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September 21, 2023

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Freshmen class brings highest GPA in University history

This year’s incoming freshman class is raising the bar as the smartest in University history.

With a class size of roughly 3,500, the average GPA is 3.31, the highest average so far, said Gary Swegan, director of admissions. The average ACT score is 22.59, the best since 1991.

Joining the class will be 490 out-of-state students, 230 who are from Michigan and 670 multicultural students.

While the class size is down from 3,635 this past year and 3,899 in 2011, the final number for this year’s class won’t be released until 15 days after classes begin.

Even though it’s a smaller class, Swegan is content with quality over quantity.

“It’s a credit to the entire campus,” he said. “We’re really pleased with the quality piece.”

The University was able to achieve this success in part by a change in admission criteria. By accepting 160 less students on the lower end of the ACT scoring scale, such as 17, the University was able to recruit more students who scored 24 or above, bumping the overall average, Swegan said.

Some incoming freshmen don’t think this tactic is fair.

“I feel it would make people try harder to get into college but also discourage others from even enrolling,” said freshman Morgan Schneider. “I didn’t think of college until my junior and senior year and luckily I had a good enough GPA to be accepted.”

Schneider finished high school with a 3.2 GPA and said being in the smartest freshman class would make her try harder to get better grades.

“I am already nervous about getting good grades and starting off smart,” she said. “In high school I screwed around in the beginning so I am going to have to buckle down and work hard.”

Fortunately for freshmen worried about adjusting to college life, the University has programs specifically catered to it.

“For all new students our primary goals we have is to adjust them to academic expectations of college and help them get engaged,” said Andy Alt, director of First Year Programs.

Following move-in day, freshmen will participate in an extended orientation and be introduced to the four pillars of success: academic success, career development, leadership and engagement and personal and fiscal responsibility, Alt said.

“Getting engaged and involved is critical to retention,” he said.

The retention rate from fall 2012 to spring 2013 was 89.5 percent. The rate from fall 2012 to fall 2013 will be available Sept. 9.

Alt hopes to see the retention rate increase by 2 to 4 percent each year.

A way the University is looking to increase retention is by linked courses, an initiative from the provost’s office where students take two or three of the same classes together.

Schneider likes the initiative and sees it as a way to get to know other students better and work together.

As the year draws nearer, Schneider is more thrilled about being a freshman than worrying about school.

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