Record number of students enroll at ASU

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by Tami Hoey

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on August 21, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 25 at 12:00 PM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's the first day of school for students at Arizona State University. And this fall, Sun Devils have a lot to celebrate, including record-setting enrollment!

As the fall 2014 semester gets underway, the university anticipates an enrollment of more than 82,000 undergraduate and graduate students.That's a new record for number of students enrolled and a nearly eight percent increase from last year.

And that includes more than 11,000 freshmen! "They're such a good class," says Kent Hopkins, ASU Vice Provost for Enrollment Services. "Their average GPA is 3.4, and a little bit over 1,100 on the SAT. They are good academically, socially and culturally. We're so pleased that they're here."

Increases also are seen in number of transfer, international and veteran and veteran dependent students, and the student body is the most diverse ever.

“Students are choosing ASU because they know we are the right choice to help open their eyes to a new world filled with possibilities. They have come here to work hard and we are committed to teaching, guiding and mentoring them along the way," says Hopkins. “The Sun Devil family grows stronger every year and we are looking forward to seeing what our students envision and accomplish.”

Preliminary first-day enrollment shows records set across nearly all areas. Undergraduate enrollment grew to 66,309 and graduate school enrollment grew to 15,751 for a total of 82,060.

ASU is making sure all those new students are comfortable. Student ambassadors lined the Tempe campus Thursday morning, giving directions and answering questions. "Where's my class and how do I get there?" were questions one new student had. "It's a big campus!"

Other students are starting out online, or on some of the smaller campuses.

Getting ready to start the school year is Preston Adcock, from Glendale, a junior life sciences major in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and a Barrett honors student. He has his dream set on going to medical school and working as an orthopedic surgeon or in emergency medicine.

“I like New College and West campus because it’s small enough to make friends on campus whether you live on or off campus,” Adcock said. “The professors are fantastic.”

Freshman enrollment this year grew to more than 11,000. Applications received were more than 46,000, a 25 percent increase over the previous academic year. The Fall 2014 freshman class is an academically strong group, with an average high school GPA 3.4 and average SAT score of 1113. More than half, 54 percent, are New American University Scholars at the Dean, Provost and President Scholarship levels, the most prestigious scholarships for first-time freshmen.

Transfer enrollment has grown to more than 8,800 – up nearly 13 percent from fall 2013. The transfer class is academically strong, with an average 3.1 transfer GPA.

Jonathan Williams transferred to ASU from Glendale Community College in Glendale (metro Los Angeles) California. He is currently studying communications, but plans to switch to journalism to pursue his career goal of becoming a sports journalist. He learned about the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from friends at a USC football game and decided to apply, because “it’s better than the state journalism schools in California.” He’ll be working as a news reporter at the State Press this semester.

"I'm looking forward to the resources at a major research university, and delving into writing and photography as part of my job at the State Press,” Williams said. "For me, writing is a passion, and I want to be a journalist because I want to be able to write about what's important and going on in the world, and keep people informed."

International campus-based enrollment increased 33.6 percent to 8,787 students. The top 10 countries for international enrollment at ASU are China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Canada, Kuwait, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Mexico. In addition, some 600 Brazilian students are calling ASU their educational home for the next academic year through their government-sponsored Brazil Scientific Mobility Program.

Viswajith Hanasoge Nataraja, from Bangalore, India, is pursuing his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and his area of interest is fluid mechanics and energy. He is a student worker in the University Sustainability Practices office, is actively involved in the Zero Waste at ASU initiative, and is vice-president of the Indian Student Association at ASU.

“I spoke to many friends here in the U.S. and in India, and to my lecturers in India, and their top recommendation was ASU because of its infrastructure, attention to detail and quality of the faculty. It also has excellent research facilities,” he said. “I enjoy being a part of ASU’s sustainability efforts, and think that this will also give me an edge in my professional skill set.”

Other milestones: The ASU student body is the most diverse, 34 percent, ever; new graduate enrollment increased more than 10 percent; and more than 4,000 veterans and veteran dependents have enrolled-- a 25 percent increase in overall enrollment and a 62 percent growth in new graduate enrollment since last year.

Patrick Harris, a senior airman in the Arizona National Guard out of Tucson, is majoring in music education with a minor in youth services leadership. A sophomore from Newport News, Va., who served in the Air Force for four-and-a-half years, he found through research that ASU is one of the top schools for supporting military veterans and for music education.

"The experience at ASU has been getting even better, especially as I take advantage of the opportunities to get involved in activities and organizations. I'm part of the Sigma Alpha Lambda fraternity, and am involved with the marching band at Marco de Niza High School in Tempe, Scottsdale and Mesa Community Colleges' bands, and Sonic Brass Band,” said Harris. "I've always wanted to teach music, and knew that I needed a degree to do so. I wanted to put in the work to achieve my dream."

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