U.Va. welcomes largest and most diverse first-year class

Class of 2022 surpasses previous classes in academic achievement and diversity

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The Class of 2022 exceeded classes that matriculated before them in qualifications, including an increase in academic strength and students accepting offers from the University.

Christina Anton | Cavalier Daily

Students of the Class of 2022 started their year at the University this week as the largest and most diverse class in University history. 

“Each class is unique in its own way,” Dean of Undergraduate Admission Gregory Roberts said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “This certainly seems to be one of our most impressive groups in terms of diversity, academic accomplishments, and community engagement.”

The 3,837 first-year students — the largest class size in University history — exceeded classes that had matriculated before them in qualifications with an increase in academic strength and students accepting offers from the University. 

Academically, the class boasts an average SAT score of 1397, up 10 points from the average in 2017 for the class of 2021. The majority of the class hails from Virginia, with 65 percent of the students coming from in-state. Over half of the class self-identifies as female.

The target enrollment for the year was 3,725 according to Roberts, but there was a higher level of acceptances than anticipated — the Class of 2021 had 37 percent of its offers accepted, while the Class of 2022 had a 40 percent yield rate.

“The yield this year was higher than we anticipated so the class was larger than planned,” Roberts said. “In other words, more students accepted our admission offer than we predicted, so the class will wind up at about 3,821 by census in October.”

Of the 3,837 first years, 1,310 of them are minority students — which is a 35 percent increase since 2013. First-generation students compose over 11 percent of the cohort.

“We have a record number of African-American students enrolled in this class, and racial diversity is at 34 percent, which is a record high,” University Spokesperson Anthony P. de Bruyn said in an email to The Cavalier Daily, making the University slightly more diverse than its surrounding state. In the 2010 Census, the Commonwealth of Virginia was 32 percent non-white.

According to University Deputy Spokesperson Wes Hester, some of the ways in which the University seeks to grow minority enrollment are engaging and partnering with Community Based Organizations around the country to identify underserved and talented high school students. Efforts also include granting fee waivers for applications and enrollment deposits for low income students. 

“Recruiting and enrolling a diverse class is a top priority each year,” Roberts said. “While there are not internal or external targets or quotas for race or gender or economic background, our goal is for the class to represent a broad range of backgrounds, interests, beliefs, opinions, and ideas.” 

In a statement, the Office for Diversity and Equity said it has consistently worked closely with the Office of Undergraduate Admission and the Director of Graduate Student Programs to increase minority enrollment and further diversify each incoming class. 

“[We participate] with Office of Undergraduate Admission during fall blast and fall fling to help recruit minority students and [we] also participate in the spring blast and spring fling with the Office of Undergraduate Admission,” the office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity said in an email statement.

The Office of Undergraduate Admission hosts open houses specifically for African-American and Hispanic students in the fall and spring in an effort to increase prospective minority students enrollment. 

The University serves as the lead institution for the VA-NC Alliance, a 12 institution program that works to diversify and increase undergraduate enrollment in STEM programs. Marcus Martin, the vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, serves as the primary investigator for the VA-NC and his office works to enhance relationships between faculty and students by embracing diversity as a core tenet of the University’s priorities. 

“The [Vice President and Chief Officer of Diversity and Equity] is very happy to see the class of 2022 as the largest and most diverse class ever at UVA,” the statement reads.  “We will hope to continue this trend and having scholarship awards like university achievement awards and Blue Ridge Scholars have been helpful.” 

According to Roberts, increasing enrollment growth for the next admissions cycle has yet to be determined, but the decision would ultimately be left to the Board of Visitors and the University administration.

“While we have made great progress, we are not finished. We look forward to working with members of our community as we continue to work to enroll a talented and diverse class each year,” Roberts said. 

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