This fall, Arizona State University welcomes a freshman class that sets new records on many levels.
Some 38,701 students applied for admission as first-time freshmen of which ASU will enroll 10,149 from around the globe.
The continued surge in the nation’s largest public university bodes well for plans to build an ASU branch campus in Payson, expected to eventually house 6,000 students. A study by the Arizona Board of Regents estimates the state will need to produce about twice as many university degrees in 20 years as it does now.
ASU remains the “preferred partner” for the Payson campus effort, which will use investor money and donations to provide dorms and campus facilities.
ASU officials reportedly spent much of last week in Payson discussing the project, which has come out of limbo with an announcement by the U.S. Forest Service that it will sell the land to the Rim Country Educational Alliance (SLE) based on an independent appraisal.
Incoming Sun Devils include a concertmaster of a chamber orchestra, a global humanitarian who raised more than $250,000 for orphans in North Korea, and a member of the Running Start Young Women Political Leadership Program in Washington, D.C.
“ASU is increasingly becoming the school of choice for Arizona students, as well as for students from outside the state and other nations,” said Elizabeth D. Phillips, executive vice president and provost.
The new Sun Devil class has an average high school GPA of 3.4 and average SAT score of 1116. Forty-nine percent are New American University Scholars at the Dean, Provost and President Scholarship levels, the most prestigious scholarships for first-time freshmen.
Among this year’s class are 5,747 Arizona residents, 63 percent of whom will graduate in the top 25 percent of their high school class.
For Brandon Deatherage, of Phoenix, ASU was his only choice. While he is just beginning his college years, he has his eyes set on becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.
“I chose ASU because I’m a pre-med student and I heard they teamed up with Mayo Clinic, so that’s pretty motivating,” said Deatherage.
Nearly one-third of the in-state students will be the first in their families to graduate from the university and 25.6 percent come from low-income families.
The freshman class includes the largest number of non-resident students, 4,244, a 29 percent increase from last fall. Students come from 71 countries and all 50 states, including 1,314, from California.
Melanie Abramoff, from Agoura Hills, Calif., considered the University of Southern California, but only applied to ASU. She said she “fell in love with” the Downtown Phoenix campus after she visited.
“I wanted to be part of the Cronkite journalism and mass communication program,” said Abramoff, who aspires to work for the Food Network or Entertainment Tonight. “They have excellent teachers, and they’re hands-on and looking out for the best interests of their students.”
Collectively, this year’s freshmen make up ASU’s most diverse class to date in terms of their racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, with 40 percent racial and ethnic minorities.
More international students will call ASU and the Phoenix-area their home than ever before, with nearly 900 new freshmen hailing from outside of the United States — a 66 percent increase from last year’s class of 529 international freshmen. ASU has set the record for number of new international students each of the last five years, in part a reflection of the institution’s recognition as a top-100 university in the world by both the Center for World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
ASU continues to attract students interested in studying in the high-demand STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. The top 10 majors of choice for newly admitted students include biological sciences, mechanical engineering, biochemistry, computer science, biomedical engineering and health sciences. Rounding out the top 10 are business — the most popular major — psychology, and journalism and mass communication.