Freshman class marks increase in GPA and diversity

Heath Hutchinson, Campus Carrier staff writer

With this year’s freshman class having settled in, Berry looks forward to another year of growth and opening up more transformative learning opportunities for its students.

Associate Dean of Students Lindsay Norman provided some insight into how the housing process went this year.

“When we were doing room assignments in June, it felt pretty tight, but we were able to house everybody, ” Norman said. “They’re might have been a few female students who had to wait a few days, but everyone received their housing by the beginning of July.” 

For Norman, it’s better to look on the bright side should there be any difficulties with the housing process. 

“We want to be full and we want everyone to have the opportunity to live with us, so it’s really a good problem to have,” Norman said.

Norman also touched on the number of incoming students.

“From what we can tell, this isn’t the biggest class we’ve ever had,” Norman said. “We’ve had bigger classes from two or three years ago, but this class is large.”

On Aug. 14, Vice President for Enrollment Management Andrew Bressette talked about some of the other statistics regarding the incoming class.

“We have 626 new students who are moving onto campus this week. That’s about 584 freshmen and 42 transfer students,” Bressette said. “We are right at our goal for the incoming number of students.”

Bressette also mentioned that the class’s grade point average has slightly improved from years past.

“77% of the class have a recalculated high school GPA of 3.6 or higher and that’s up three points from last year,” Bressette said.

Interestingly, some statistics were also provided on the top three areas of study the entering class will be going into.

“If you were to take our animal science, pre-med and science areas, that comprises 38% of the entering class, so we have been able to bring the amount of science majors down a little bit, which means the portfolio has been rebalancing,” Bressette said. “Business was 12% and the third largest segment is undecided.”

The enrollment team actually considers the large number of undecided students to be healthy as it could open up pathways within the Berry community and allow new students to really explore their options.

“We think that’s a great thing for a school like Berry,” Bressette said. “Being able to tell [undeclared students] this is a great place to come, and to have mentoring to help them find a path and a passion helps both those students and those parents.”

Given how application numbers have been changing as of late, so has the admission rate, but Bressette considers these changes to be beneficial.

“Because our applications are up, our admit rate has dropped to about 62%,” Bressette said. “If you go back about 5 years, we were admitting about 78% which means we’re able to look a little bit more carefully and be a little bit more selective and really strive to find the students for whom this education is going to be transformational, and who really want to be here and be a part of this amazing community.”

Finally, Bressette touched on the factor that race and ethnicity plays in the admission process, and what the push for diversity is really all about.

“I want to affirm that Berry has not been using race or ethnicity to make admission decisions,” Bressette said. “Our work to increase the diversity of the incoming class comes really around providing access and increasing the number of students who are considering Berry, and who learn about Berry, and more importantly, who come to Berry and see a welcoming community.”

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