By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Christian University is already reaping the reward for a successful football season.

The Horned Frogs’ trip to the Rose Bowl put TCU on the national map, but even the team’s success last year garnished a lot of positive exposure, and now it’s paying off in popularity.

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“I’ve never even heard of a school that’s experiencing what this place is experiencing,” said Dean of Admissions Ray Brown.

The university has set a new record.  More than 17,000 new students have applied for acceptance to attend TCU in the fall, and the deadline isn’t until February 15, 2011.

That’s a 42 percent increase over last year’s record setting year.  “I think it’s awesome,” said Arika Tilma, a junior from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Some worry the private college will grow too fast.  Smaller class sizes are a big selling point for the university.

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“The class sizes are such that I can get the personal attention I need to be a better student,” said Philip Anderson, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering.

“It’s a big school feel,” said Makenzie Snyder, a junior nursing major, “but smaller classes, more one-on-one with your professor.”

It was one reason Sophomore psychology major Glen Reinecke chose TCU.  “I love the smaller school feel,” he said.

University officials promise that won’t change.  “This is not an institution that is intrested in growing in terms of students,” Brown said. “As a private university we don’t buy into the bigger is better mentality.”  In fact, TCU officials expect next years freshman class to be even smaller despite the record number of applicants.

The increased selectivity will only help Reinecke in the long run, he said.  “It just makes our degrees that much better,” he said.

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This is the second straight year TCU has set a record for new student applications.    Last year, when the university first made it’s mark on the national scene, the school received just over 14,000 applicants. This year that number is projected to reach between 18,000 and 19,000.