Class of 2019 strongest in history

A message on a window of Castor Hall welcomes USF’s class of 2019. ORACLE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

While student admission during the fall semester is typically more competitive than other semesters at USF, this year’s fall semester featured some particularly tough competitors.

USF’s class of 2019 is the strongest class, academically, in the university’s history, with an average high school GPA of 4.08, up from last year’s average of 4.00, and an average two-part SAT score of 1223, up from 1197 last year.

“While we have adjusted recruiting strategies to bring in a class like this, I think the great lesson here is that high-quality students from around the state and country are now viewing USF as a destination,” said Paul Dosal, USF’s vice provost for student success.

Dosal said this year’s class reflects an upward trend in the academic strength of students admitted to USF and is largely the result of the university’s efforts to admit continually stronger students.

“We’ve been trying to improve the college readiness of all of our entering classes for five to 10 years,” Dosal said. “We have seen these trends, but they’ve accelerated recently, and this year they took a big jump.”

In addition to GPAs and SAT scores, Dosal said USF also looks at other academic high school achievements to judge the strength of a class, including AP courses taken, IB program involvement and class rankings. 

“All those metrics for this class of 2019 are above and beyond all previous classes,” he said.

Dosal said because of the class of 2019’s academic strength entering USF, he has great confidence this class will also break records in the university’s four to six-year graduations rates. 

He said he hopes stronger classes will lead to more performance-based funding for the university, as well. He said academically stronger students could equate to better retention and graduation rates, job placement rates, the number of awarded degrees and other performance-based metrics by which USF is awarded state funding.

Dosal said continually stronger students will also lead to higher recruitment and admission standards, as USF wants to continue this upward trend in future classes.

“There are universities in the state that are still above us on these academic benchmarks, so we want to continue to improve and close ground on those other universities,” he said.