Record number of students apply for admission to URI

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Applications, undergraduate enrollment reach highest levels

KINGSTON, R.I. – March, 14, 2012 – More students than ever before are interested in attending the University of Rhode Island.

With some late applications still trickling in, freshman applications for fall of 2012 rose to 20,414, 3 percent over 2011’s total, for the highest number of applications in the University’s 120-year history.

That is more than double the number of applications the University received 20 years ago when it marked its Centennial. There were 10,150 applications for admission submitted in 1992.

“We’ve really been working very hard to recruit students and enroll them,” said Cynthia Bonn, URI dean of admission. “We’ve expanded our travel territories and we’re doing a much better job of communicating with students now via email and social media. We’ve improved our on-campus experience with our tours and daily information sessions, as well as our large-scale events.”

That hard work has paid off.

High school seniors aren’t just applying to the University, they are choosing to enroll at URI as well.

Freshman enrollment has risen 50 percent since 1992 to a total of 3,117 in the 2011-12 freshman class. That number is 9 percent higher than last year.

This year’s freshman class has arguably been the University’s most impressive with 826 students (26 percent) qualifying for the Phi Eta Sigma freshman honor society. Students must maintain a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher. The 826 students who qualified carried an average GPA of 3.75 and 480 joined the society, making it one of the largest Phi Eta Sigma classes ever.

That number lines up with the trend of incoming freshmen having higher high school GPAs upon acceptance to the University than ever before. Students accepted for the fall of 2010 had an average GPA of 3.34 in high school and that number rose to 3.38 for students accepted for the fall of 2011. As of right now, with applications still under review, students who have been accepted so far for the fall of 2012 compiled an average GPA of 3.46, though the final numbers are not yet available and are subject to change.

As the University has attracted more freshmen, undergraduate enrollment at the University has been increasing for more than a decade. Undergraduate enrollment has risen 14 of the past 15 years (2010 was the lone exception) to its current level of 13,602 undergraduate students, also the highest in school history.

That number is a 27 percent increase since 1992 and it is up 1 percent over last year.

Bonn said the University’s commitment to thinking big has helped make it more attractive to students who want to attend a school that offers the benefits of a major research institution without getting lost in a sea of nameless faces.

“We’ve got a terrific new brand and that certainly hasn’t hurt,” she said. “It has improved the way the University is perceived locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.”

Figures courtesy of Admissions and Institutional Research departments.