NORMAN — Last week, Alex Mach was one of only a few students on campus at the University of Oklahoma.
But when classes started Monday, Mach said the difference was obvious.
Monday marked the first day of the spring semester at many colleges and universities across the state, including OU and the University of Central Oklahoma.
Mach, 22, of Oklahoma City, has an on-campus job with OU Information Technology, meaning he had to be back on campus earlier than most students.
“Parking was really easy until today,” he said Monday.
Mach, a microbiology major, has a semester left before he graduates. He's applying to medical schools, he said, including OU College of Medicine, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa and a few out of state.
Although he has definite plans, Mach said graduation still seems a world away. His time at OU has gone by more quickly than he expected, he said.
“I'm kind of on cruise control for now,” he said.
Although enrollment numbers won't be finalized for about three weeks, OU officials are projecting an enrollment increase over the spring 2012 semester.
Matt Hamilton, OU's registrar and vice president for enrollment and student financial services, said the Norman campus' enrollment stood at 21,667 on Monday, an increase of about 1 percent over the 21,504 students who were enrolled on the first day of the spring 2012 semester.
“Things look healthy at the University of Oklahoma this spring,” Hamilton said.
That increase continues the pattern of growth OU has enjoyed for several years. Last fall, OU welcomed the largest freshman class in the university's history, with about 4,100 students. That topped the previous year's record of just more than 4,000 students.
UCO also expects to see an increase in enrollment compared with last spring. The university's total head count stood at 15,527 on Monday, a 2.9 percent increase over the beginning of the last spring semester.
Officials expect that total to climb before numbers are finalized. UCO spokeswoman Adrienne Nobles noted that the university enrolled 639 students during the first week of the last spring semester.
That increase was driven in large part by spikes in the number of freshmen and transfer students at the university, Nobles said. UCO has seen a 10 percent increase in freshmen and a roughly 8 percent increase in transfer students, she said, with a 2 percent decline in graduate students compared with the same point in 2012.