As more students apply to colleges across the country than ever before, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, Fairfield continues to keep its prestigious acclaim with the Class of 2020.
This year, the University received the largest applicant pool in its history with 11,055 applications. Of these 11,055 applicants, the University accepted 6,795, maintaining an acceptance rate of 61.5 percent, a number that Dean of Enrollment Karen Pellegrino says is lower than it has been in the past five or six years.
“We admitted a smaller percentage of students, but we’ve enrolled the largest class in our history as far as I can tell at this point,” said Pellegrino, noting that there are 1,071 members of the Class of 2020, compared to 966 in the Class of 2019.
Not only is the size of the Class of 2020 larger than ever, but with the new freshman class, the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies has grown in size as well.
“We have a large number of nursing students this year; larger than we anticipated,” Pellegrino said. “[We have] 152 nursing students. We’re usually somewhere around 120 to 125, so we were a very popular option for nursing students this year.”
For Emma Rybacki ‘19, “the expansion of the [Egan] School of Nursing is probably why more and more students are pursuing careers in nursing at Fairfield.”
Pellegrino added that the unexpected increase in nursing students may have impacted the ratio of males to females at the University, since the majority of nursing students are females.
She noted that 39 percent of the freshman class are males, while 61 percent are females. Pellegrino acknowledged that the number of females attending Fairfield may be growing as the School of Nursing grows in size and popularity.
Another upward trend the Office of Admissions noticed in the freshman class is the increase in the number of international students in the Class of 2020. According to Pellegrino, the Class of 2020 has double as many international students (41) as the class of 2019 (18).
Pellegrino attributed the increase to the University’s increased efforts in promoting Fairfield to students around the world.
“We’ve really made a concerted effort to do more international recruiting,” said Pellegrino. “We actually currently have someone in India right now [recruiting students], so that’s helped create this big shift.”
Freshman Claire Monahan feels that having more international students at the University “really enriches everyone’s Fairfield experience. We can learn about other cultures as well as more closely examine our own.”
On a national level, Pellegrino noted that members of the Class of 2020 come from 23 different states across the country, including a student from South Dakota. This number varies over the years, Pellegrino said, remarking that the largest number of states represented at the University was 28.
While the University saw dramatic shifts in different categories with the freshman class, some statistics remained relatively consistent as compared to previous years.
Pellegrino acknowledged that last semester’s “ghetto party” may have concerned some minority groups looking to commit to Fairfield, but saw no dramatic shift in the racial makeup of the freshman class.
“Approximately 14 percent of our students are students of color, which is fairly consistent with where we’ve been. We usually are anywhere from 14.5 to 15 percent, so pretty close,” Pellegrino said.
Pellegrino added that from an academic standpoint, the GPAs and SATs of the Class of 2020 closely resemble those of previous classes.
“The academic profile of the class is pretty similar to last year. The average SAT scores are just a little bit higher than they were last year,” Pellegrino said.
While academia is on the forefront of admissions, the Class of 2020 is shaping up to be one of the more intellectually-based classes in Fairfield’s history.