Meet Emory's Class of 2024

The Emory shield on a window with flowers growing in the foreground

Eager to begin their Emory experience, members of the Class of 2024 launched their academic journeys this week, prepared to embrace the adventure of college life — even as they know that it will be a year like no other.

A student wearing a face covering and Emory t-shirt unloads belongings from a car during Move In

While starting college in the midst of a global pandemic required new plans and campus protocols, those adaptations did little to diminish the enthusiasm of hundreds of first-year students who officially began classes on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

To help limit campus density in response to COVID-19, Emory’s first-year students were given the option to live on campus this fall or learn from home; most upper class students will continue to engage in remote learning this semester — a decision that will continue to be evaluated for the spring 2021 semester.

A woman in protective equipment holds a swab and stands by a car

Students arriving on campus were tested for COVID-19 before being cleared to proceed to residence halls. Learn more about move-in protocols.

Students arriving on campus were tested for COVID-19 before being cleared to proceed to residence halls. Learn more about move-in protocols.

To be certain, the fall semester has brought changes. Arriving students on Emory’s Atlanta and Oxford campuses first participated in mandatory health screenings before reporting to residence halls, where a streamlined group of volunteers and professional movers helped carry in boxes, bins and luggage. To reduce crowds, move-in activities that normally take place during a limited window were stretched over several days, and many traditional orientation activities transitioned online.

But the excitement of new beginnings was palpable. And behind mandatory face coverings, laughter, smiles and high spirits were abundant, as the Emory community happily welcomed the university’s newest cohort of talented students to their undergraduate experience.

Among those on hand to help greet Emory students was President Gregory L. Fenves, who began his new role as the university’s 21st president on Aug. 1.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome Emory’s Class of 2024 — an extraordinary group of talented, diverse students who join us from across the nation and the world,” Fenves says. “Whether learning on campus this fall or at a distance, these new students have quickly become valued members of our community. I’m looking forward to each new student making an impact, here at Emory and beyond.”

A collage shows photos of students joining the toast that they shared on social media.

Cheers to the new year: As part of virtual Convocation, students join in the Coca-Cola toast, a favorite tradition welcoming each new class to Emory.

Cheers to the new year: As part of virtual Convocation, students join in the Coca-Cola toast, a favorite tradition welcoming each new class to Emory.

“These are students who have already demonstrated not only remarkable academic strengths, but also a deep love of learning and discovery,” says Jan Love, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs for Emory, and Mary Lee Hardin Willard Dean and professor of Christianity and world politics, Candler School of Theology.

“And while they arrive in the midst of challenges and adjustments, Emory is eager and prepared to provide them with what they are seeking — an exceptional educational experience.”

A background image of the Emory campus

Achievement and resilience

A student wearing a face covering carries a bag of belongings from a car to a residence hall

Bringing strong academic preparation, fierce intellectual curiosity and a passion for engaging with the world around them, Emory’s Class of 2024 represents some of the most academically talented students in the world, says John Latting, associate vice provost for undergraduate enrollment and dean of admission.

Based upon national distributions of test scores, grades and the rigor of high school courses, two-thirds of students admitted to Emory this year rank within the top 0.5 percent of U.S. high school students in academic preparation. One-third of Emory admitted students are in the top 0.1 percent nationally, according to Emory’s Office of Undergraduate Admission.

“Academically, based upon quantitative and qualitative measures, I can say unequivocally that this is a fantastic class with remarkable strengths,” Latting says. “All signals indicate that they will thrive in the classroom and the faculty will be delighted.”

A student wearing a face covering and an Emory tshirt unlocks the door to his new residence hall room as he moves in.

Beyond their academic distinctions and extra-curricular talents — from playwrights and performers to activists and athletes — members of the Class of 2024 also share optimism and a demonstrated measure of resilience. Almost all first-year students were required to complete their senior year of high school through remote learning, notes Latting.

“As I’ve talked to students and their families over the summer, I’ve heard stories of loss and disappointment, but the same stories also reflected hope, resilience and determination,” says Kelley Lips, Oxford College dean of enrollment services. “As we welcome the Class of 2024, we are looking forward to seeing how they embrace challenge and create opportunity. This may not be the way students envisioned the start of their college career, but I am confident these are students who will leave their mark in positive and impactful ways.”

