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Emory admits first members of Class of 2028

Thanks to Early Decision I and the QuestBridge Scholars Match program, the first students in Emory’s undergraduate Class of 2028 have been selected. See their excited reactions.

Senior year — two words that carry anticipation, nostalgia and a whole host of “lasts.” But it’s also a year of looking ahead to the next chapter. For 865 students, that chapter became much clearer on Dec. 13, when they received emails announcing they had earned a spot in Emory University’s undergraduate Class of 2028.

Upon seeing the good news, the newest Eagles cheered and shouted in joy and disbelief. Drawn from a pool of 2,704 Early Decision I applicants, these students comprise the cornerstone of the newest class, ready for what’s ahead.

“The Early Decision I applicant pool continues to grow robustly; each year, the number of talented students we have to choose from expands,” says John F. Latting, associate vice provost for enrollment and dean of admission. “This year, I am struck by remarkably strong academic preparation of the admitted Emory Early Decision I class; these students have worked hard in challenging classes, engaged with their teachers and classmates, and really succeeded in that context. They are ready to move onward and upward and thrive in Emory's classrooms.”

They join 85 students admitted to Emory on Dec. 1 as part of the QuestBridge National College Match program, a nonprofit that links highly qualified students from low-income backgrounds with 48 of the nation’s leading universities and provides financial aid.

Sandra Labriel celebrates becoming an Emory student through the QuestBridge National College Match program.

“I think these first students in the Class of 2028 are bringing a stronger sense of resilience than most,” says Timothy Fields, senior associate dean of admission. “Many of these students are coming from under-resourced high schools and have overcome several obstacles that other Emory students have not had to deal with during their high school careers. This range of experiences and perspectives of life will only add to the community we are building with this new class.”

Those exceptional qualities also stood out to Mark Butt, director of admission. “The incoming cohort of students stands out for their remarkable global perspective, a quality that grounds their approach to addressing our current challenges,” says Butt. “This cohort consistently demonstrates an awareness and consideration of global dimensions when tackling issues such as civic engagement, sustainability, equity and justice, artificial intelligence and public health. Their expansive thinking reflects a commitment to making a meaningful impact on a worldwide scale.”

One unique element of Emory is that first-year students choose between two options for where to begin their experience: Emory College of Arts and Sciences or Oxford College. Emory College, which shares the Atlanta campus with the university’s graduate and professional schools, offers the experience of a liberal arts college amid the energy and pace of a leading research university.

“I am so excited to welcome the extraordinary first members of Emory College’s Class of 2028, including our QuestBridge Scholars,” says Barbara Krauthamer, dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences. “Their talents, experience, backgrounds and curiosity fit beautifully with all that Emory College offers as a dynamic liberal arts college in the heart of our top-tier research university.” 

Oxford College, located 38 miles east of the Atlanta campus, is set on Emory’s original campus. This campus, only for first- and second-year students, affords students a close-knit community, small classes and a strong liberal arts curriculum. As juniors, all Oxford students continue to the Atlanta campus, earning degrees from Emory College, Goizueta Business School or the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

“Early Decision I students are the foundation of each Oxford Class,” says Oxford College Dean Badia Ahad. “I look forward to seeing this incredibly talented group learn, grow and flourish as they discover new passions and purposes here on our beautiful campus.”

Of the 865 total accepted Early Decision I students, 705 were admitted to Emory College, 364 to Oxford College and 205 were admitted to both and can choose which campus to attend in the fall.

Building a class 

Early Decision students, whose applications are a commitment to enrolling if they receive adequate financial aid, are a foundational first step in creating the incoming class. These students, who have worked diligently throughout their entire high school careers, did not make the selection process easy for the admissions team.

“If I had to say there was one theme that stood out it would be the academic preparation of both the QuestBridge and Early Decision I applicants,” Fields says. “While the early pools are always competitive, the level of academic talent across all disciplines in both applicant pools was, in my opinion, unprecedented, making the work on selecting students that much more difficult.” 

Emory remained “test optional” for first-year applicants, extending the policy started in 2021, meaning that students were not required to submit ACT or SAT test scores. Students who chose to submit test scores were still able to do so. 

As Latting explains, “The test optional environment continues to support our goals of attracting applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and locations.” This year, 39% of all admitted students did not submit test scores. 

But regardless of test scores, the admission committee’s decisions are guided by more than just grades. Academic records are important, but consideration includes whether the student made the most of the options available in their school and community. The committee also considers student interests and involvements, letters of recommendation from teachers and school counselors and three short essays from the student.

