Highly qualified freshman class begins studies at WSU

Washington State University students began their fall semester classes Monday (Aug. 22) with more than 23,000 students coming back to school at four WSU campuses.

Among those students are about 2,900 first-time freshmen who are starting classes on the Pullman campus.

The incoming freshman class in Pullman again appears to be a highly qualified group. Preliminary estimates put the overall high school grade point average of the incoming class at 3.5, with more than 38 percent having a high school grade point average of 3.6 or above. Both figures represent slight increases from fall 2004. The average SAT score of the incoming class is about 1,100, up almost 20 points from the previous year. 

“We are pleased with the steadily improving quality of our entering freshmen,” said WSU Provost Robert Bates. “This will help us achieve multiple benchmarks and strategic goals. Well-prepared students tend to be retained at a higher rate and graduate more quickly, and also contribute to the fabric of our campus life.”

At this point, enrollment figures are preliminary. Official enrollments are totaled after the 10th day of classes of the semester for all four WSU campuses in Pullman, Vancouver, Tri-Cities and Spokane.

This year’s incoming freshman class in Pullman is purposefully smaller in number than the incoming classes in the fall of 2003 (3,032) and fall of 2004 (3,108). The enrollment target was lowered to avoid overcrowding. As a result of the previous two large freshman classes and strong student retention, WSU officials still expect the overall enrollment for the Pullman campus to be up slightly when enrollment figures are finalized after the 10th day of classes. Last year, fall enrollment for the Pullman campus was 18,609.

Overall, this year’s incoming class in Pullman appears to be slightly more diverse than the freshman classes that immediately preceded it. Based on preliminary estimates, minority students make up 15 percent of the freshman class, as compared to 14.5 percent of the incoming freshmen in fall 2004 and 13.7 percent in fall 2003.

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