The 2015 fall enrollment at Western was the largest freshman class in the history of the University, beating out last year’s record.
A total of 9,915 applied to Western for this academic year. Of the 15,332 students enrolled, 2,809 of them were freshmen, said Clara Capron, the assistant vice president of Enrollment and Student Services.
There was a 6 percent increase in students of color in the freshman class compared to last year: 844 for fall of 2015 and 793 for fall of 2014, according to the Western website.
Thirty percent of all freshman students were students of color for Fall 2015 compared to 28 percent last year. Along with growth in diversity has come growth in the number of admittances being sent out.
Freshman Tristen Burns looks forward to being able to say she was part of a record-breaking class, she said.
The same trend goes for first-generation freshman students. There was a 4 percent increase with 944 admitted for fall of 2015 compared to 906 in the fall of 2014.
“Western is succeeding as a university because, as is again the case today, in each of the last ten years, we were more diverse than the year that preceded. That firmly established trend now assures confidence as, ten years from now, we then look among us to find that we ever more reflect the diversity that enriches our state,” President Bruce Shepard said in a convocation speech in 2014.
Freshman Shelby Lex agrees that Western can be considered successful because of the increase in diversity.
“That’s what most universities are striving for, is greater diversity amongst their students because that brings in a wider array of opinions and backgrounds and it can only improve discussions and acceptance in the student body,” Lex said.
The University is experiencing more interest than ever before, Capron said. The incoming GPAs of the freshman class are on the rise and admission application numbers are higher than ever before.
Senior Pryce Baker thinks that the increase in enrollment applications make it so that academics play a larger part in who does or does not get in, he said.
“I know academics aren’t everything that goes into what you’re looking for when you’re applying to college, but it’s starting to be that only really well rounded people are getting accepted and it is competitive and you’re getting really awesome people here,” Baker said.
Western is especially pleased that the growing number of talented and diverse students in the state are attracted to Western as their school of choice, Capron said.
Western is becoming increasingly well known for providing an outstanding undergraduate experience at an affordable cost, Capron said.
“Diversity may be important from the perspective of fulfilling our mission, meeting state needs, and social justice. But, it is also a critically important ingredient for enhancing the value – the excellence – of everybody’s Western education,” President Shepard said in his convocation speech.