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ISSUE 117 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/19/2003

New class adds more diversity, experience

By Brittany Larson
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 19, 2003

The class of 2007 may be the smallest incoming class at St. Olaf, but that should not stop them from making a big impact.

Of the 728 students who comprise the class, there are 40 National Merit Scholars, 37 Commended Scholars, one National Achievement Scholar and one National Hispanic Scholar. While their median ACT score is 27, the same as the Class of 2006, their median SAT score is 1280, a full 10 points higher. In addition, 55 percent of the students ranked within the top 10 percent of their graduating class, up from last year's 50 percent.

Many first-year students have already expressed views about the classes they are taking. "I think there is more work here than in high school," Clare Kennedy said, However, I also think I’m being babied for awhile."

The academic excellence of the new class is complemented by their diversity. In terms of racial diversity, 10 percent of the class are ethnic minorities. Five years ago, seven percent of the incoming class were ethnic minorities.

Associate Admissions Director Christian Hakala said that the college is striving for ethnic diversity, and ultimately they would like this number at 15 percent.

Not only does the class of '07 bring ethnic diversity, but thanks to a student from Alabama, St. Olaf can now boast a student body with representation from all fifty states. Hakala, who has been here since 1997, said he's never seen every state represented until now.

However, some students do not share the optimistic view of the school’s diversity. Greg Bohrer ‘07 said, "The most diversity you have on campus is people with black hair."

While the male-female ratio of the newest class is 42 percent to 58 percent, it is still an improvement over last year's 39 percent to 61 percent. Sixteen percent of the class are first-generation college students.

Although the Class of 2007 has only been here a few weeks, according to Dean of First-Year Students Kurt Stimeling, they have already crossed their first major hurdle: registration. Stimeling was pleased to report that unlike previous years, he did not observe any tears being shed.

In fact, he said the students seemed to be in "good spirits" throughout the process, and he had not received a single complaint from an unhappy student or parent.

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