An exterior image of the Emory Student Center
A student shows her cell phone as she checks in to her residence hall.

Entering Emory: Two paths, one destination

A student unpacks his belongings in his residence hall room

High school seniors who apply to Emory University may select whether they want to apply to Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Oxford College or both. About 58% applied to both colleges this year, a growing trend across recent years.

Each location offers a unique learning environment. The Atlanta campus is home to Emory College, plus Emory’s graduate and professional schools.

Emory College offers more than 50 departments of academic study, covering more than 80 major and 60 minor degree programs. With a grounding in the liberal arts, students are encouraged to explore widely and deeply through their coursework.

“I am thrilled to welcome the Class of 2024 to Emory, whether you are in person or remote,” says Emory College Dean Michael Elliott. “This class is already a historic one with an exceptional record of service, leadership and academic accomplishments.”

“They also have the highest potential, like no other class before them, to influence and shape Emory over the next four years in new and creative ways as we navigate this unprecedented time in our history. I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish and how they will meet the challenges ahead.”

Oxford College, located 38 miles (61 km) east of Atlanta, consists solely of first- and second-year students. The Oxford campus offers a close-knit and highly engaged community of students and faculty for the first two years of the undergraduate college experience.

After completing two years at Oxford, students continue to the Atlanta campus, where they enter Emory College, apply to the Goizueta Business School or transition into the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

“I am especially enthusiastic to welcome this entering class,” says Oxford College Dean Douglas Hicks. “While they are a remarkably talented and accomplished group, I am even more impressed by the perseverance and resilience they have shown to start this academic year.  We will draw upon their energy and creativity both on campus and in remote learning to greatly enrich the Oxford experience."

Regardless of which school or major a student chooses to pursue, all students graduate with a degree from Emory University.

A background image of the Oxford quad
An infographic shows the Class of 2024 by the numbers: 1,871 total first-year students
Emory College: 1,379 students; Oxford College: 492 students
 EMORY COLLEGE: White: 33%; Asian: 27%; Black: 10%; Hispanic: 9%; International: 17%; Native American: 0.3%; Unknown: 4%. OXFORD COLLEGE: White: 30%; Asian: 31%; Black: 11%; Hispanic: 8%; International: 16%; Unknown: 5%
GENDER: Emory College; Female: 58%; Male: 42%. Oxford College: Female: 54%; Male: 46%
Geography: EMORY COLLEGE: International: 19%; Mid Atlantic: 21%; Midwest: 10%; New England: 5%; Southeast: 27%; Southwest: 7%; West: 12%. OXFORD COLLEGE: International: 19%; Mid Atlantic: 19%; Midwest: 9%; New England: 6%; Southeast: 31%; Southwest: 5%; West: 12%
First-generation college students: Emory College: 8%; Oxford College: 9%
Unique languages spoken: Emory College: 57; Oxford College: 37
An infographic shows the Class of 2024 by the numbers: 1,871 total first-year students
Emory College: 1,379 students; Oxford College: 492 students
 EMORY COLLEGE: White: 33%; Asian: 27%; Black: 10%; Hispanic: 9%; International: 17%; Native American: 0.3%; Unknown: 4%. OXFORD COLLEGE: White: 30%; Asian: 31%; Black: 11%; Hispanic: 8%; International: 16%; Unknown: 5%
GENDER: Emory College; Female: 58%; Male: 42%. Oxford College: Female: 54%; Male: 46%
Geography: EMORY COLLEGE: International: 19%; Mid Atlantic: 21%; Midwest: 10%; New England: 5%; Southeast: 27%; Southwest: 7%; West: 12%. OXFORD COLLEGE: International: 19%; Mid Atlantic: 19%; Midwest: 9%; New England: 6%; Southeast: 31%; Southwest: 5%; West: 12%
First-generation college students: Emory College: 8%; Oxford College: 9%
Unique languages spoken: Emory College: 57; Oxford College: 37

By the Numbers

This year, Emory received 28,517 applications for admission for the 2020-2021 academic year. Total first-year enrollment for both colleges is 1,871 — 1,379 students in Emory College of Arts and Sciences and 492 students in Oxford College, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

At Emory’s Atlanta campus, about 950 first-year students have chosen to live on campus, more than 350 have elected to study remotely and others have deferred enrollment. At Oxford College, about 360 first-year students will live on campus while just over 100 have chosen to study online.

