Class of 2011 more selective, prepared

By Megan Jicha

With just a few months remaining before starting her collegiate career, Liz Allen is confident she made the right choice by enrolling at Northeastern.

“I break out into a ridiculously large smile whenever anyone asks me where I’m going next year,” said Allen, a native of Glen Ridge, N.J. who plans to major in communications. “I’m excited that NU really does its best to prepare you for life outside of college too.”

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions received 27,100 student applications this year, up 7 percent from last year, according to Kerry Salerno, senior associate director of admissions, marketing and communications.

Of those who applied, 44 percent of student applications were accepted, which is down from 47 percent last year, said Dean of Admissions Ronne Patrick-Turner.

Turner attributed Northeastern’s application volume, the fourth largest of all private colleges in the country, as the reason for an increase in selectivity that ultimately resulted in the drop in percentage of accepted applications.

Similar to last year, more than 75 percent of the incoming class will receive some type of financial aid, with an average package of approximately $18,000, Turner said.

The exact number of incoming freshmen cannot be determined until the data freezes in September, Turner said. One reason for this is because some students submit deposits for multiple schools and reserve a spot in classes at several institutions – a scenario Turner referred to as the “summer melt.”

The anticipated Class of 2011 “is more academically prepared, as measured by GPA and SAT scores, than last year’s class,” she said.

The middle 50 percent for SAT scores for the incoming freshmen, at 1170 to 1310, are slightly higher than last year’s, which were 1160 to 1300, Salerno said. The middle 50 percent for GPAs for the incoming freshmen were similar to last year, ranging from 3.4 to 4.0.

More than 10 percent of the class, or about 300 students, the general target, have expressed interest in studying in the university’s Honors program, Turner said.

Looking beyond academics, Turner said the Class of 2011 would also enhance the school’s diversity.

“We continued to accept students from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, and it appears that our percentage of students of color will be a little stronger than last year (when about 25 percent of the incoming class was students of color),” Turner wrote in an e-mail.

As for geographic diversity, enrollment from the West Coast, as well as international students, is increasing, while enrollment figures from New England and the Mid-Atlantic states have remained the same as last year, Turner said.

However, regardless of location, several members of the Class of 2011 expressed excitement at the prospect of starting their collegiate career on Huntington Avenue.

“I’m most looking forward to meeting so many new friends and living in Boston, but also expanding my brain so I can be a successful pharmacist one day,” said Kendrick Murphy, of Vernon, N.J., who plans to enroll as a pharmacy major.

For some students like Derek Adams of Monroe, Conn., the co-op program was their main reason for choosing Northeastern.

“The co-op appealed to me because going into the communications field it’s important to have as much experience as possible and that will set me apart from the competition for jobs,” said Adams, who plans to enroll as a communications major.

Allen said she thinks the co-op program will help her settle on her path to a career.

“I think it’s awesome that you can get work experience before you get out into the ‘real world.’ It’s definitely worth the extra year in college to really get some credentials under your belt,” she said.

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