UMass freshman class enters university with best academic record

The freshman class at the University of Massachusetts came to campus last week with a very special distinction – the class of 2013 had the best academic profile of any class ever to enroll at the University.

The approximately 4,100 students boast an average SAT score of 1171, up 16 points from last year’s 1155, according to UMass’ Office of News and Media Relations release. The incoming students’ grade point average was 3.57, up from 3.56 in 2008. This year’s average enrolling student also ranked in the 20th percentile of their high school class, a one percent improvement.

The class of 2013, which also set a record for applications at 29,469, enters with similar demography to classes past, with 22 percent minority enrollment.

Executive Director of News and Media Relations Ed Blaguszewski said the news reflects a trend over a several year period of a broader pool of students considering UMass for varying reasons.

“I think this shows a trend that’s happened over the last four, five years where we’ve seen applications rising at a considerable rate,” he said. “We believe that is driven by a greater appreciation for the excellence and value of the University and by the common application, which helps us get into the mix with more students and with a broader range of students.”

Blaguszewski further explained that implementing an early action plan has also accounted for some of the rise in applications, as many students will express their preference for the University from the start.

Chancellor Robert C. Holub spoke on the record-setting class in a release before the start of the year, expressing enthusiasm about the class’ place in the University.

“UMass Amherst ranks among the best public research universities in the country, and we’re proud to have an outstanding group of new students from across the Commonwealth and the nation join our community this fall,” Holub said.

Across campus, freshmen were excited to be part of a record-setting group.

“It feels kind of competitive with so many accomplished freshmen, but it’s also interesting to meet such smart kids,” said freshman Natalie Crowley.

UMass has also dedicated $28 million to financial aid this year, nearly doubling the amount of funding available for aid allotted just six years ago.

This year’s class outranks only one UMass class before it in academic merit; 2008’s entering class was then heralded as the most distinguished class ever to enter the University.

Sam Butterfield can be reached at sbutterfield@dailycollegian.com.

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