Entering Class Breaks Records
for Sixth Year in a Row
By Richard Veilleux
It's become a familiar tune - the quality of UConn's incoming freshman class is, again, the best ever.
"I'll never get tired of singing that song," says Dolan Evanovich, associate provost for enrollment management, who now has repeated it for six years. "If the quality of our freshman class improves every year, if the quality of our
faculty continues to be a source of pride, if the quality of the University's infrastructure continues to improve, I'll talk about it to anyone who will listen."
For the sixth consecutive year, members of UConn's entering class have better SAT scores, on average, than their predecessors (from 1112 in 1996, to 1150 this year). The number of valedictorians and salutatorians choosing UConn instead of Ivy League schools or UConn's competitors continues to increase - 60 enrolled this year, compared to 43 in last year's freshman class. Three hundred seventy of the student academic leaders have enrolled since 1995. The number of students who ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class increased three percent this year, to 26 percent of the freshman class. And, in a bow to the caliber of the education UConn's faculty provide, for the third consecutive year more than 90 percent of entering freshmen said they chose UConn because they wanted a high quality education.
"Our faculty, our facilities, our staff are all among the best in the nation," said Chancellor John D. Petersen. "The commitment to the University by our state legislators and Gov. (John) Rowland - as evidenced by their investment of $2.3 billion in infrastructure improvements for Storrs, the Health Center and our regional campuses - is extraordinary. High school students and their parents are right on target when they make UConn their first choice."
In another sign of the University's increasing competitiveness, the schools that incoming students passed over to attend UConn have changed. Syracuse, Delaware, the University of Maryland, Rutgers and Penn State now are among the top competitors listed by incoming students. While admissions officers continue to see a significant number of cross-applications with the universities of Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, far more students looking at those schools now choose UConn over the others.
At the School of Law, applications soared by 46 percent, nearly tripling the average gain nationally, and enrollment increased by 39 percent, from 180 to 250.
More students also are choosing to attend one of UConn's regional campuses as their first choice, says Evanovich, a testament to the quality and increased offerings of four-year programs at the five sites. And, as admissions officials continue to "shape" the class that comes to Storrs, students who are offered admission to a regional campus are embracing a chance to earn a UConn diploma, either starting or fully matriculating at an alternate campus. Combined, those two factors helped increase enrollment at the regional campuses this year by 15 percent.
Those numbers should grow, as the University continues to sculpt future freshman classes. Enrollment at Storrs this year was maintained at the level achieved last year. The plan for next year is to keep growth to about 2 percent system-wide.
"We have outstanding faculty and great staff at UConn, and we must continue to deliver a high quality education to the students who are here," says Evanovich. "That means we must strive to keep class sizes and advising loads at reasonable levels."
The incoming freshmen UConn faculty will be teaching and advising posted an average SAT score that is 10 points above last year's freshman average, and is now at 1150.
"To move a class of 3,160 up 10 points É that's huge," says Evanovich. "Especially when you consider that, nationally, the average SAT was unchanged. This is an excellent class."