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Freshman class continues upward trend

by Richard Veilleux - August 28, 2006

More than 3,200 freshmen, and another 12,000 returning undergraduates, arrived at the Storrs campus this weekend.

For the 11th consecutive year, UConn's entering class exhibits the academic success that has made UConn the top public university in New England and among the best public universities in the nation.

The Class of 2010 is projected to average 1195 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), a six-point increase compared to last year's entering class and an impressive 82 points higher than the class that entered in 1996, when the SAT was recentered.

The class also includes more than 100 valedictorians and salutatorians; and minorities represent 20 percent of the class. Thirty-eight percent of the students were ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating class.

Applications also increased for the 11th straight year, up 6.4 percent compared to last year, at nearly 21,000, a more than 100 percent increase from 1995.

And, for the fourth consecutive year, the number of applications from out-of-state residents topped the number of applications from Connecticut high schoolers.

With the number of out-of-state students admitted limited to 30 percent, those applicants have only about a one-in-10 chance of admission.

To help handle the increasing enrollment, more than 30 additional faculty have been hired, in addition to those hired to fill vacant, existing, positions.

The regional campuses also are attracting large numbers of students, with more than 1,100 freshmen enrolling at the five campuses, and another 200 students transferring into the regionals, largely from four-year schools, says Dolan Evanovich, vice provost for enrollment management.

At 1,300, the total number of new students is about 15 percent higher than last year's class, with increases reported at all five campuses.

In this year's U.S. News & World Report rankings, published Aug. 18, the University was ranked the best public university in New England for the eighth year in a row.

The magazine, used by students and parents when choosing colleges, ranked UConn the 27th best public university in the nation, one spot higher than last year.  

"The rankings confirm what we have seen demonstrated in more meaningful ways," says Evanovich.

"High-achieving students are increasingly attracted to the University of Connecticut because it is an excellent value. The rankings are important to parents and students, but the real assessment of a University is the decision that highly qualified students make in choosing to enroll."

UConn's retention rates also have climbed from 87 percent of the freshmen class in 1995 to 92 percent in 2004, the most recent data available.

The four-year graduation rate is 54 percent and the six-year graduation rate is 72 percent, placing UConn among the top public universities in the nation.

"Ten years ago when the state invested in UConn 2000, it hoped the University could attract and retain high-achieving students," says Evanovich. "Clearly, it worked."

Each year, U.S. News rates about 1,400 accredited four-year colleges, based on a survey of the school's academic reputation, retention and graduation rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, and alumni giving. There are more than 290 public universities in the nation.

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