UConn Sets New Record for Freshman Applications

Jonathan XIV with a stack of admission acceptance packets on Feb. 26, 2015. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Jonathan XIV with a stack of admission acceptance packets. This year's applications are nearing 36,000, a threefold growth since 2000, and counter to the trend of declining applications nationally. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

SHARELINES

Nearly 36,000 aspiring Huskies applied to join UConn as freshmen in Storrs this fall, setting a new applications record from Connecticut residents and drawing interest from students in more than 100 nations worldwide.

More than 35,900 applicants competed for about 3,800 spots at Storrs and about 1,400 at the Hartford, Stamford, Waterbury, and Avery Point campuses. With additional applications still coming in for the regional campuses, the total number will exceed 36,000.

While this year’s application figures from aspiring UConn freshmen are a new record, the numbers have increased steadily since 2000, when the University received 12,120 applications.

The growth in freshman applications since 1995. (John Bailey/UConn Graphic)
The growth in freshman applications since 1995. (John Bailey/UConn Graphic)

Based on deposits received by May 1, it is clear that the fall 2016 freshmen at Storrs will be, once again, among the most academically talented and most ethnically and geographically diverse classes in UConn’s history.

On March 1, UConn started notifying students who were being offered admission, and officials say they are thrilled by those who’ve accepted a seat for this fall among the Class of 2020.

The application count sets a new record, and contains a record number of applicants from Connecticut high school seniors – despite the decline in the number of students graduating from state schools as Connecticut’s population ages.

The average SAT score of this year’s applicants is 4 points higher than last year’s, and applications came from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and 109 countries.

“The explosive growth in applications to UConn over time and this year’s record-high numbers are directly tied to our ability to provide an exceptional academic experience at a competitive cost,” says University President Susan Herbst.

“These numbers are a strong vote of confidence in UConn from talented prospective students and their families,” she adds. “Maintaining and building on our academic quality to ensure this trend continues is our challenge in the years ahead.”

UConn will continue to accept applications until July 1 for its regional campuses.

The explosive growth in applications to UConn over time and this year’s record-high numbers are directly tied to our ability to provide an exceptional academic experience at a competitive cost. — President Susan Herbst

Once again, the jump in UConn applications runs counter to national and regional trends, in which declines in the number of high school graduates have caused many universities to see their applications and enrollments level off or decrease.

A report released in April by the U.S. Department of Education estimates a decline of nearly 12 percent by 2024 in the number of students enrolled in Connecticut high schools, with about 5,400 fewer graduating.

Connecticut already experienced a 3.6 percent drop in school enrollment at all levels between 2006 and 2011, the report says. Other Northeast states from which UConn traditionally draws students have also experienced declines that are expected to continue.

However, UConn’s application trends run counter to those decreases.

The University has been capturing a larger and more talented piece of the shrinking pie, particularly as special initiatives such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs and the Honors Program have drawn interest from high-achieving students.

Biomedical and mechanical engineering, computer sciences, and other STEM programs are among the applicants’ popular choices as potential majors, along with perennial favorites in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, and other schools and colleges.

UConn’s reputation for academic excellence, value, commitment to the environment, and service have been recognized by several outside entities in recent years, all of which also are thought to be contributing to the upswing in applications.

UConn has held strong spots each year on the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of 100 best values in public colleges, and consistently is a Top 25 institution in the annual U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the best public universities.

“With more than one of every three Connecticut high school seniors applying to UConn, it is fair to say that students recognize the incredible opportunities that await them here,” says Nathan Fuerst, UConn’s director of undergraduate admissions.

University officials also have been more aggressively reaching out directly to talented students statewide and nationally who may be good candidates for UConn.