New Class Continues Trend of Prestige, Diversity

On Aug. 22, another impressive group of students will begin their careers as Yellow Jackets.

A record number of students applied for acceptance to Georgia Tech this year, with applications exceeding 30,500 for the first time. Of those who were accepted, around 2,860 will make up the new class. 

As has been the trend in recent years, their credentials set new highs for an incoming class. These students have taken an average of 10 college-level courses, and 95 percent have take college-level calculus or an equivalent. The students represent 69 countries, 43 states, 89 Georgia counties, and 1,429 high schools (307 in Georgia). The class is 42 percent female — an Institute record for the second year — and 58 percent male.  

“We need more women in STEM and at the table when it comes to policy and product creation in the workforce, and we look at ourselves as part of the solution,” said Rick Clark, director of Undergraduate Admission. 

Still, it’s not just the stats that make Clark proud. 

“The fact that we continue to become more academically talented with each class, and more diverse on almost every metric of what you would call diversity, is really an anomaly,” he said. “Colleges often have to give up one or the other. It kind of blows my mind, but it’s just indicative of Georgia Tech’s excellence and national prominence that we are coupling those two things.”

This year, Tech saw an especially high increase in applications to the College of Computing and growth in matriculation in the College of Sciences, which will make up 13 percent of the new class. 

In 2014, Georgia Tech started the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Scholars program to recruit, enroll, support and graduate the most academically talented students in the city school system. This year's freshman class includes APS Scholars from 11 of the 13 high schools in the district. Under the program, which started with the incoming class of 2015, Georgia Tech offers automatic admission to all APS valedictorians and salutatorians who apply and covers four years of in-state tuition and mandatory fees.

As this class arrives on campus, the next admission cycle has already begun. This week, Georgia Tech joins the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and several others for the start of the Peach State tour, where colleges collaborate to visit communities around the state and meet with prospective students. 

One of Georgia Tech’s challenges is continuing to attract the best and brightest in all of Tech’s disciplines as the cost of higher education continues to increase. 

“We don’t want to be an institution where students come out with a high debt burden, even if they are willing to pay,” Clark said. “We have to find a way to meet a higher percentage of financial need.” 

Another challenge is to continue the upward trajectory Georgia Tech has seen in enrollment for the past five years. 

“We’re really competing with the best schools in the country,” Clark said. “To make the Olympic comparison, the people we are in the pool with are the best in the country, and we’re racing right there with them.” 

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Kristen Bailey
Institute Communications