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U.Va.’s Class Of 2007 More Diverse, Better Qualified

August 21, 2003 -- The record 3,100 first-year students expected to move into the University of Virginia’s first-year residence halls this weekend are collectively a little more diverse, a little more academically successful and a little more male than those who occupied the suites and rooms a year ago.

Then again, maybe not. University officials have been told to expect a larger-than-usual number of no-shows among international students, as student visas have apparently become harder to secure, said John A. Blackburn, U.Va.’s dean of admission.

Last year about 30 international students were unable to attend the University, and even more could be denied visas this year, Blackburn said.

The 3,100 first-year students expected — from an applicant pool of nearly 14,700 — represent the largest incoming class in U.Va. history. In addition, the University accepted 534 transfer students, including 148 from Virginia’s community colleges.

“The class is bigger than we thought it would be,” Blackburn said. “We expected a bigger ‘summer melt.’” When the official enrollment numbers are finalized in early October, Blackburn expects around 3,070 first-year students, or about 30 more than had been projected.

The percentage of students identifying themselves as white Americans declined slightly, from 68.3 percent to 66.6 percent. The percentage of African Americans also declined slightly, from 9.6 to 8.8 percent. Asian-American students — the largest ethnic minority in the entering class — increased their percentage from 9.7 percent to 10.1 percent. (An additional 6.3 percent — up from 4.9 percent — are listed as “unclassified/unknown,” many by choice. “A growing number of multiracial students don’t want to be placed in one box,” Blackburn said.)

The students’ academic measures continue to improve. The entering class’s average verbal, math and combined SAT scores all crept higher; verbal scores were up six points to 653 out of a possible 800; math scores were up two points to 670; and combined scores rose nine points to 1,323 out of a possible 1,600. The students weren’t just successful standardized test-takers; 85.1 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes, compared with 84 percent last year.

Two-thirds of those enrolled are Virginians, which is right on the University’s usual target, Blackburn said. The largest contingent of out-of-state students comes from New York (114), followed by Pennsylvania (86), Maryland (79) and New Jersey (76). South Korea contributed the most international students (40), followed by China (22), Canada (15), India (14) and Turkey (13).

Female students continue to outnumber males, but by a slightly smaller margin. Men make up 45.8 percent of this first-year class, compared to 44.9 percent last fall.

The number of “legacy” students — those with at least one parent who graduated from the University — held steady at about 13 percent.

The admissions office made a conscious attempt to screen early-decision applicants more rigorously this year in order to prevent them from gaining an advantage over those who participate in the regular process, Blackburn said. As a result, 29 percent of the class was accepted early, compared with 31.7 percent last year.

Contact: Dan Heuchert, (434) 924-7676

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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Last Modified: Thursday, 21-Aug-2003 17:01:59 EDT
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