UA draws diverse, global class of freshmen
The UA has heavily emphasized diversity the past few years and this year’s freshman class reflects that. “It’s the most diverse we’ve ever had,” said Kasey Urquidez, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and dean of Admissions. This continues a recent trend stretching back the last five years.
According to Urquidez, 39 percent of the UA’s currently enrolled freshmen are ethnic minorities, a 1 percent increase from last year and a 4 percent increase from the year before that. Non-residential students make up 38 percent of the UA’s student population, with Calfornia providing the majority for out-of-state residents and China dominating international enrollment.
Though a large portion of residential students come from Southern Arizona, many, like pre-business freshman Mark Andia, come from Phoenix. “I like the friendly feel of the campus here,” Andia said. “At ASU (Arizona State University), everyone just talks about partying, here it feels more prestigious.”
Urquidez said she believes it’s the UA’s respected reputation both in and out of state, in terms of academics and opportunities for students, combined with the ability to choose from 120 different majors that makes the UA appealing.
The variety of available majors is what attracted architecture freshman Patrick Ceguera, who said they didn’t have his major back home in the San Francisco Bay Area, and that recent tuition hikes made it more expensive to attend college in California.
It is that reputation that has helped extend the UA’s reach beyond the confines of Arizona.
Pre-health freshman Joseph Lapidus said Tucson’s tame winter weather and his outdoor hobbies are part of what attracted him to enroll, despite having to move from Hinsdale, Ill.
“Man, back home we had four feet of snow,” Lapidus said.
However, academics and location are not the only attributes a prospective student desires from a university.
“Freshmen tend to look for … that traditional college experience,” Urquidez said. “Whether it’s a student coming to us from New York and once they tour the campus and visit, they oftentimes are sold, because they like the look, and the feel and the academics.”
Pre-journalism freshman Joey Putrelo, from Buffalo, N.Y., chose the UA because he liked the atmosphere of the college as well as the weather and program.
According to Urquidez, the UA’s high concentration of international students are attracted to the business and science offerings.
Yet, with all the academic benefits the UA offers, for some students there is a much simpler reason for their enrollment: being near their family and loved ones.
“It’s convenient and close to home,” said pre-business freshman Jennifer Wang.