The Class of 2024 presents a rich diversity of cultural, geographic and financial backgrounds, from students raised in small, remote communities to those who hail from major cities across the globe. In fact, international students comprise 17% of first-year students at Emory College and 16% at Oxford College.

Emory’s newest class is comprised of students from 1,035 different high schools in 48 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Mariana Islands and 69 different nations. Beyond English, first-year students also speak 57 other languages at home; 46% of first-year students indicated that a language other than English was spoken at home.

Among first-year students at Emory College, 8% are the first in their families to go to college; similarly, first-generation students comprise about 9% of the incoming class at Oxford College.

Emory also enrolls one of the largest QuestBridge cohorts in the nation — a response to the university’s commitment to diversity and an effort to ensure that an excellent liberal arts education is accessible for qualified students, Latting notes. The QuestBridge National College Match program helps outstanding low-income high school seniors gain admission and full four-year scholarships to the nation’s most selective colleges.

Overwhelmingly, this year’s entering class was attracted to Emory “not because of just one thing, but a set of qualities about the university that are hard to find elsewhere: academics and research and scholarly eminence, yet also a true sense of community — an undergraduate education in a great setting and a great city,” Latting says.

“In terms of the spirit of the place, I think we offer tolerance, diversity, progressivism, openness and welcome,” he adds. “In the end, I think that plays a bigger and bigger role, and that’s a great place to be. We attract really open-minded people who want to meet people from different backgrounds and are prepared for that.

“These are people who realize that going to college isn’t about staying the same – it’s about preserving core principles, but also being open to undergoing change. For people who choose Emory, that’s what they sign up for.”

The sun shines between buildings as a large crowd of students and volunteers unload cars and carry luggage outside a residence hall

A series of infographics shows the Class of 2024 by the numbers: 1,871 total first-year students

This year, Emory received 28,517 applications for admission for the 2020-2021 academic year. Total first-year enrollment for both colleges is 1,871 — 1,379 students in Emory College of Arts and Sciences and 492 students in Oxford College, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

At Emory’s Atlanta campus, about 950 first-year students have chosen to live on campus, more than 350 have elected to study remotely and others have deferred enrollment. At Oxford College, about 360 first-year students will live on campus while just over 100 have chosen to study online.

ENROLLMENT: Emory College: 1,379 students; Oxford College: 492 students. First-generation college students: Emory College: 8%; Oxford College: 9%

The Class of 2024 presents a rich diversity of cultural, geographic and financial backgrounds, from students raised in small, remote communities to those who hail from major cities across the globe. In fact, international students comprise 17% of first-year students at Emory College and 16% at Oxford College.

Emory’s newest class is comprised of students from 1,035 different high schools in 48 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Mariana Islands and 69 different nations. Beyond English, first-year students also speak 57 other languages at home; 46% of first-year students indicated that a language other than English was spoken at home.

 GENDER: Emory College; Female: 58%; Male: 42%. Oxford College: Female: 54%; Male: 46%.  ETHNICITY: EMORY COLLEGE: White: 33%; Asian: 27%; Black: 10%; Hispanic: 9%; International: 17%; Native American: 0.3%; Unknown: 4%. OXFORD COLLEGE: White: 30%; Asian: 31%; Black: 11%; Hispanic: 8%; International: 16%; Unknown: 5%

Among first-year students at Emory College, 8% are the first in their families to go to college; similarly, first-generation students comprise about 9% of the incoming class at Oxford College.

Emory also enrolls one of the largest QuestBridge cohorts in the nation — a response to the university’s commitment to diversity and an effort to ensure that an excellent liberal arts education is accessible for qualified students, Latting notes. The QuestBridge National College Match program helps outstanding low-income high school seniors gain admission and full four-year scholarships to the nation’s most selective colleges.