“As these exceptional students join the Emory University community, their passion for collaboration and exploration of new pathways will serve as a catalyst for student flourishing,” says Butt. “Their commitment to celebrating differences will not only foster a sense of belonging but will also contribute to a culture where every Emory student can thrive academically, personally and socially.” 

Student flourishing is top of mind for leaders across the university. Beyond providing resources and guidance to students enrolled at Emory, it also means building a cohort of students who will lift each other up and strengthen the community.

That’s exactly what the admitted Early Decision I students are capable of doing.

“As we greet the first members of the Class of 2028 from the Early Decision I, we acknowledge their outstanding academic achievements,” says Kelley Lips, assistant vice provost and dean of Oxford enrollment. “Their commitment to innovation, sustainability and compassion mirrors the core values that define Emory. It's inspiring to welcome students whose principles align with our institution's ethos. We look forward to the positive influence this group will bring to our campus, fostering a community that thrives on both academic excellence and a shared dedication to making a difference.”

Removing barriers to education through QuestBridge Match 

Prior to the Early Decision I emails being sent out on Dec. 13, Emory welcomed a new group of 85 QuestBridge Scholars to the Class of 2028, eight of whom will attend Oxford College.

More QuestBridge Scholars were admitted this year than last year, highlighting Emory’s commitment to removing barriers to higher education for talented, low-income students.

The QuestBridge National College Match program is a nonprofit that links highly qualified students from low-income backgrounds with 48 of the nation’s leading universities. Through this partnership, QuestBridge Match Scholars receive a four-year financial aid award covering full tuition and fees, room and board, and books and supplies.

This year, Emory reviewed 1,281 QuestBridge applications during the early admissions cycle, with the majority — 61% — being among the first generation in their families to attend a four-year college in the U.S. Across the entire admissions period, many more QuestBridge applications will be reviewed.

Emory boasts one of the largest QuestBridge Scholars Networks in the country, with 425 students currently enrolled at the Atlanta or Oxford campuses. Emory QuestBridge Scholars include the previous years’ match scholars along with other students who enroll through the Regular Decision cycle. The active student-run organization provides an authentic and supportive community, helping students navigate the transition to college and connect with resources available around campus.

“QuestBridge allows some of the highest achieving first-generation and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to access an opportunity to attend Emory and share their experiences and perspectives with the Emory community,” says Fields. “With every year we hear from faculty and staff how the presence of these students makes Emory a better place and I have no doubt this group of students will only elevate the Emory experience for everyone.” 

Winning the college admissions marathon 

QuestBridge Scholars are eager to begin their futures at Emory University. Reflecting on the path that led them to pursue their dreams at Emory, these students discuss the notable impact of the program on their college admissions process, and how grateful they are for the opportunities afforded them through their hard work.

Dakauri Pinckney

“It felt like I won the marathon, in a sense,” says Dakauri Pinckney, from Nashville, Georgia. “The college process in general was long and hard, but it was a great feeling. I’m happy I got to share it with my friends who congratulated me and with my mom, the first person I called. It’s definitely going to go down as a core memory for me.”

Influenced by the success of a sneaker reselling business he started in high school, Pinckney plans to study finance and analytical consulting at Emory. 

Pinckney explained that matching through the QuestBridge Scholars program helped “level the playing field” of college admissions, too. “I was surrounded by people that could afford any college they wanted, and it was only a matter of getting in or not. But for me, it had to do with being accepted and the cost. QuestBridge really makes your dream school a reality, and I’m happy they’ve stuck with me throughout the process and helped me get to where I’m at.”

Cara Givens

QuestBridge also leveled the playing field for Cara Givens from Augusta, Georgia. Drawn to Emory because of the breadth of opportunities in medicine, Givens says matching here will give her opportunities that she wouldn’t have otherwise been able to access. 

“The QuestBridge program ensured that I’d get an education I can be proud of,” said Givens. “College is really expensive, and my mom would not have been able to put me through college had I not gotten scholarships, so it means the world to me that I get to enjoy such a wonderful experience, and my mom doesn’t have to spend a dime.” 

Michelle Do

Michelle Do, hailing from Houston, Texas, also understands the importance of reaching new opportunities thanks to being matched with Emory through QuestBridge. Planning to study nursing with a special interest in civic engagement, Do says her draw to Emory was found in her ability to explore interdisciplinary subjects while in college. 

“I was interested in the various cultural student organizations and events hosted every year, but the school’s educational diversity was what drew my attention the most,” says Do. “I want to learn a variety of subjects in college and focus on well-roundedness rather than specialization in a specific field. Emory, I felt, was the school that best fit my ideals.”

All data accurate as of Dec. 14, 2023

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