The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Saint Mary’s welcomes 400 first-year, transfer students to campus

| Friday, August 20, 2021

This year, 386 first-years and 14 transfer students will join the Saint Mary’s community during Belles Beginnings, as of Aug. 13.

In an email, director of admission Sarah Gallagher Dvorak expressed her pleasure that the College was able to maintain enrollment numbers, despite the ongoing conditions of the pandemic.

“Since March 2019, we have been unable to travel around the country and throughout the world, which ultimately impacted the number of students we were able to connect with as they made their decisions regarding where they’d apply and ultimately enroll,” Gallagher Dvorak said. “Like most other campuses, we also had to shut down most on-campus events or visits.”

The Office of Admission received 2,350 first-year applications with only six percent of the incoming class applying early decision, a marked decrease from previous years, according to Gallagher Dvorak.

“Given the pandemic, this wasn’t a surprise as students felt a need to keep their options open given the uncertainty of the environment, Gallagher Dvorak said.”

With the incoming class representing 31 states and three countries, Gallagher Dvorak said the pandemic did not appear to significantly affect international student applications.

“I’m sure it played a role in certain countries, but overall, we haven’t seen a dramatic difference in international application numbers this year,” she said.

Gallagher Dvorak said the average GPA of the class of 2025 is 3.85, which remains consistent with data collected in the past.

Outside of academics, the incoming class is composed of students who pursued a variety of interests, Gallagher Dvorak explained.

“The class is made up of many high school athletes, musicians, student government leaders and community service volunteers,” Gallagher Dvorak said. “We have a number of students who founded their own businesses, many Irish dancers and many students who have gone on mission trips to serve local communities throughout the world. We have one student who filmed, edited and produced a video about farming for the Smithsonian exhibit, ‘Crossroads of America’.”

Gallagher Dvorak noted she was especially impressed by the number of small business owners, a number that is “more than [the Office of Admission] would see in any given year.”

In addition, 22% of first-years are from underrepresented communities, which is an increase from previous years. Gallagher Dvorak commented on the progress the College has made on recruiting students of color.

“We’re proud of how well we’ve attracted students of color to our campus over the last several years,” she said. “The numbers have increased dramatically and that speaks to the work the College has done to provide a welcoming environment for students from all walks of life, no matter their backgrounds. This is something that we will continue to work on at the College so we can continue to attract and retain a diverse population of students.”

First-generation students make up 32% of the class of 2025, which is a six percent increase compared to 2020. Emphasizing that diversity at the College makes it a more vibrant place, Gallagher Dvorak spoke on how diversity creates a better learning environment for students.

“College is often the first opportunity students have to be exposed to something or someone different,” she said. “Our classrooms are enriched by the diversity of thought our students bring into class discussions. Exposure to diversity is something that benefits all Saint Mary’s students as it forces them to expand their intellectual and personal understanding of the world.”

Twenty-eight percent of first-year students have a legacy connection, which Gallagher Dvorak attributed to strong intergenerational ties between family members who have attended Saint Mary’s.

“As an alumna myself, I understand the strong emotional ties to the College and recognize how much I would love for my daughters to one day have the transformational experience I had at Saint Mary’s,” Gallagher Dvorak said. “These numbers show just how much our alumnae loved and benefited from their time here, and now they’re encouraging their family members to follow a similar path.”

Tags: , , , , ,

About Genevieve Coleman

Genevieve Coleman is a junior at Saint Mary's majoring in English literature and secondary education with minors in theatre and creative writing. She currently serves as Saint Mary's News Editor.

Contact Genevieve