The USC Office of Admission has declared the class of 2014 the university’s best class to date.
Officials said the pool of students applying for college is growing more competitive each year, which — combined with USC’s active recruitment — molded the class of 2014.
“We have been moving the university’s academic profile consistently and getting more and more competitive,” said Tim Brunold, dean of admissions. “We have been able to successfully recruit the most sought after students in the country.”
The average SAT score for the class of 2014 increased 10 points, placing the average score in the 96th percentile.
“While the demographics of the [freshman] class are very similar [to previous years], the quality certainly continues to increase, and that is a long-term trend,” Brunold said.
Though the 24 percent acceptance rate is similar to last year, the size of the freshman class increased by about 100 students to 2,963.
Forty-six percent of the freshmen are male and 54 percent are female, which generally does not change from year to year, Brunold said.
“We’re not as out of balance for the freshman class as some of our competitors,” he said.
Yet, the gender statistic supports the national trend of more women attending college than men. Although this is of great concern, Brunold said, overall USC has almost an exact gender balance university-wide.
“We want to make sure that USC’s student body reflects the diversity out in the world,” Brunold said. “USC is continuing to work on increasing the diversity of students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and make strides in ethnic diversity.”
Typically, underrepresented racial groups increased their presence in the freshman class this year: 7.3 percent of students are African-American, which increased from 7 percent last year; and 13.3 percent of students are Latino, which increased from 12.8 percent.
Though there are about 300 freshmen students from outside the United States, the international population of the freshman class decreased from 11 percent to 10 percent this year. Of those students, 40 countries are represented, with most students originating from China, Canada and South Korea.
Demographic diversity within the United States is increasing, however, with most out-of-state freshmen students hailing from Texas, Illinois, New York and Washington. The class of 2014 represents 48 of the 50 states; no freshmen students hail from Mississippi or North Dakota.
As the out-of-state freshmen population increases, the percentage of incoming students who went to high school in California has steadily decreased over the past five years. This year, 52 percent of the class is from California.
The admission center plans to continue recruiting students by increasing its number of high school visits next year, Brunold said. Representatives from the Office of Admission visited 1,400 high schools while recruiting the class of 2014 — about a 50 percent increase from the previous year.
Though the statistics of the class of 2014 will not become official until the third week of classes, Brunold said the numbers are not expected to vary greatly.