Thursday, May 17, 2007
Enrollment at Tech stays robust for '07
The university received deposits from 5,215 students planning to enroll as freshmen.
The numbers are in for Virginia Tech's 2007 freshman class, and enrollment shows no signs of being affected by the recent campus shootings.
"We're right on target, a few up from last year," said Norrine Bailey-Spencer, associate provost and director of undergraduate admissions.
Tech received deposits from 5,215 students planning to enroll as freshmen this fall. That's up from 5,185 last year. The school has a target of 5,000 students after the first week of classes. Last year's initial group dropped to 5,084 by that time last year.
The shootings occurred in the middle of April -- the month when students decide whether or not to accept offers from schools. But the university received enough acceptance notices to not offer admission to any of the 1,441 students on its waiting list.
Last year, 121 students were offered admission from the waiting list. In 2005 and 2003, Tech also made no offers to students on its waiting list.
Admissions spokeswoman Amy Widner said seven students cited the shootings as their reason to not come to Tech. Many other students -- both those accepting and declining invitations -- sent positive notes about how well the university community reacted in the wake of the shootings, she said.
She said the response did not surprise her.
"We have to plan for many outcomes to be sure we have a plan for a variety of levels of response to our offers, but we know that the things that make Virginia Tech such an excellent place to live and learn have not changed," she said.
Spencer said she was "delighted" with the quality of students accepting invitations to enroll. The average SAT score of the incoming class is 1,205, up from last year's 1,201. The average high school grade-point average of the class is 3.77, up from 3.74 last year.
About 75 percent of the students classified themselves as white, while 8.7 percent of the students identified themselves as Asian, 3.5 percent black and 3.2 percent Hispanic. The percentage of students indicating none of the above on the question of race or ethnicity was 8.7 percent.
The percentage of white students is up slightly from last year at Tech, which has struggled with issues of diversity in recent years. The percentage of black students dropped from 5.8 percent in 2003 to less than 5 percent last year, the fourth-lowest among the state's 15 four-year public universities.
Widner said the rate of responses from students remained steady throughout April despite the shootings. It's too early to tell if the 2008 freshman class will be affected by the event. Applications for fall 2008 are expected to be available online late this summer. The vast majority of applications come in between October and December.