August 24, 1998
Volume 51, No. 1
Emory College administrators make room for largest freshman class in history with 1,347
They began arriving late last week. Emory's freshman class is the largest the college has seen in many years. This "freshman boom" of 1,348 students (as of Aug. 14) had administrators scrambling to find housing and open additional class sections for them. But no one's complaining. The college admitted 4,706 out of 9,807 applicants and enrolled about 185 more students than originally anticipated.
"I have always said that predicting the return on our offers of admission is an inexact science," said Dan Walls, dean of admission. "It is true this year more than others.
"We have crafted a class that we believe is very diverse and very representative of a cross-section of the country--and the world," Walls added. Almost 27 percent are members of ethnic and racial minority groups, and 2 percent are international students.
Like last year, the class is equally split by gender. Their grade point average is 3.6, and the middle 50 percent of the class have SAT scores of 1240-1410. There are 112 black students, up from 83 last year.
There's also a big increase in the number of Hispanic students--42 to last year's 26. Rounding out the group are two Native-American and 191 Asian-American students.
There are 30 Woodruff, Bowden and Callaway scholars out of 2,030 nominations. Of those who were nominated and missing the cut, 327 still enrolled at Emory, a statistic that pleasantly surprised Walls. For those seeking need-based aid, Walls was quick to give credit to the Financial Aid Office. "Without their efforts, we clearly would not have achieved the successes we have had," he said.
Externally, the strength of the economy may have had much to do with the size of the freshman class, Walls said, although that's a "very nebulous and unpredictable" correlation. More telling is another statistic: about a third of the class of 2002 were chosen by early decision. Typically that number is 20 percent, Walls said.
Like Emory, many selective schools have seen their early decision applicant pools grow each year. Students selecting schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Stanford as their first choices are finding that these schools are admitting up to 50 percent of their freshman classes by early decision, Walls said.
For Emory that means the resulting pool of applicants is "much more strongly interested in the college because these others have been pulled out of the pool and admitted to their first-choice schools," he said.
Other schools meet with success as well
Oxford College's freshman class of 367 came from a record number of 1,161 applicants this year--a 28 percent increase. "The campus visit seems to be the most important factor in turning an inquirer into an applicant," said Jennie Taylor, director of admissions. Eighty-two percent of high school seniors who came to the campus this year applied, and 80 percent of those applicants were accepted, Taylor added. Minority members make up 32 percent of the class, with African Americans at 13 percent. The class' mean GPA is 3.44, and they have a middle 50 percent SAT range of 1060 to 1240.
The business school's goal "was to have about the same size class as last year, but increase their quality," reported Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Services Julie Barefoot. The class of 150 incoming students is about 30 percent international, up from 23 percent last year--and they are experienced. "Essentially 100 percent have at least a year of full-time work, with backgrounds ranging from consulting and engineering to finance and marketing," Barefoot said. About 30 percent female, the class increased the GMAT average to 640, from last year's 630.
"The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences continues to admit small groups of highly qualified students in each of our 25 programs," said Eleanor Main, associate provost for graduate studies. As of Aug. 12, the school had admitted 486 students. Fifty-three percent of them are female, and 11 percent are minority group members. Their mean test score was 1935. "We are especially pleased to begin our first class of students enrolled in the new interdisciplinary program in physical, material and computational sciences," Main said.
The Candler School saw a 24 percent increase in applications this year for all its programs. "Correspondingly, we're expecting a larger entering class," said Mary Lou Greenwood Boice, associate dean of admissions and student services. The school's admitted 151 master's of divinity candidates are 49 percent female, Greenwood Boice said. "Six years ago, it was 31 percent." Minority admissions have almost doubled during that same period, she reported, up from 11 to 20 percent today.
The 7,420 people wanting to become doctors gave the School of Medicine the fourth-highest applicant total in its history. Of the 111 first-year medical students who were eventually enrolled, 38.7 percent are women and 27 percent are minority group members. The class ranges in age from 19 to 34, and their overall GPA is 3.69. Students come from 29 states and one foreign country and represent more than 60 undergraduate institutions.
The average age of the nursing school's entering class of 69 bachelor's degree candidates is 25. "It's gone down a bit," reported Debbie Ashtiani, interim director of student services. "It's always been around 27 or 28. In many cases, nursing tended to be a second career, and I think people are making that decision earlier," she said. The class' average GPA is 3.24. Overwhelmingly Georgian and female (81 and 96 percent, respectively), 20 percent are black, 7 percent are Asian-American and 1 percent is Hispanic.
The class of 240 entering students at the School of Law have a median GPA of 3.4 and a median LSAT of 160. They represent about 29 states and 111 undergraduate institutions--Emory College has the biggest presence at 14.
Although final numbers are not yet in, the Rollins School of Public Health reports enrollment deposits exceeding the original 250-student target. "This year we received applications from more qualified applicants than ever," said Susan Daniel, director of admissions. A record 1,004 applied for a spot at the school; accepted students had a 3.34 average GPA and a GRE average of 1821.
--Stacey Jones and Michael Terrazas