Geography: EMORY COLLEGE: International: 19%; Mid Atlantic: 21%; Midwest: 10%; New England: 5%; Southeast: 27%; Southwest: 7%; West: 12%. OXFORD COLLEGE: International: 19%; Mid Atlantic: 19%; Midwest: 9%; New England: 6%; Southeast: 31%; Southwest: 5%; West: 12%. Unique languages spoken: Emory College: 57; Oxford College: 37

Overwhelmingly, this year’s entering class was attracted to Emory “not because of just one thing, but a set of qualities about the university that are hard to find elsewhere: academics and research and scholarly eminence, yet also a true sense of community — an undergraduate education in a great setting and a great city,” Latting says.

“In terms of the spirit of the place, I think we offer tolerance, diversity, progressivism, openness and welcome,” he adds. “In the end, I think that plays a bigger and bigger role, and that’s a great place to be. We attract really open-minded people who want to meet people from different backgrounds and are prepared for that.

“These are people who realize that going to college isn’t about staying the same – it’s about preserving core principles, but also being open to undergoing change. For people who choose Emory, that’s what they sign up for.”

A woman in a face mask and blue shirt waves a blue and gold pom-pom to welcome students

Emory College Move In

A student wearing a mask is greeted as he carries a suitcase and duffle bag

Emory College Move In

Move In helpers push bins of student belongings to a residence hall

Emory College Move In

A new student wearing a face covering checks in at a tent

Emory College Move In

Emory President Gregory L. Fenves (right)poses for a photo as he helps greet students as they move in. All are giving the thumbs-up sign.

Emory President Gregory L. Fenves (right) poses for a photo as he helps greet students as they move in.

A statue of Emory's eagle mascot, Swoop, wears a face covering.

Emory College Move In

A woman in a face mask and blue shirt waves a blue and gold pom-pom to welcome students

Emory College Move In

A student wearing a mask is greeted as he carries a suitcase and duffle bag

Emory College Move In

Move In helpers push bins of student belongings to a residence hall

Emory College Move In

A new student wearing a face covering checks in at a tent

Emory College Move In

Emory President Gregory L. Fenves (right)poses for a photo as he helps greet students as they move in. All are giving the thumbs-up sign.

Emory President Gregory L. Fenves (right) poses for a photo as he helps greet students as they move in.

Emory College Move In

A woman in a face covering and Emory hat holds a welcome sign at the entrance to Oxford College

Oxford College Move In

Students in face coverings sit six feet apart and talk on the Oxford campus

Oxford College Move In

Oxford Dean Doug Hicks and students pose outside wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing

Oxford College Move In

A student wearing a face covering chalks Oxford Class of 2024 on the sidewalk

Oxford College Move In

Students wearing face coverings sit in chairs that are set apart on the Oxford quad

Oxford College Move In

Students wearing face masks visit in the Oxford Student Center, sitting at appropriate distances

Oxford College Move In

A woman in a face covering and Emory hat holds a welcome sign at the entrance to Oxford College

Oxford College Move In

Students in face coverings sit six feet apart and talk on the Oxford campus

Oxford College Move In

Oxford Dean Doug Hicks and students pose outside wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing

Oxford College Move In

A student wearing a face covering chalks Oxford Class of 2024 on the sidewalk

Oxford College Move In

Students wearing face coverings sit in chairs that are set apart on the Oxford quad

Oxford College Move In

Students wearing face masks visit in the Oxford Student Center, sitting at appropriate distances

Oxford College Move In

Meet the Students

For months, the Class of 2024 has already been interacting online, through dedicated social media accounts where Emory’s newest students have met and bonded, participated in virtual game nights and discovered common interests.

Even first-year students who elected to study remotely this term were drawn into group chats that focused on topics ranging from classes, majors and hobbies — Bollywood dance, anyone? — to music, movies and residence halls.

From Hawaii to Mumbai, San Francisco to Switzerland, the conversations rolled: …Where are you from? Are you living on campus or at home? When are you arriving? How are you getting there? What are you studying?...

Through it all, one thing was clear: This is a group of new students yearning for connection and eager to experience all that Emory has to offer.

