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Saint Mary’s welcomes class of 2021 to ‘dynamic community’

| Friday, August 18, 2017

The Saint Mary’s class of 2021 — comprised of 367 students — began its journey at the College on Thursday.

Sarah Dvorak, director of admission, said Saint Mary’s received a record of 1,829 applications this year and chose to accept 1,430 students. She said 30 transfer students will also join the College community this year.

“We’re incredibly excited about the academic quality and diversity of this first year class,” Dvorak said. “We have no doubt it will result in even greater rigor in the classroom and intangible assets such as richer discussions, a more thoughtful understanding of ideas and greater personal and intellectual growth of our students.”

Dvorak said the incoming students demonstrate academic promise.

“This is one of our strongest classes with an average GPA of 3.8,” she said.

Though impressive, such a statistic may not be surprising, since Dvorak said academic success plays a key role in the admission process.

“It is our goal to ensure that students are growing and developing in a broad cross-section of academic areas through the Sophia Program, and then through the course work and opportunities within their majors,” Dvorak said. “Because of this, our first concern when admitting students into the class is that they have the demonstrated academic background to be successful at Saint Mary’s.”

Another factor that leads to an acceptance letter involves integrity, Dvorak said.

“In addition, we look for students who already exemplify the core values that make Saint Mary’s special,” she said. “They have been involved in community service, they have been leaders in their school, church or community and they have learned how to manage their time.”

Dvorak said legacy students — whose relative has attended or currently attends Saint Mary’s — make up 22 percent of the incoming class.

The admissions office received applications from 45 U.S. states and territories and 24 countries, Dvorak said. The class of 2021 includes members from Canada, China and 31 states and territories, she said.

“Understanding that the learning process is richer and more exciting when different ideas and backgrounds are represented, we look for a class that represents a variety of life experiences and backgrounds,” Dvorak said.

New students also represent a number of racial and ethnic minorities, as up to 20 percent of the new class belongs to an underrepresented group, Dvorak said.

“Discussions and dialogue are deepened by differing life experiences and points of view,” she said. “The entire world, and all it has to offer, opens up to our students when they get to share their collegiate experience with students from other traditions and backgrounds. … We also believe that we have more work to do in the area of inclusion.”

Dvorak said the class of 2021 brings various talents and life experiences to the table.

“Students have completed mission trips in Guatemala, Haiti, Panama, El Salvador and Miami, among other locations,” she said. “There are dozens of students in Irish Dance, including one who has won both national and international championships. [There are] dozens more in robotics.”

New students demonstrate aptitude and prowess in various pursuits, Dvorak said.

“We have a student who danced in the Royal Ballet in London, one who is writing a science fiction novel, one who is internationally ranked in Crossfit and Olympic-level weightlifting and many who have founded their own community-based organizations,” she said. “It’s an impressive class, and we can’t wait for each individual to join our dynamic community.”

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