As the 2008-2009 school year comes to a close, we say goodbye to our graduating seniors and prepare to welcome a new class of undergrads to USF. Although next year represents a new incoming class, the class of 2013 is actually going to look, well, a lot like last year’s freshmen. While the school is still waiting for responses as the May 1 deadline approaches, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has a pretty good idea of what the class of 2013 will look like.
The ratio of men to women will remain about the same, which is a majority female. The school’s overall female to male ratio is 60 to 40 percent respectively. In 2007, the freshman class was composed of 60 percent women. In 2008, the number jumped to 64 percent.
“We lost some ground there,” said Mike Hughes, USF’s director of undergraduate admissions. “We’re always trying to balance the gender percentages. What people don’t understand is that our percentages are not that much different from the national average of women enrolled in colleges and universities, which is 58 percent,” Hughes said. 64 percent of this year’s applicants were female. The percent of female transfer applicants was also 64 percent.
The acceptance rate for the class of 2013 was slightly higher than last year’s: 66 percent as opposed to 64 a year ago. Hughes explained that the increase in acceptances was a result of the University’s anticipation of a decrease in student enrollment. They tried to compensate for this decrease – an expected result of the harsh economic climate – by accepting more students.
The admissions office always deals with the issue of providing adequate housing for a larger freshman population. Hughes explained that the university always sets a goal for the number of students they wish to enroll. “[We] hope to get around 1050 freshmen for the class of 2013,” he said. “1044 freshmen entered in Fall 2008. The original goal for entering Fall 2008 freshmen was 1032. We actually came in slightly under the total goal for freshmen entering Fall 2008.” Describing the goal-setting process as a “moving target,” Hughes said that USF does its best to guess how many students will enroll, and make sure that classes and residence halls are filled but not overcrowded.
Despite the increased number of accepted students, the admissions office continues to uphold its standards of academic excellence. This year’s freshmen applicants have an average GPA of 3.58. Their SAT scores (reading and math) averaged 1165 out of 1600. Also, the number of students eligible for the University Scholar funding (a status within the university that includes the privilege of early registration and a $19,500 yearly scholarship offered to students with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.8, minimum combined SAT score of 1320, or a minimum ACT score of 30) has increased significantly compared to last year. Hughes estimated that USF extended this invitation to around 450 students, as opposed to 371 in 2008. Last year’s freshmen and transfer applicants included 68 University Scholars.
As far as international students, the school has received around 850 applications from prospective freshmen from other countries. International students typically make up 10 percent of the 8,200 applications received.
Ultimately, the Office of Admissions estimates that the incoming freshmen class will largely resemble the current with the same ratio of men to women and the same percentage of international students. With a few slight changes this year, USF accepted a larger percentage of high school seniors, hoping to fill next year’s freshman class with intelligent, well-rounded students of various backgrounds, while maintaining small class sizes and maximizing space in residence halls.