger freshman class for fall 2024.

Record-shattering applications and yield rates for a second straight year has prompted the University of Mary to implement a waiting list, says Rachael Brash, the Vice President for Public Affairs and Enrollment Management.  

“As a result of the high demand for a degree from the University of Mary, we are implementing a waiting list to ensure that we maintain the highest standards of education and support that defines our university,” added Brash. “We continue to experience a truly overwhelming response from prospective students and are once again reaching capacity in several of our programs for the upcoming fall semester — which is exciting news for our university and our Bismarck-Mandan community. We have only so much space in our classrooms and residence halls. Mary enjoys a phenomenal 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio — one of the lowest among all colleges and universities in America — that fosters a better learning environment between scholars and our world-class faculty.”  

Over 65% of this year's incoming freshmen hail from outside North Dakota. “We look forward to welcoming hundreds of out-of-state students to both the University of Mary and North Dakota this fall,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Diane Fladeland. “Their arrival will mark a new academic year, continuing our 65-year history of serving young people from around the globe as well as the Church, our region, and beyond. The University of Mary exists to form men and women of character and moral courage who are both equipped and eager to impact their communities in the service of Truth. We ourselves are eager to prepare all of our incoming students for both their careers and lives of purpose, meaning, and friendship with God." 

The admissions process is simple. For those prospective students who have already completed their enrollment confirmation form and made their deposit, those actions have already signaled that they are attending Mary in September 2024, and don’t need to take any further action.  

That same step is still needed for students who have expressed interest in attending but have not yet officially committed. Those students are being asked to decide soon and complete their enrollment confirmation form and make their deposit by the deadline date of Monday, July 22, 2024, at 5 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST), otherwise they will be put on the waiting list if this information is received after that date and time.  

“Being placed on the waiting list does not mean you cannot attend the University of Mary,” emphasized Brash. “It simply means that we are carefully considering our available capacity as we approach the start of the new semester.” 

Classes for the start of the fall semester begin Tuesday, September 3, 2024. Welcome Week for all freshmen begins Saturday, August 31 with Move-in Day, the Wheat Ceremony, and the Starlight Social at the president’s residence.    

“We are deeply humbled and honored that so many new students are expressing such eagerness to attend the University of Mary,” remarked University of Mary President Monsignor James Shea. “We await their arrival to campus during Welcome Week, when we will see the light in their eyes and the joy on their faces as they embark on a quest to discover who God meant them to be. We will be ready to serve them in every way we can, according to the high calling we have received as educators and as servant leaders.”  

Anyone who wishes to learn more about the University of Mary can do so at or by contacting an admissions representative at, or by calling (701) 355-8030. The University of Mary is one of only 15 Recommended Cardinal Newman Society Residential Colleges and Universities in the US.  

About the University of Mary: True to its motto “lumen vitae”—The Light of Life—the University of Mary offers education for the whole of life through cutting-edge professional programs and graduate programs animated by moral courage and leadership in chosen professions and service to the community. A private, co-educational Catholic institution, the University of Mary welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds. 

A Christian, Catholic, Benedictine institution founded in 1959 by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Mary offers nearly 60 bachelor’s, 18 master’s, and five doctoral programs—in Business Administration, Education, Nursing Practice, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. The 20-sport Athletic Department adheres to its Greatness Through Virtue mission under the governance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), and the USA College Clay Target League. With more than 3,800 students, Mary has locations in North Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Rome, Italy, as well as vibrant online offerings. 

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