Freshman class smaller, more competitive

The University’s “selective” admission process may be to blame for missing its targeted freshman enrollment number by more than 9 percent this year.

“We’re trying to select the students who will be the most successful at USF,” said Leellen Brigman, associate vice president for Enrollment Planning and Management.

Brigman said the University’s target enrollment size for the freshman class was 4,200 for both summer and fall.

According to USF e-Profiles, which provides USF student enrollment reports, 3,921 first time in college (FTIC) students enrolled during the summer and fall semesters.

Last year, 4,221 FTIC students enrolled during the summer and fall semesters.

“We have been intending to reduce the size of our Tampa (freshman) class to increase the academic profile,” Brigman said.

This year, Undergraduate Admissions looked closely at the rigor of applicants’ high school coursework, Brigman said.

“The best predictor we have of how well students will do in college is their high school grade point average (GPA),” Brigman said. “Beyond that, the best predictor is really how strong their academic curriculum was in high school.”

Beginning this year, Undergraduate Admissions reviewed applicants’ high school curriculum and then calculated their “academic success predictors” based on that curriculum, Brigman said.

Brigman said academic success predictors include Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual enrollment credits.

Additional math, science and foreign language classes taken beyond those required to graduate high school are also predictors, she said.

Brigman said when evaluating student applications, admissions will consider academic success predictors, high school GPA, SAT and ACT scores, among other things.

Brigman said this year’s freshman class is the “most accomplished” one in the school’s history.

The freshman class has an average SAT score of 1194 and 3.83 average high school GPA, according to USF e-Profiles. Last year’s freshman class had an 1165 average SAT score and a 3.75 average high school GPA.

“I think the reputation of the University is getting out there,” Brigman said. “More people know about the strengths of USF, and that makes the stronger student want to apply and be admitted.”

This year, 528 freshmen were admitted into the Honors College, according to USF e-Profiles, compared to last year’s 431 freshmen.

“If you look back 10 years, probably not too many people would hear of a student who got denied admission into the University of South Florida,” Brigman said. “Today there is a sizable number of students who aren’t ready for the University of South Florida as a freshman.”