EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University is gearing up to welcome the largest freshman class in its history.
An estimated 9,200 first-year students will move into the university's residence halls on Saturday and Sunday.
“We are super excited that folks are not only returning to campus but coming out of a pandemic that we’re seeing a record number of applications and students who are choosing MSU,” said Executive Director of Admissions John Ambrose.
Ambrose said MSU expects a class that's 8 percent larger than last year's. Not only is it MSU's biggest incoming class but also one of the most diverse.
“We’re going to be welcoming more than 600 new Hispanic students to campus," Ambrose said. "This will be our largest incoming cohort in at least more than 20 years.”
There will be a 13 percent increase in entering Asian students. The number of out-of-state African American students also went up.
“We also saw a marked increase of over 100 percent increase in African American students from outside of the state of Michigan in our incoming class,” Ambrose said.
The majority of incoming freshmen are still in-state students.
“We did see an increase in our non-resident students, but Michigan residents still represent more than 70 percent of our incoming cohort,” Ambrose said.
The pandemic could have played a role in why this incoming freshman class is so big, according to Ambrose.
“I think the pandemic caused us all to, I won’t say really rethink our priorities, but to really think about our priorities and how do we reassess them," Ambrose said. "From being able to work from home, to what other really important next steps as we go forward into this new world of experiencing COVID.”
He also said the new test-optional application process, which doesn't require prospective students to submit SAT and ACT scores, could be a factor.
“About 57 percent of our current application pool applied test-optional, and we believe that certainly, that was our right and responsibility to provide an opportunity of access for students who were unable of no choice of their own to be able to get out and take the exam even if they wanted to,” Ambrose said.
That test-optional process will be around for at least five more years as the university tracks incoming students who chose to take advantage of that option and their graduation rates.
“We’re just looking forward to welcoming this new generation of Spartans along with welcoming all of the Spartans that are continuing their education with us this year,” Ambrose said.
Current students will move into MSU residence halls on Thursday and Friday.
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