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College’s Class of 2010 largest in last five years

Kim Abeel | Saturday, August 19, 2006

The 426 members of the Saint Mary’s class of 2010 are not just academically gifted -they also form the largest incoming freshman class since 2001. The freshmen arrived on campus Thursday morning from 41 states and three countries outside the U.S.

The Class of 2010 has raised the bar academically, boasting an average ACT score of 25 and an average SAT composite based only on critical reading and mathematics of 1160.

The freshmen enter with an average GPA of 3.7 – the highest average GPA since the entering class of 1996. Fourteen percent of freshmen ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes.

Last fall, 1,180 applications were submitted, marking the second highest total in the past 17 years. Of the 944 admitted applicants, 426 have registered for the 2006-07 school year.

Vice President for Enrollment Management Dan Meyer said the school received applications from 44 states and 13 countries and was pleased to see an increase in applications from Arizona, Colorado and the Chicago area.

While 26 percent of incoming freshmen are either daughters or granddaughters of a Saint Mary’s alumna, a record 10 percent of the class belongs to minority groups – a number that has not been seen at Saint Mary’s since 1993, Director of Admission Mona Bowe said.

Bowe said the diversity of the class is mostly due to the increased participation of current students in recruitment efforts.

Meyer said the College has recently altered recruitment efforts by intensifying its focus on 10 percent of an inquiry pool of 25,000 high school seniors considered most likely to apply to Saint Mary’s.

The College focused its travel on targeted high schools, Bowe said, and admissions counselors and current students spent much more time on follow-up with prospective students.

“The more current students are involved, the more we can maintain a positive quality. This is a college-wide effort,” Bowe said.

Meyer and Bowe maintained a positive outlook about the College’s increasing enrollment, but said if enrollment continues to rise, the College might have to place caps on the nursing or education programs to maintain their quality.

The college’s ultimate total enrollment goal is “around 1,700,” Meyer said.

Although the incoming class has brought the College’s enrollment to just over 1,500, residence halls are not at capacity. Two floors in Regina and McCandless Halls remain vacant.

“Growth is something the College can reasonably handle,” Meyer said.

Additional sections have already been added to classes to accommodate the larger number of freshman students, and administrators anticipate adding more in the future.

Saint Mary’s also received 198 transfer student applications, 50 of whom arrive on campus this weekend.

Bowe said students are attracted to Saint Mary’s for a multitude of reasons, but both Bowe and Meyer agreed the College’s high academic standards, strong faculty, talented athletic teams and opportunities for leadership are the factors that ultimately lure students to Saint Mary’s.