University enrolls largest first-year class in decades
Aug. 22, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The numbers won’t be official for a few weeks, but The Ohio State University is set to welcome more than 7,600 new freshmen to the Columbus campus who, as a group, represent the most talented and diverse class ever. Autumn semester begins Aug. 23.
Over the weekend, many of the new students moved into residence halls and attended a student involvement fair to learn about the more than 700 student organizations on campus.
Today they are attending the President’s Convocation, the official campus welcome event for first-year students. The Convocation is followed by the First Year Student Columbus Welcome event, which introduces the class of 2020 to many of the great sites, attractions and opportunities that Columbus offers. The relationship between the university and the city has never been stronger and the first-year class will learn how Columbus is a vibrant and exciting place to live.
According to projected figures, the incoming class boasts an average 29.2 ACT score (compared to the record-high average score of 28.9 last year), and a record-high 63 percent will have graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class and 95 percent placed among the top quarter of their high school class.
Overall minority student enrollment in the freshman class will be larger than last year’s record-setting number. Because of the larger class size, the percentage of minority students is expected to remain even with last year – composing at least 18 percent of the incoming class. Autumn 2015 Columbus campus freshman enrollment was 6,978.
The new class will be among the thousands of undergraduates benefiting from affordability measures that include the President’s Affordability Grant initiative, a commitment this year of $20 million to fund grants for some 15,700 students across all campuses.
Based on consistent increases in applications, the demand for an Ohio State education is at an all-time high: Columbus campus applications for the class of 2020 increased to 49,388, up from 45,919 last year and a 69 percent increase over the 29,247 applications received in 2011.
“The demand for an Ohio State education has never been greater. More students and families are recognizing the advantage of being a Buckeye,” said President Michael V. Drake. “I look forward to welcoming another outstanding first-year class.”
New first-year students are expected from all 88 Ohio counties, 46 states and 15 countries. An estimated 2,300 transfer students will also be new arrivals to the Columbus campus this autumn. The university will also enroll approximately 2,500 first-year students at its four regional campuses.
Attracting an increasingly bright freshman class each year has led to steady improvement in retention of first-year students, said Dolan Evanovich, vice president for strategic enrollment planning. Ninety-four percent of freshmen who enrolled last autumn have returned this year, compared to the national average first-year retention rate of 80 percent at four-year institutions. Ohio State also projects that steady improvements in graduation rates will continue.
“Even with dramatic increases in applications, we perform a holistic review of every applicant to assemble a diverse and talented class of students who have the best chance to succeed,” Evanovich said.
Official enrollment statistics are confirmed after the 15th day of each semester.