The University of Oregon is seeing its biggest freshman class this year, officials said Monday. On the same day as the fall term began, the university announced that it had more than 4,600 freshmen on campus.
Last fall, when the UO and many other campuses were closed mostly due to pandemic restrictions, the university welcomed just under 4,000 freshmen.
âIt’s a really exciting day,â said Roger Thompson, UO’s vice-president for student services and enrollment management. âIt’s the first day of school. We all have our students back on campus, and outside of the foggy weather everything else looks really bright. “
Thompson said the number of freshmen – exactly 4,602 students – is unofficial and could be a bit higher as the start of the term continues.
As well as being the largest freshman class, this year’s class is also the most racially diverse among domestic students, Thompson said.
âWe’ve actually set a 10 diversity record of the last 11 years, so that just builds on a more diverse class,â he said.
This year’s freshman class also has the highest grade point average ever in high school – 3.73.
In addition to freshmen, UO also sets a record for the total number of new students, including transfer students, with more than 5,600 students.
One of the factors contributing to OU’s larger freshman class is that the university is accepting a higher proportion of applicants. The UO admission rate has increased in recent years: it was 88% this year compared to 84% last year and 82% in 2019.
âOur team knew we wanted to be understanding in our review of applications given the number of students who adapted to online and distance learning during their senior year,â Thompson told OPB. “We are proud that the academic quality of this freshman class did not suffer but rather broke a record.”
Many of these new students, as well as returning students, live on campus. Students began moving into campus residences in Eugene last Thursday. According to the university, 4,950 students were due to move in during the past week.
âOur students, our new students in particular, have had a really tough 18, 19 months. Their high school during their senior year has been incredibly difficult and impacted by the pandemic, âsaid Thompson. “So I think there was a kind of pent-up energy for the students to go back to college and do something a little more normal.”
Oregon State University and Portland State University have also seen an increase in the number of students coming to live on campus, after a year of decline in 2020.
All of Oregon’s public universities have immunization mandates. Thompson, at UO, said the vaccine requirement was drawing students to campus. Currently, according to the UO Immunization Dashboard, 96.1% of students who have submitted their immunization information – either proof of vaccination or a valid exemption – are fully immunized. There are still around 2,000 students who have not yet submitted this information.
Another unique facet of this new class at UO is that it is the very first to be recruited entirely virtually.
âWe haven’t had campus visits as of March 2020,â Thompson said. âFor the first time since 1876, when the University of Oregon opened, we have recruited virtually and using technology a group of completely new students.