TEMPE, Ariz. -- For years, many have dubbed Arizona State University a "party school". But with this year's incoming freshman class, ASU is looking to change that rap.
This academic year, 38,701 students applied for admission as first-time freshmen. But at the end of Tuesday's registration for classes, ASU enrolled just slightly more than 10,000 academically distinguished students. It's the biggest freshman class yet.
Incoming Sun Devils include a concertmaster of a chamber orchestra, a global humanitarian who raised more than $250K 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 message is carrying far and wide that Arizona State University is a place that embraces and champions excellence and opportunity for all academically qualified students."
The new Sun Devil class is academically strong, with an average high school GPA of 3.4 and average SAT score of 1116. 49 percent are New American University Scholars at the Dean, Provost and President Scholarship levels, the most prestigious scholarships for first-time freshmen.
"I have to crack down when school starts," one student tells us. "I have a scholarship to maintain. I have to be serious."
Almost 6,000 members of the new class of Sun Devils are Arizona residents, like Kevin Kent. "I hope to get a job locally," say Kent. "I love Arizona."
He is the third of three brothers to attend ASU. And his mom says that it's the education they got at ASU that led to very successful careers.
"It's very supportive with lots of opportunities for kids," she says. "Anything you want. If you want parties they're here. If you want focus and academics and pursuing job opportunities, it's also here."
ASU continues to honor its longstanding commitment to socioeconomic diversity and access to education, with more than 31 percent of admitted Arizona residents reporting they will be the first in their family to graduate from a four-year college and 25.6 percent coming from low-income families.