Though the actual number of students who arrive on campus for the start of classes in August will drop slightly below that number because of normal attrition and last-minute decisions, admissions officials expect the class to settle in the upper-800s. The previous record for class size was set in 1998 with 833 students. Last year’s freshman class locked in at 786 students.
“Right now, the 904 students will most likely be the largest class in Xavier history,” said Marc Camille, dean of admission. “I think what it tells us is that Xavier’s drawing power continues to increase both locally and at the national level.”
The success of the basketball team, with David West last year and the team’s push to the Elite Eight this year, has certainly been a factor in helping make Xavier a more familiar name for prospective college students, Camille said.
“Its success raised the visibility of the University at a national level and helps us as we try to spread the word about Xavier,” Camille said. “The success we had this spring advancing to the Elite Eight was during that time of year when current high school juniors are forming their short list of places they’ll apply to next year and that’s where I think we’ll also gain in the application pool for next year.”
The application pool was also the largest ever this year with 4,774 applications, up from last year’s record of 4,366 applications—an increase of 35 percent in the last two years. The rate of acceptance, meanwhile, which is a measure of a university’s selectiveness, dropped by five points to 73 percent—the lowest in about 40 years.
Camille said the University’s increased efforts to recruit students both locally and nationally has also paid off in increased interest among prospective students of varying backgrounds. Among the incoming class is the largest number of minority students to enroll, now at 16 percent compared to this year’s minority enrollment of 13 percent. Among minorities, which include African American students, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans, the number of black students in the new class is the highest ever with 81 enrolled compared to 62 in the current freshman class—a 31 percent gain. The percentage of black students in the next class is now at 9 percent, up from 8 percent this year.
Another important dynamic of the next class is a slight increase in the number of male students enrolling, up two points to 47 percent from 45 percent in the current class. And the number of first generation students is also up two points to 27 percent from 25 percent. These students are the first in their immediate families to attend college.
“It speaks to the mission of the University first in trying to make our education accessible to students of all different backgrounds and experiences,” Camille said. “It’s the admission and financial aid counseling staffs that are down in the trenches spreading the word and building relationships with families, and financial aid working one on one with families to help them be able to afford Xavier.”
Next year’s class is also notable for its high level of academic achievement. The mean GPA of the incoming students is 3.57, up from last year’s record of 3.54. The average SAT scores remain steady at 1173. Last year’s average SAT scores was 1172.