Incoming Freshmen Defy Expectations

August 27, 2002

John Hryhorchuk, <i>Hullabaloo</i> News Co-editor

Entering freshman for the 2002-2003 academic year have once again smashed all previous selectivity records held any other class. After dramatic improvement last year, including being named one of Kaplan's "nine hot schools," the University did not slacken its recruiting efforts.

Even in the wake of unforeseen and catastrophic changes in our nation, Tulane managed to avoid relying upon regional students only and continued forward with the positive trend of recent years.

Garreth Johnson, Assistant Vice President of Undergraduate Admissions for recruiting, said, "It's a very strong class that we have coming in, but what I think makes this past admissions cycle as successful as we see it as the admissions office and the institution is that we had to contend with the terrorists of September 11. If you look at the majority of colleges and universities about 70-75% of their population comes from within a 500 miles radius of their institution. We're absolutely the opposite - 75% of our kids come from outside 500 miles."

All fifty states are represented in the freshmen class this year. North Dakota, which was the only state that did not produce a single enrolling student last fall, is sending two students this year. Beyond Louisiana, which is by far the most heavily represented state, Texas, New York, Florida and California are where most of the Class of 2006 calls home.

Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Georgia and Tennessee comprise the remainder of the top ten. With travel fears still weighing upon the minds of prospective students and an economy that has not been up to par with years past, things could have turned out quite grim.

Johnson said, "You take those two factors and the common wisdom is the fact that you're gonna have a decline in applications, you're gonna have a decline in enrollment, and you're gonna have a decline in the quality of your student body. We certainly bucked that trend."

Tulane did not just buck that trend; the University trampled this presumed series of events. The 12,977 applications received overtook the previous record, set last year, by over 2000. With more applications, the University was able to be much more selective in its admissions. The 56 percent admittance rate is a dramatic improvement upon the 73 percent figure that was present for the Class of 2004.

In addition, the 56 percent rate is comparable to the rates other national universities, including Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech and Michigan-Ann Arbor, reported in US News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges 2002." Not every school was quite as fortunate as Tulane. Johnson said, "Georgetown had their worst yield -- the return on the kids who say 'yes' versus those who have offers to come -- in 20 years. There are certainly some tough stories out there."

The new students boast an average SAT score that ranges between 1260 and 1390. Their ACT scores are equally impressive ranging, on average, from 28 to 31. 61 percent of the freshmen graduated in the top ten percent of their high school class, and 83% made it into the top 20 percent. The plan for continuing this trend of success is simple.

Johnson said, "What we are trying to do is better execute the programs and strategies that we have in place. Our hope and our philosophy is to do better than our peer institutions."

The success of this fall will not be celebrated for long with recruitment for the Class of 2007 is already beginning. The first trip will take place next Wednesday to Baton Rouge with the belief that high school students and families will be more responsive if they are influenced early on in their searches. This year's application record may not stand for long with competition already beginning to flow into the Office of Admissions.

Johnson said, "We already have nine applications that are ready for review. I think that's exciting to see before the first of September."

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000