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ISSUE 118 VOL 20 PUBLISHED 5/13/2005

Incoming class commits

By David Benson-Staebler
Contributing Writer


Friday, May 13, 2005

As of Wednesday, 750 students have committed to attending St. Olaf next year as part of the class of 2009. The 3,000 applicants drew from 40 states, with 57 percent hailing from Minnesota, the same percentage as the class of ’08.

The gender breakdown shows that 45 percent of the class of 2009 are male and 55 percent are female. The class also boasts 16 percent first generation college students, up from 13 percent last year. Despite the college’s efforts to increase diversity at St. Olaf, 10 percent of the students are multicultural, down slightly from 11 percent last year.

The college reports two high school grade point averages for the class of 2009, one reported and one adjusted.

The adjusted average removes weighted grades and non-core classes like badminton from calculation. This average is 3.65 for the incoming class, with 143 students having a perfect 4.0 adjusted GPA.

The average reported GPA, which includes weighted grades, is 3.77, with 250 students having a 4.0 or higher. The average class rank is in the eighty-ninth percentile, with 57 percent of the students graduating in the top 10 percent of their class.

The class SAT average is 1284, slightly up from last year, and the ACT average is 27.

Students that apply to St. Olaf tend to apply to the same other schools, called “overlap schools.”

"Our five major [overlap schools] in decreasing order are Gustavus, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin at Madison, University of St. Thomas and Carleton," said Michael Kyle, vice president and dean of enrollment.

Kyle is especially proud of the college’s commitment to enroll traditionally under-represented populations, which is exemplified by the increase from three percent to 16 percent of first-generation college students.

"We are distinctive in continuing our outreach to historically under-represented populations, [with respect to] multicultural and socio-economical [considerations, as well as attracting] first-generation college students and immigrant populations," Kyle said.

The diversity of the student body is just one consideration of the admissions office.

In trying to compete for the best applicants, "one of our strategies is to use the musical ensembles to promote St. Olaf on their tours," Kyle said. He explained that the college invited prospective students to St. Olaf ensemble concerts while they toured the United States. Prospective students could then meet current students and alumni.

"A lot of alums encourage potential students to apply here," Kyle said. "There is something to perpetuating a tradition."

In future years, St. Olaf hopes to attract students from outside the Midwest. "We are going to look harder in new places, [such as] Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Colorado, the Pacific Northwest and Northern California," said Kyle.

To encourage a more diverse enrollment, the Board of Regents has approved President Christopher Thomforde’s plan to match the multicultural population of St. Olaf with the increasing multicultural population of the Upper Midwest.

"The goal is that fourteen percent of the student body will be multicultural by 2009," said Kyle.

Over the past 25 years, the student demographics have changed some, but not much. In 1981, 1,760 applicants were accepted and 800 of them enrolled. For the class of 2008, 3,118 were accepted, of which 785 enrolled.

In 1981, 64 percent of enrolled students were Lutheran; 50 percent are Lutheran in the class of 2008.

The average ACT score of 25 in 1981 has risen to 28 for the class of 2008.

The two to three percent of multicultural students in 1981 has increased to 11 percent in the class of 2008.

The percentage of students from Minnesota has dropped from 67 percent in 1981 to 57 percent for the class of 2008.





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