Here are a few of their stories:

Portrait of Nia Smith

Nia Smith
St. Helena Island, South Carolina

Moving to a small island off the coast of South Carolina for the last two years of high school may sound like an abrupt adjustment. But for Nia Smith, it was the beginning of a journey that would lead her to college at her “dream school.”

Smith spent most of her childhood in Tuscumbia, Alabama. But when her mother transferred jobs, the family moved to St. Helens Island, a rural Lowcountry community steeped in the rich African-American Gullah culture.

Commuting inland to Whale Branch Early College High School, Smith discovered challenging academics, mentors who saw her potential and mathematics courses that stirred her imagination. Though she’d always enjoyed math, Smith became captivated with how mathematical concepts could have real-world applications.

In time, “I knew applied mathematics was what I wanted to pursue, to somehow contribute to the world, solving problems using mathematics,” she says.

She’s also realized that math and engineering remain largely male-dominated fields. “I saw it as a personal challenge,” Smith says. “In the future, I would love to help create scholarships, programs and funding for minority women who want to be in STEM fields. It’s become one of my life goals.”

At Emory, she sees a path toward fulfilling that goal. And she’s excited about what awaits her. “The new things, the unexpected, the challenges I will endure, meeting new people from around the world, the research and academic opportunities — I’m excited about what I can accomplish at Emory, all that it has to offer,” Smith says.

Beyond mathematics and “anything STEM,” Smith is interested in taking courses in politics, economics and language, which she loves. “I took two years of Spanish, which was all that was offered at my high school, but for fun I’ve been learning Swahili,” she says.

As a first-generation college student, “it feels wonderful to know that I’ll be setting a good example for my brothers and making my family proud,” she says.  “At the same time, it makes me a little nervous to be the first. But I’m ready for the challenges that come with it.”

“There’s something unique about the Class of 2024,” she adds. “It’s a historic moment, and we’ll all be going through it together.”


A portrait of Alex Campo

Alex Campo
Flowery Branch, Georgia

From his earliest memories, Alex Campo recalls being captivated by language.

With parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia, he grew up speaking first Spanish, then English. “Linguistics was something I became interested in early on — the construction of languages and their uses and evolution throughout the world, how they define the cultures we live in.”

In high school, his love of language would lead to an unexpected opportunity. “In my 10th grade American literature class, we had to select a poem from an online collection and recite it from memory,” Campo says.

The assignment was actually linked to Poetry Out Loud, a national arts education program that encourages the study and recitation of poetry. “We had a class competition, and winning it took me to the school competition, and I won that — which was shocking — and that took me to the regional competition.”

That year, Campo placed among the top three contestants in his region. The following year, he was named the Georgia state champion and would go all the way to the nationals in Washington, D.C., where he placed third overall.

In the language of poetry, Campo found connection and insight. “I think I’ve always wanted to understand more about the way others think and feel,” he says. “I’ve always been so conscious of my own feelings, wondered about my place in the world. To engage with poetry and the meaning behind it offered a way to understand the threads of the human experience with which I could deeply relate.”

For someone who had long been on track to pursue a career in medicine, it was a wake-up call. An opportunity to visit the nation’s capital as a delegate in the Washington Youth Tour only intensified his fascination with how words and ideas could change lives.

“The 2018 mid-terms left me with a political awakening and made me realize the urgency and impact of how public policy shapes our lives,” Campo says. “More than ever, young people are becoming politically conscious. And their observations and passions — right now — are driving an interest in discovering how we can make the world a better place.”

Campo looks forward to beginning studies in political science at Emory’s Oxford College this fall as a Woodruff Scholar. “Relationships have always been so important to me,” he says. “The fact that Oxford captured the essence of a smaller, tight-knit community — along with the opportunities and engagement that Emory offers — was the intersection of everything I was looking for.”


A portrait of Madison Lee

Madison Lee
Frisco, Texas

As a competitive dancer and up-and-coming entrepreneur, Madison Lee lives at the vibrant intersection of creativity and business.

Lee was two years old when she took her first dance class, a passion that she would never outgrow. Jazz, contemporary,  hip hop — name a dance style and she’s likely mastered it.

