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USC freshman class is tops

What’s garnet and black and packed with superlatives?

Answer: The University of South Carolina freshman class. USC officials are proudly rolling out the welcome mat for the university’s biggest and brightest freshman class, one with more South Carolinians, more African Americans and the highest SAT score ever.

Students will move into residence halls on Aug. 13 and begin classes on Aug. 18. About 4,550 freshmen are expected, and all will live on campus. Together, with the undergraduate and graduate student body, they will form a student population of 30,000 on the Columbia campus, including 345 in the South Carolina Honors College, and 45,000 students across the eight-campus USC system.

“We couldn’t be more proud of this class and our entire student body across our system,” University President Harris Pastides said Friday (Aug. 5). “We’re educating more South Carolinians than ever before, and the quality of this class is stellar. It is a testament that this university, as the state’s flagship, is fulfilling its mission of educating more South Carolinians.”

The projected average SAT for the freshman class is 1198, 10 points above last year, and the projected average high school GPA has increased from 3.72 to 3.83. According to other preliminary numbers, the SAT for the Honors College is 1427, up from 1416 last year, and the Capstone Scholar SAT ticked up five points, to 1323.

USC Executive Director of Admission Scott Verzyl said the increased enrollment also reflects a 15-percent spike in freshman applications, up to 21,000 for seats in this year’s class. “The University of South Carolina has acquired a national reputation as a best-value school with excellent academics, vibrant student life and extra-curricular opportunities, and outstanding sports programs,” Verzyl said.

“Over the years, faculty and staff at the university have worked hard to provide students with rich experiences, from internships and research opportunities to study abroad choices and academic support that they need to be successful. Clearly, the Carolina secret is out and students from all over South Carolina, as well as all over the country, are choosing to become Gamecocks.”

African-American freshman enrollment is expected to be up by 8 percent, and the percentage of males in the freshman class is projected to be 45 percent. The university is expecting 129 new Gamecock Guarantee students. The Gamecock Guarantee is a need-based scholarship for students with family incomes below $25,000.

“This is an important number for us because it shows that we are committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in our state and educating our most worthy students,” Pastides said. “As the only South Carolina university that provides a need-based, tuition-guaranteed education through our Gamecock Guarantee Program, we are committed to ensuring that our students who are prepared for college academic work can attend USC, no matter their financial means.”

Dean of Students Dr. Dennis Pruitt said the university has spent the summer preparing for the students’ arrival, including renovating the 544-bed Patterson Hall; expanding dining facilities at the Russell House University Union, increasing the number of advisors in the Student Success Center; adding class sections to enroll more students in the internationally recognized University 101 seminar, and adding staff to the university’s Career Center.Parking spaces are available in the Horizon and Discovery parking garages.

"We've also expanded programs in leadership, financial literacy, and broadened opportunities in undergraduate research, study abroad, and service learning to enhance students’ experience and prepare them for life beyond the classroom and make them more competitive when they enter the workforce,” Pruitt said.

Fifty-eight percent of the class is from South Carolina. In addition to the Palmetto State, 39 other states are represented, with North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts and New York sending the most students. Thirteen countries are represented.

The number of transfer students is estimated to be 1,350, up 8 percent. Pruitt said 110 of these students participated in the statewide technical college bridge program, which provides pre- enrollment programs and assistance to help students make a seamless transition to a four-year college.

And, just in case people think they’re seeing double, this class boasts 19 sets of twins and 1 set of triplets in the freshman class!

Verzyl said prospective students for the 2012 academic year can apply by going to the university’s web site. Students are encouraged to apply early because officials anticipate that the applicant pool will be even more competitive.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 08/05/11 @ 2:00 PM | Updated: 08/08/11 @ 2:06 PM | Permalink

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