Freshmen roll in as UCF marks 50 years
Future lies with new students
Published: Monday, August 13, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2012 12:08
As UCF celebrates half a century of history this upcoming year, it will be up to the incoming freshman class to live up to the expectations of the expanding university.
This year marks not only 50 years of UCF being an established institution, but it also marks another wave of student admissions. This year’s incoming freshman class size is about the same size as last year’s with approximately 3,600 students chosen from 23,000 applicants, Gordon Chavis Jr., associate vice president of Undergraduate Admissions said. This year, UCF also has 67 new fall freshmen who are National Merit Scholars, giving the university a total of 240 recipients who currently attend UCF; there will also be 79 new UCF Provost Scholars. All class sizes and statistics are approximations and will be finalized after add/drop week.
Another statistic to notice is that there is also a trend of increasing transfer students each year. This year, the university accepted 6,300 transfers out of the 15,000 who applied.
“We believe this freshman class will be one of the strongest freshman classes in UCF history,” Chavis wrote in an email.
As UCF prepares to ring in 50 years with lots of additions, Provost and Executive Vice President Tony Waldrop also sees the incoming freshman class as being one of the strongest academically, plus having a great advantage due to the ever-evolving campus.
“To be 50 years old, it is amazing how much UCF has accomplished. Most universities at 50 years old would not have nearly the campus we have. It would be much smaller, more contained than the campus we have now, so I think that adds to the richness of getting an education,” Waldrop said.
Not only do the faculty see the incoming students as great prospects, but our own current student population also sees great enthusiasm and opportunities, too. Student Government Association President Cortez Whatley said he looks forward to a great upcoming year with lots of involvement from the freshman class.
“I have met a lot of freshmen this year. Rachel [Brill, SGA vice president,] and I take rotations in speaking during the orientation sessions, and I am very impressed from the freshman that I have had the opportunity to speak with so far,” Whatley wrote in an email.
He explained how he looks forward to a lot more involvement from the students with the processes on campus, especially with committees like the Student Body President’s Advisory Council. He wishes to give them more responsibilities that extend beyond just giving their opinions, like giving them tasks to complete regarding some of their own platform initiatives.
To add to the excitement, the Burnett Honors College will also be celebrating 30 years as a program, and 15 years as a college, this upcoming year. Brandy Christman, the honors admissions specialist, and Madi Dogariu, director of Honors Student Services, both shared how this year’s incoming freshman class for the Honors College is just as academically strong as ever, with the incoming freshman class having an average weighted GPA of 4.2, SAT of 1390 (math/verbal) and a composite ACT score of 31. Approximately 500 applicants were accepted this year out of 1,500 who applied, with students coming from 29 different states as far as Hawaii, Christman said.
The factor that makes this group stand out is the fact that they are an even more culturally diverse group than years before, Dogariu said. This year there are students who speak 22 foreign languages, including languages such as Romanian and Tagalog, hailing from 11 different foreign countries. The students all have a variety of talents, ranging from a competitive figure skater to an origami artist, which also makes this year’s freshmen different from previous years.
“They are the strongest and most diverse class we have ever had. We met them at orientation, and we do look forward to seeing what they choose to become involved in once they are here on campus at UCF,” Christman said.
LEAD Scholars, a two-year leadership development program at UCF, also looks forward to having one of its most diverse and academically strongest classes of freshmen this upcoming year.
Compared to the previous year, the program has become more selective. This year the program only accepted 300 freshmen first years, unlike last year when 345 were accepted, yet the average GPA for the incoming class still remains at 3.95.
LEAD Scholars denied almost double the amount of students compared to last year, Stacey Malaret the director of Student Leadership Development said, based on many applicants not scoring within the acceptance range based on their 100-point grading scale. One of the things Malaret pointed out was the number of hours of community service this year’s incoming freshman class has performed, with one student performing more than 1,000 hours. It showed a lot of great prospective community involvement and initiative, she said.