Freshman class boasts historic incoming GPA

Hallie Saculla

As Kent State welcomed its largest, most diverse and academically talented freshmen class this year, faculty members shared their insight on the recruitment of this unique group.

With an average ACT score of 23 for the 4,335 new students, 17.2 percent racial diversity and 80 percent with a GPA of a 3.0 or higher, the freshmen class made Kent State history.

“That just speaks so well for launching a great academic year and the careers of the class of 2020,” said Kent State President Beverly Warren during September’s Faculty Senate meeting.

T. David Garcia, the senior associate vice president for Strategic Enrollment Management, oversees many factions of Kent State’s enrollment process, including undergraduate admissions. While the ACT-test score average is impressive, Garcia finds GPA to be the largest predictor of success.

“I think what’s most important about the class coming in isn’t the test score, it’s more or less the high school GPA,” Garcia said. “The final high school grade point average landed at a 3.396, which missed our goal of a 3.40, but we are overly excited that more than 80 percent of the entering freshmen had a 3.0 or higher grade point average. It really sends a message that these students coming here are the smartest kids we’ve ever seen.”

Freshmen Fashion Merchandising student Alyssa Rogers is proud to be included in this historical freshmen class.

“My class in high school was the smartest, too. So to continue with that makes me feel like my generation is capable of such incredible things, and I know we will be able to make those things happen,” Rogers said.

When recruiting, Garcia feels it is best to have students come visit campus. Seeing the town and what the university has to offer helps prospective students make their decision to attend Kent State, he said.

Admitted Students Day is just one strategy Kent State uses to encourage students to enroll amidst the competitive realm of recruiting among universities.

Having students come back to campus, hear about financial aid options and meet with faculty to get a sense of the value within their intended major can be helpful when considering schools.

“After I visited Kent, it ended up being the only school I applied to because I was that in love with it,” Rogers said. “I knew if I decided I didn’t want to continue with fashion that they had dozens of other majors I was personally interested in.”

With the rise in diversity of the class of 2020, Kent State raised this percentage by outreach to urban settings and working with non-profits within those communities. While this increase is a step in the right direction, President Warren feels there is more the university can achieve.

“Not only is it the right thing to do, it is the thing we need to do as a distinguished university,” Warren said on closing the minority gap of Kent State.

While the University’s 5-year-plan shows modest enrollment growth, Garcia said the growth primarily will come from increased retention rates and new distance learning programs.