ACT scores and student enrollment are at an all-time high for Auburn University this year.
Enrollment at the University increased from 24,530 students in fall 2008 to 24,602 in fall 2009.
This year’s freshman class earned an average ACT score of 26.2, surpassing last year’s average of 25.9.
Director of University Recruitment Cindy Singley said the freshmen at Auburn had the highest average ACT score in the state.
“We were looking for a well-rounded class,” Singley said. “We know we are representing our alumni and the state of Alabama when we choose (students).”
The University likes to consider students in the middle percentile concerning ACT scores, Singley said.
“Twenty-five percent of our class came in with a 23 or higher, and 25 percent came in with a 28 or lower,” Singley said. “We have strong, well-rounded students at all academic levels.”
Regarding enrollment, Singley said graduate and professional students comprise about 20 percent of the overall student population.
Auburn anticipates reaching 25,000, which is the maximum number of students who may be admitted according to the University’s policy on capping enrollment, Singley said.
“We try to keep the freshman class between 3,700 and 4,000, with 40 percent of students out of state,” Singley said. “We also (accept) at least 1,200 additional transfer students.”
Auburn has students from all 50 states and more than 70 countries, Singley said.
“Diversity fits in with our wanting to have a well-rounded class and represent the state well,” Singley said.
Singley said the University has partnered with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity to increase enrollment of students of various ethnicities.
“We are working with this organization and holding other events to increase the population of these students (at Auburn),” Singley said.
The number of minority students enrolled at the University has increased by 15 percent from 416 students last year to 477 this year.
The University caps undergraduate enrollment at 20,000 students, Singley said.
“We get 17,000 to 18,000 undergraduate applications each year,” Singley said. “Students with high ability levels are automatically admitted.”
Singley said she thinks one reason the University experienced higher enrollment and ACT scores for incoming freshmen is an effort to make the recruitment process more thorough.
“More rigorous recruitment efforts help us compete with other schools,” Singley said. “We traveled to a lot of different states and increased the number of publications mailed to high school students from their sophomore to senior year.”
Another factor that may have contributed to the enrollment and test score increase is the expansion of the University’s scholarship program over the past three years, Singley said.
“We have increased scholarship dollars and opportunities,” Singley said. “We have many different scholarships for in-state and out-of-state students.”
According to the Office of University Scholarships’ Web site, Auburn offers scholarships for numerous categories including resident, non-resident, transfer, general, Board of Trustees, alumni, departmental, ROTC, athletic and external.
“The Spirit of Auburn scholarships are merit-based,” Singley said. “They are guaranteed scholarships for in-state students who meet the minimum requirements of a 28 on the ACT and a 3.25 GPA (and) who apply by Dec. 1.”
Singley said the University holds Talented Academic Leaders Outstanding National Scholars days and other scholarship recognition programs to promote Auburn to prospective students who have been offered University scholarships.
“Auburn continues to gain notoriety,” Singley said. “Students continue to seek us out because of our academic excellence.”
Mike Clardy, director of communications, said the University’s goal is to attract more quality freshmen to the University each year.
“It’s never been about having the most students in Alabama,” Clardy said. “We want to continue to elevate academics at Auburn, and the higher ACT score has indicated that.”