As Clarion University kicks off a new year, the quality of academic credentials of the incoming freshman class is the highest it has been in more than a decade. Grade point averages have been creeping up, from 3.20 in 2005 to 3.43 now.
"Seventy-two percent of the incoming class carries a GPA greater than 3.10," said David Dollins, associate vice president for enrollment management. "In addition, 68 percent of the incoming class ranked in the top half, and 24 percent ranked in the top fifth, of their high school classes."
SAT scores are higher, too, with an average score of 1040, up from last year's average of 1036.
"With the inception of Clarion providing merit scholarships, along with the creation of the director of scholarships position, we have been able to attract some of the best students in the Clarion region and throughout western Pennsylvania. In fact, this freshman class earned more than $1 million in merit awards, all of which goes toward helping them access the fantastic opportunities here," Dollins said.
"We consistently hear from students and families how much they appreciate the highly personalized and hands-on academic environment that Clarion provides. Our academic programs continue to lead the State System in the number of national accreditations, and students know they are going to gain an exceptional experience, both inside and outside of the classroom," he said.
Dollins said these factors, combined, add up to the increase in academically prepared students.
Further evidence of Clarion's increasingly well prepared students is this year's expanded capacity of the Honors Program, which provides an academic opportunity for students whose intellectual and creative interests and abilities are beyond conventional university offerings. Admission to the program requires a minimum 1220 SAT score and 3.64 high school GPA; Clarion expanded the program to admit 54 new freshmen.
The top majors declared by the new freshman class are: nursing (four-year BSN), biology,
speech pathology and audiology, undecided/exploratory, medical imaging sciences, early
childhood/special education, management, allied health, criminal justice administration,
early childhood education, and accounting.
Enrollment numbers for fall 2018 will be available after Sept. 17.