The Class of 2018 officially joined the University community with Sunday’s convocation ceremony, during which a record 3,690 first years were welcomed to Grounds.
The incoming class is not only large, but also diverse, according to the Office of Admissions, with new students displaying a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
“It’s a class with students from many different backgrounds — demographically and socioeconomically more diverse,” Dean of Admissions Gregory Roberts said.
The number of minority students has risen, with self-identified African-American, Asian, Hispanic and multiracial student populations up from last year’s class. An expected 30.7 percent of first-year students now come from a minority background.
The number of students qualifying as “low income” also grew — 259 students qualified for grants and loans covering their full tuition under the University’s financial aid program, the highest number since 2010, which saw 260 qualify.
Tabitha Enoch, assistant dean and director of orientation and new student programs, said having a large incoming class will bring a great variety of experiences to the community.
“What gets us excited about such a large class is the diversity of experience and background that these students display,” Enoch said.
The Class of 2018 is also academically high-achieving, with 89 percent of students falling within the top decile of their high school graduating classes. Mean SAT scores came in as 665 on reading, 679 on math and 665 on writing, with each section graded on a scale of 800.
Assoc. History Prof. Kirt von Daacke, an assistant dean, said this class — similar to the past few — is composed of students who for the most part had a clear sense of what they wanted to do and accomplish at the University.
“They’re already thinking about how are these classes going to lead [and] what [they’re] going to do after school,” von Daacke said. “A lot of them change their minds, but they’ve come in with a clear vision.”
Von Daacke, himself a University alumnus, said this was strikingly different from his experience as a University student. Parental involvement has also changed, with many parents now more involved in their children’s University experience — though in a largely positive way, he said.
Though the full impact of the Class of 2018’s size has yet to be seen, both von Daacke and Enoch said summer and fall orientation activities were generally filled to the brim, and days were generally longer because of the large volume of students.
Correction: A previous version of this article had a typo in the subhead. The size of the Class of 2018, as said in the article, is 3,690.