Emory welcomes Class of 2019

By Laura Douglas-Brown | Emory Report | Aug. 21, 2015

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Volunteers welcome freshmen on Move In Day.

After setting a new record for applications to the Emory College of Arts and Sciences, the Class of 2019 comes to campus with impressive academic abilities and extensive accomplishments in leadership, community service, athletics and the arts.

Total applications for the Emory College of Arts and Sciences exceeded 20,000 for the first time, while applications to Emory's Oxford College jumped 31 percent to more than 9,700.

"What a big applicant pool allows us to do is to respond that much more to kids who are really engaged in learning and really want an education, and who are self-motivated and open to new things," notes John Latting, assistant vice provost for undergraduate enrollment and dean of admission.

The result, Latting says, is an incoming class distinguished both by its achievements and its diversity, whether measured by factors like ethnicity and geographical region, or by the breadth of incoming students' academic interests.

A quarter of incoming students from the United States identify as under-represented minorities. "That puts Emory in a real leadership position and sets a great example for how to be among the most elite institutions in the nation, and also have the kind of diverse community that contributes to students' learning," he notes.

Broad perspectives

For Emory College, preliminary numbers show the Class of 2019 includes citizens of 37 countries; domestic students call 47 states home. (Only North Dakota, South Dakota and Vermont are not represented this year).

"The diversity story continues if you look at preliminary academic interests," Latting says. "We are seeing strengthening in the humanities, with students not just interested in science and pre-professional areas of study."

This diversity across a range of demographics and interests means that all students will benefit from an undergraduate experience that is "richer, more vibrant, more interesting, and more educational — in the broadest sense of the word," he says, noting that students learn not only from faculty and coursework, but from the classmates, roommates and teammates who surround them.

"If there are broader perspectives there, it really advances the mission of the institution and strengthens the experience," he says. "It's another good sign for the future of Emory."

The same is true for Oxford College, Emory's original campus in Oxford, Georgia, where students can complete their freshman and sophomore years before continuing to Emory's Atlanta campus to finish their degrees.

"The Class of 2019 is comprised of bright students from around the country. This year alone, we received applications from over 3,000 different high schools across the world," says Kelley Lips, dean of enrollment services for Oxford. "We've seen growth within the U.S. in the Northeast, West and the Midwest.

"Ten years ago, Oxford was a regionally known, prominent, liberal arts campus," she says. "Today, Oxford is nationally recognized as a part of Emory University that fosters first and second year students in a curriculum devoted to intellectual curiosity, critical thinking and the liberal arts."

The university also strives to make sure economic barriers do not prevent students from being part of those experiences. Some 56 percent of Emory undergraduates receive financial aid, with an average aid package of $40,239 for Emory College and $31,314 for Oxford College. Emory remains committed to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all admitted domestic students, with programs including Emory Advantage, which provides loan relief for families whose total annual income is less than $100,000.

"We have quite a strong platform so we are able to be affordable to families and make those other things within reach," Latting says.

Ready to learn and contribute

As admissions counselors reviewed the record-setting batch of applications, they looked for students with strong academic abilities and a passion for knowledge.

"Of course we look for raw intellectual horsepower and talent, but we are also looking for strong preparation, commitment to learning, and distinctive areas of interest that are good matches with Emory's strengths or areas of priority," Latting explains. "We look for energy, for interest in the people around them and openness to the community — what kinds of contributions they can make."

Shaping a freshman class requires a "holistic" approach, Lips notes.

In addition to academics, "our admission team considers the activities students have participated in, their understanding of the unique opportunities offered at Oxford College, and the perspectives they will bring to campus," she says. "Once we know a student has the potential to be successful, then we take into consideration the talents a student possesses and how those will be cultivated through the Oxford experience."

Both Latting and Lips are confident the Class of 2019 will fulfill that potential.

"It's a great time to be an Emory student and to be an incoming student at Emory College and also Oxford College," Latting says. "Get to know your peers — I think that is the one thing I would want to tell the community.

"Get to know these kids, because they are going to be great."