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Best class ever’ adjusts, excels at Notre Dame

Jen Rowling | Thursday, April 15, 2004

The current freshman class earned the title of the “best class ever” after it statistically surpassed all previous classes with an average SAT score of 1359 and an average ACT of 31.1. Nearly two semesters later – and with a new “best class ever” on its heels – the Class of 2007 has lived up to the expectations of many but still faced some challenges in adjusting to Notre Dame, according to members of First Year of Studies and freshmen. In addition to academic achievements, the class of 2007 also entered Notre Dame accomplished in a lot of activities. Their achievements also included non-academic endeavors: 84 percent were volunteers, 71 percent played a varsity sport, 36 percent were captains of their teams, 41 percent had artistic interests, 10 percent held editor positions and nine percent were either student body or senior class presidents. With these statistics, many predicted great success for this class, and, in large part, they have not been disappointed. Academically the class has preformed exceptionally well, according to Kevin Rooney, assistant dean in the First Year of Studies. The average freshman GPA increased from 3.28 to 3.33 over last year. Additionally, 65freshmen received a 4.0 GPA – another substantial increase over freshmen from previous years. During the past few years the number of freshmen receiving 4.0 GPAs has ranged from 38 to 56.While the Class of 2007 has preformed well academically, Rooney said that onan individual level these students do not differ significantly from the average Notre Dame class. “Every year there is a new group, I haven’t noticed a great difference,” he said. “As people, the freshmen are the same as other ND students.” Rooney said that he believes the true test of success will occur when the freshmen are entering their junior and senior years. Since statistics cannot measure the success of a person, the freshman class will be evaluated by the degree in which they immerse themselves into their majors, as opposed to merely completing requirements, he said. First Year Studies advisor Kenneth Deboer acknowledged the higher grades of the class of 2007, but he added this is a nationwide trend. While Deboer has not observed a dramatic difference in the freshman class from the previous year, he said that over the past few years Notre Dame has seen its student portray “a heighened seriousness.” “[I have students] who want to do more than one degree, they also ask what it takes to graduate with high honors,” he said. “I know students go to parties, get wild on weekends, but I think they work extremely hard and want their education to mean something.”And what do students think?While some of the members of the “best class ever” have dominated the classroom, others said that they felt a little overwhelmed. “I don’t think the work load has been any harder, I just think it has been harder to figure out how to manage my time and be organized because there is less structure and a lot more independence,” freshman Julie Pearce said.Fellow freshman Jamie Denning said his adjustment to Notre Dame has been relatively smooth.”I don’t think that the academic workload is as challenging as I had predicted upon entering Notre Dame,” he said. “I did not put forth much effort in the majority of my classes, yet I still managed to do relatively well in all of them first semester.” Some freshmen, however, said the transition from high school to college has been slightly more difficult than they anticipated.”Academically it is harder then high school because you have to take responsibility on your own to keep up with your classes. There are fewer grades,” freshman Lauren Hoffman said. Freshman Meghan Ryder agreed. “I don’t think high school prepared me for the academics at ND, I was really surprised when I came here,” she said. “My GPA is still pretty good but not as high as high school.”