The Class of 2019 is one of the “most diverse and academically talented in the university’s 135-year history,” according to the University, who released statistics on the incoming class of freshmen Wednesday morning.
The acceptance rate for this year was 17.7 percent, making it the most selective in the University’s history. The admission rate decreased by 5.3 percent from 2011. The class had an average unweighted GPA of 3.73, with 564 students coming in with a perfect GPA.
“To me, this class represents the direction that the University is heading,” Director of Admissions Kirk Brennan said. “We’re becoming more selective because more people are becoming aware of the great things that are happening here.”
Freshmen who are the first in their families to attend college make up 14 percent of the 2,949 freshmen enrolled.
“A global research university needs to provide educational access and opportunity to all. The diversity of our incoming class illustrates our ongoing commitment to finding the next generation of leaders from all walks of life,” Provost Michael Quick, a first-generation college student himself, said in a press release.
As defined by Pell grant eligibility, 17 percent of admitted students come from low-income families, and more than two-thirds of the class will receive financial aid assistance.
The Class of 2019 includes the inaugural class of the Kaufman School of Dance, which is made of 15 men and 18 women. More than half of them are first-generation or underrepresented minority students. The application to the school included a dance sample and an in-person audition.
“There is a very small number of students around the country that want to study dance at that level of intensity. The schools that are already doing this have long established and have strong history in this area,” Brennan said. “For a brand new school to bring the kind of talent that they did here is a real [testament] to the strength of USC and how the gifts that Kaufman brought to our community have also brought a level of excellence to this campus that will make an immediate impact.”
Additionally, the class ranks among the most ethnically diverse, with 22 percent underrepresented minority students, including 7 percent black, 13 percent Latino and 2 percent Native American/Pacific Islander.
Brennan said the class of 2019 is special because of its passion.
“The thing that strikes me is the desire to make an impact that we see in the successful applications,” Brennan said. “As we read applications, the ones that rise to the top of the very competitive process are students who are ambitious.”
The states that were most highly represented in the incoming class were California, Texas, New York and Illinois. The countries that contributed the most students other than the United States included China, India, Canada, South Korea and Taiwan.
“Occasionally, [I] find myself in another country, and the recognition of the USC name is very strong,” Brennan said. “The same kind of spirit that we feel on campus is everywhere. The worldwide presence is there. This is happening not just because students are coming, but because there is a whole university effort in connecting students with research and partnerships to universities around the world.”