For the past seven years, she’s competed professionally with two competitive dance troupes, including “The Officials,” a pre-professional hip hop team that has performed its crisp, high-energy moves at AT&T Stadium for Dallas Cowboys half-time shows, on a Royal Caribbean Cruise, and national and international contests, including the acclaimed World of Dance competition.

“Dance really helped me be more comfortable in my own skin, develop my personality and shaped me into becoming the person I am today,” Lee says.

In fact, it was through years of dance competitions that Lee and her sister, Vivian, saw an opportunity. Together, they founded Mavii, a company that markets a customized rolling duffel bag with an extendable garment rack— perfect for storing dance costumes. “During competitions, we always wished for something better and just decided, ‘Why don’t we make our own?’” she recalls.

Today, the company has a dedicated website, which supports a thriving niche market. Lee’s versatile bags are available through online outlets ranging from Amazon.com and Overstock.com to Walmart.com. Through the company, Lee also received a hands-on education, from working with her father (an artist and product designer) on specs for the bag to processing orders and tracking sales trends. “It’s been pretty eye-opening, but really fun,” Lee says.

As a first-year Goizueta Business Scholar, Lee looks forward to studying consulting and venture management. But with a parallel love of chemistry, she’s also played with pursuing interdisciplinary studies in business and science to support the launch of her own makeup line.

When it came to choosing a college, “I wanted the freedom to explore my interests, with opportunities for more diverse classes around business,” Lee says.

After a counselor suggested that she consider Emory, Lee did her research and liked what she found. “Emory seemed to align with my values,” she says. “I love that they emphasize diversity and encourage you to explore what you want to learn about before setting a major.”

A pre-pandemic campus tour sealed her decision. “I loved everything about it,” she says. “The campus is beautiful, the faculty is great, the people are interesting — I knew it was a perfect fit.”


A portrait of Charles Schnell

Charles Schnell
Palm Desert, California

Any other year — another pre-pandemic lifetime, perhaps — Charles Schnell could tell you what it’s like to see your play performed off-Broadway in New York City.

That was the initial plan for his original one-act play, “Death Is Sexy,” a dark comedy he wrote. that won honors at the 2019 Palm Springs Young Playwrights Festival. As a finalist, Schnell had the chance to see his play produced and performed by theater professionals before the festival audience — an experience both amazing and surreal, reflects Schnell.

“Essentially, it’s a scenario where death is personified as a person — in this play, a very attractive female — who has come to visit a teenage boy, because it’s his time to die. And he makes a bet to try and save his soul,” Schnell says. “To see both the actors and the audience reacting to it was incredible.”

Next stop, New York City, where “Death Is Sexy” was one of three student plays set to be performed off-Broadway. But just before COVID-19 began shuttering theatrical venues everywhere, he learned the production was canceled.

He still looks back on the experience as one of his most important developmental experiences. “Seeing my work performed in front of and enjoyed by an audience for the first time gave me a huge boost of confidence and self-trust,” he admits.

A natural storyteller, Schnell has always enjoyed writing — poetry, short stories, fiction. Studying creative writing in middle school only fanned those flames. By high school, he was writing for fun, sharing his work with friends and dabbling in theater — singing, acting and playwriting.

But when it came to college studies, Schnell knew he wanted to expand his focus.  “I have a lot of academic interests, from STEM-based subjects, like mathematics and economics, to English, music and theater, so I was looking at schools with a lot of opportunity in all of those areas.”

Completing high school amid a global pandemic brought sharp changes. His family moved to Colorado, and he only recently joined classmates for a socially distanced outdoor Commencement ceremony.

Schnell arrives as a Woodruff Scholar never having visited Atlanta.  But he’s open to the discoveries that lay ahead, especially in the classroom.

And while he knows his first-year college experience won’t be exactly the same as past years, he’s excited and “looking forward to focusing more intently on classes, learning more, becoming more independent, meeting new people and making new friends,” he says.


ABOUT THIS STORY: Written by Kimber Williams. Emory campus photos by Stephen Nowland and Kay Hinton. Oxford campus photos by David Cannon. Video by Corey Broman-Fulks. Infographic by Angela Vellino. Design by Laura Dengler.

An exterior image of the Woodruff PE Center