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419 first-year, transfer students to join Saint Mary’s community

| Tuesday, August 4, 2020

This fall 396 first-year students and 23 transfer students will close the circle and join the Saint Mary’s community.

Diane Park | The Observer

Despite colleges around the country anticipating a decline in enrollment rates and subsequent loss of tuition revenue as a result of of the coronavirus pandemic, Saint Mary’s is “pleased with the size of the Class of 2024 and very excited about the profile of the class,” director of admission Sarah Gallagher Dvorak said in an email.  

“We can’t know for certain exactly how enrollment was impacted by the global pandemic, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone working in college or university enrollment offices who would say that there wasn’t some sort of impact,” Gallagher Dvorak said.  “We did expect a bit of a bigger class given where our enrollment numbers were in early March, but things did slow down a bit once the pandemic took over and the world began to shut down.”

The incoming class of 2024 hails from all corners of the United States, representing 29 different states, according to Gallagher Dvorak, as well as two countries. 

The diversity of the incoming class also spans beyond geographical boundaries and is reflected in their experiences. 

“This class has entrepreneurs, authors, scientists, artists, athletes, and many, many students who have volunteered both in their communities and communities all over the world to make life better for the people who live there,” Gallagher Dvorak said. 

These students have succeeded inside the classroom as well. The average GPA of the incoming class is higher than a 3.8, she said. 

This year, students from underrepresented communities make up 22% of the incoming first-year class. Gallagher Dvorak said this number is consistent with what has been seen in previous year’s enrollments — last year, being the outlier with a very large increase of underrepresented students. 

For Gallagher Dvorak the diversity of a student body is important because all students benefit from surrounding themselves with peers from all different walks of life. 

“One of the greatest values of college is to expand your knowledge and learn from others who may come from different backgrounds, who’ve had different experiences, and whose perspectives may be different than your own,” Gallagher Dvorak said. “We recognize this, and we’re proud of the diversity represented in our student body. In the coming year, we hope to build on that and enroll even more students from underrepresented populations to provide an even richer educational experience to our students.”

Gallagher Dvorak said 18% of the incoming class applied early decision which shows how many applicants already had a strong affinity to attend Saint Mary’s. This strong affinity can also be seen through the prevalence of a legacy connection, as approximately 21% of the incoming class has a legacy connection. 

“We love to see that – their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers loved their four years at Saint Mary’s and they know first hand the great benefits of being a student here.” Gallagher Dvorak said.  “They’ve passed this on and now we have the privilege to educate their loved ones.”

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About Mia Marroquin

Mia Marroquin is a rising senior Communication Studies major at Saint Mary’s. Currently serving as Saint Mary’s News Editor, she hails from Holland, Michigan and is an 80’s movie fanatic. Follow Mia on Twitter @_miamarroquin

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