Campus News

Top notch: First-year students set new academic records

Nancy McDuff

UGA has welcomed the most academically qualified first-year class in school history, with the highest GPA and SAT averages on record for entering freshmen.

The university also experienced a record number of applications with nearly 20,300 received for fall 2013 admission. Since 2003, the number of freshman applications has increased by 72 percent. Approximately 5,150 first-year students—up 4 percent from 2012—and 1,100 transfer students began classes Aug. 12.

“Every year we are proud to say we have the most academically qualified first-year class in UGA history, and this year is no different,” said Nancy McDuff, associate vice president for admissions and enrollment management. “The record number of applications serves as a positive indicator that the University of Georgia is a solid choice among national universities, and this demand raises our standards for admission.

“Our freshmen remain committed to academics beyond the first year, as evidenced by UGA’s strong retention and graduation rates, among the highest in the country,” McDuff also said. “Ninety-four percent of students continue their education past their first year at UGA, while more than 82 percent of UGA students graduate within six years.”

The freshman class set records for academic criteria, attaining an average 3.86 GPA (the mid-50 percentile range is 3.74 to 4.03). Additionally, this class has the highest SAT average in UGA history with combined mean critical reading and math scores of 1280, plus an average writing score of 617, for an 1897 on the 2400 scale. The mid-50 percentile of the class scored between 1780 and 2020. This year’s mean score for students who took the ACT was 29, with a mid-50 percentile range of 27 to 31. More than 39 percent of the students were admitted based on ACT scores.

The Honors Program has enrolled 526 new first-year students who have an average high school GPA of 4.07 and an average SAT score of 1462 or an average ACT score of 32.7.

The rigor of students’ high school curriculum continues to be a key factor in admissions decisions, with some 95 percent of the students having enrolled in College Board Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes while in high school. Many students earned enough credits to be classified as sophomores and several as juniors during their first term of enrollment. Fourteen percent of students dually enrolled in college while attending high school.

In addition to being the most academically qualified, the 2013 freshman class also is one of the most diverse in UGA history, with more than 28 percent of the entering freshmen self-identifying as an ethnicity other than Caucasian. More than 390 first-year African-American students enrolled (7.6 percent of the class), and more than 284 entering first-year students have self-identified as Hispanic (5.5 percent of the class). Almost 7 percent come from families where English is not the native language. Approximately 6 percent of the freshmen are the first in their immediate family to attend college.

The university continued to strengthen ties throughout the state, with students coming from more than half of the nearly 800 Georgia high schools and 137 of the 159 counties, up from 132 counties in 2012.

Of all Georgia high school students graduating in spring 2012, almost one in 21 enrolled at UGA last week.