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New freshman bring new, diverse faces to campus

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Courtesy Student Affairs & Enrollment Management/Academic Initiatives &Student Success | The Daily Wildcat Freshmen smile with Wilbur T. Wildcat during the Bigger Better Bash in 2017.

The University of Arizona introduced its newest group of freshmen, transfer and graduate students, boasting a high-achieving and diverse incoming class for the 2018-19 academic year.

According to a UA News press release, there was a 7 percent increase in the number of students entering with an unweighted 4.0 grade point average, with more than 7,900 new freshmen from all 50 states. There was also a 16 percent increase in students with an unweighted GPA between 3.75 and 3.99. 

Incoming freshmen from Arizona also had an SAT average of 1,232 and an average core unweighted GPA of 3.44. Additionally, over 30 percent of this year’s freshman class will be pursuing majors in STEM fields.

“The start of the school year brings a unique feeling of excitement to campus,” said UA President Dr. Robert Robbins. “We have a very strong class of students coming to the UA this fall, and many of them are first-generation students from diverse backgrounds. Along with many others here at the UA, I can’t wait to see what this year’s new students will achieve during their academic careers.”

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The UA saw a 20 percent increase in the number of freshmen applications, rising from 35,383 last year; the freshman retention rate was 83.3 percent. After setting a record with its enrollment of diverse students last fall, the UA was able to match that record this year: 45 percent of this year’s freshman class are from diverse backgrounds and 31 percent are first-generation college students. 

“We’re meeting our students where they are — offering opportunities to be a Wildcat from all over the world or down the street from the comfort of their home,” said Kasandra Urquidez, vice president of enrollment management and student affairs advancement and dean of undergraduate admissions.

The same press release estimated 2,300 transfer students to be enrolled at the UA this fall, including through Arizona Online. Among these students, 52 percent are from diverse backgrounds and 53 percent are first-generation college students.

Graduate student enrollment also increased this year, with more than 8,000 expected to enroll and a 20 percent increase in online enrollment in graduate programs. 

          RELATED: UA's newest freshmen class set to be most diverse ever

According to Brent White, dean of global campuses and interim vice provost for global affairs, enrollment of international students is up as well. This year, the UA welcomes international students from more than 100 countries.

“The incoming international freshman class is up 36 percent — in stark contrast to national trends — reflecting the UA’s commitment to bold new recruiting strategies and growing reputation as a global university,” White said.

The UA is also introducing 12 new undergraduate majors, five master’s degree programs, two doctoral degree programs and four certificate programs. The new undergraduate majors include programs such as food studies, hydrology and atmospheric studies, personal and family financial planning and deaf studies. 

In total, the UA enrolled 44,831 students, 35,123 undergraduates and 9,708 graduate and professional students. An official report supporting the press release will be published on Sept. 10.


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