Freshman class sets academic records

Patrick Sullivan

Preliminary figures indicate the freshman class is the most academically prepared in UK history.

According to a UK news release, this year’s freshman class totals 4,326, up from 4,153 last year. It is the best prepared to succeed of any first- year class at UK. The class has a record 25.2 ACT composite average, up from 24.7 last year. The average high school GPA is also at an all-time high at 3.6, up from 3.52 last year, and the number of freshmen with an ACT score of more than 26 sets a new record at 1,886.

“We are extremely proud to welcome the most academically talented first-year class in UK history,” said UK President Lee Todd. “Our composite ACT score went up dramatically, which is a reflection of the growing academic reputation of UK in Kentucky and nationally.”

In addition to rising test scores and GPAs, the freshman class experienced a significant increase in diversity. Enrollment of Hispanic students is up 28 percent to 111. African-American enrollment also showed an increase compared to last year. In fall 2009, 403 African-American freshmen enrolled at UK. This fall, UK has 412 new freshmen who identified black or African-American as at least one of the categories to describe their race or ethnicity.

The option to self-identify using more than one race or ethnicity category is a new method that the federal government mandates of collecting data for all future reporting, according to the news release. Because of the new race or ethnicity reporting method, exact comparisons with previous years are no longer possible.

The major increase in statistics is not just prevalent in the freshman class.

According to the release, more students are transferring to UK from other higher educational institutions. The new number of transfers is 1,147, up 10 percent from last year. Transfers from Bluegrass Community and Technical College are up 11 percent and transfers increased 13 percent from the entire Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

While freshmen and transfer statistics rose, the graduate school saw a slight drop in numbers with 5,411 students. Despite the decrease, UK has a record enrollment of 2,206 for students seeking a research doctorate.