Wednesday was freshman move-in day at Clarion University, and campus traffic was more backed up than at last year's move-in. That's due to a 14 percent increase in the enrollment of first-time-in-college students on the Clarion campus.
The total number of freshmen jumped to 768, according to preliminary data. That's up from last year's 726 freshmen.
"This is the first increase in the freshman class in the last decade," said David Dollins, associate vice president for enrollment management. The top five counties from which students enrolled are: Allegheny, Clarion, Venango, Westmoreland and Jefferson.
This year's freshman class is not only greater in number, but also greater in their level of academic preparation. The average high school GPA of this year's incoming freshmen is 3.5, compared to 3.4 last year. SAT scores reflect similarly: 1,044 compared to last year's 1,041.
Dollins noted that 38 percent of the incoming freshman cohort ranked in the top 25 percent of their graduating class, up from 33 percent last year; 74 percent ranked in the top 50 percent, up from 70 percent last year.
Top majors declared by the freshmen on the Clarion campus are: nursing (four-year BSN), biology, speech language pathology, early childhood education/special education (dual certification) and management.
Racial diversity within the freshman class has also increased. The number of black, non-Hispanic students is up 45 percent over last year, from 55 to 80; the number of Hispanic students doubled, from 16 to 32; and the number of Asian students increased from five to nine.