Published: Jan 08, 2014 8:18 AM EST
Updated: Jan 08, 2014 6:19 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Florida Gulf Coast University is shedding its reputation as a "safety school."

The office of admissions is dealing with 35 percent more applications than last year, which could mean getting into the school is not as easy as it once was.

Students are not surprised about the new trend.

"It's not like the classes are pushover," said Adin Greenstein, a freshman.  "It's actually a very good school, and I've met a bunch of really intelligent people here."

"FGCU is a growing school and very popular in the area and elsewhere. And the program here, I've learned, is very, very good," said Josh Philippon, a graduate student.  "professionally, it'll make us all better in the end, and it'll produce better workforce professionals."

Wilson Bradshaw, the university's president, is also excited.

"Whatever it took to get them to our front door, that's fine," Bradshaw said.  "It really is very gratifying to see so many applications come in."

Roughly 8,800 prospective students have applied to be freshmen in the fall, according to Bradshaw.  He said that is only 70 percent of the total applications he expects to come in.  Of that batch, only 3,000 will be a part of the new class.

"We are able to admit students who have a higher probability of academic success," Bradshaw said, which could lead to better retention and graduation rates, more talent coming in from around the nation and more jobs as the FGCU community continues to grow.