The Fab Freshmen

The 4,495 freshmen expected to begin class at the University of Georgia on Thursday represent the most academically prepared entering class in UGA history, according to preliminary statistics from UGA’s Office of Admissions.

The entering class presented an average high school grade point average of 3.72, besting the record set in 2002 of 3.71, and an average SAT score of 1237, compared to the previous high of 1215, also set in fall 2002. Some 900 members of the entering class had a perfect 4.0 high school GPA. Eight enrolling students had a perfect score of 1600 on the SAT or 36 on the ACT, and another 88 had perfect scores on either the verbal or math portion of the SAT. More than 600 were joint-enrolled in a college or university while completing their high school work.

The class also shows an increase in racial diversity over recent years. Almost 700 of the new freshmen, or 15.6 percent, are minorities, including 256 Asian-Americans, who comprise 5.5 percent of the class, 202 African-Americans (4.5 percent), 146 multi-ethnic/multiracial (3.3 percent), 72 Hispanics (1.6 percent), and nine Native Americans. The 121 international students are not counted in these calculations. English is not the native language of 158 of the students. Of minority applicants offered admission, 49 percent enrolled, with the largest increase in enrollment among students self-identifying as multiracial. More than 300 of the students are the first in their family to attend college. Of the new students, 16 percent have a parent or sibling who attended UGA, and 10 percent of African-American students are from alumni families.

The new class was selected from 13,300 applicants, a number second only to the record 13,402 set for the fall of 1999. It is smaller by 695 members than last year’s freshman class, a deliberate move to keep total university enrollment within campus capacity and regents-mandated limits. The class comprises 61 percent females, the same as a year ago. It is 83 percent Georgia residents, but an analysis of Social Security numbers shows 43 percent were issued in other states, reflecting the surge of in-migration to Georgia during these students’ lifetimes. They represent 385 Georgia high schools from 140 counties, and 41 other states. The most out-of-state students come from Tennessee, followed by Texas, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida.