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Newest Hilltoppers more college ready than before

More members of the WKU Class of 2018 are college ready than ever before.

Preliminary data show that the incoming class, which will begin with MASTER (Making Academic and Social Transitions Educationally Rewarding) Plan this weekend, has the highest average ACT composite score of any first-year class, 23.5, up from 22.8 last fall. Brian Meredith, Chief Enrollment and Graduation Officer, said, “with our average incoming student scoring in the top 25-30 percent of ACT test takers nationwide, WKU continues the growth in academic quality of our incoming classes.”

Other numbers are up as well.

The number of students accepting top academic scholarships is up 40 percent to 691. “We’re up at every scholarship level,” Dr. Meredith said, “which is an additional indicator of the academic quality of this incoming class.”

The number of minority students receiving renewable merit-based scholarships covering at least tuition is also up from 96 to 138.

WKU President Gary Ransdell, who will deliver the opening convocation to the MASTER Plan participants at 8 p.m. Sunday in Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, said he is pleased that the academic quality of the incoming class continues to rise.

“I am delighted with and encouraged by the quality of this class,” Dr. Ransdell said. “My focus in on graduating every one of them, and that starts with academic strength at the outset. Kentucky wins when good students enroll and graduate from WKU.”

The newest members of the Honors College at WKU show a similar gain. The 324 first-year scholars have an average ACT composite score of 30.2, the highest ever for the Honors College. The average SAT is 1340 and grade-point average is 3.9. The ACT/SAT averages rank in the top 5 percent of tests taken worldwide this year. The class includes 99 Kentucky Governor’s Scholars, five National Merit Semifinalists and 11 graduates of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at WKU. The class includes students from 13 states and 250 of the students have full tuition or better scholarships.

Data show that the number of undergraduate applications is up 4.3 percent. The number of students transferring from other Kentucky four-year public universities is up 23 percent and transfers from Kentucky Community and Technical College System schools is up 8 percent.

“WKU is becoming the destination of choice for transfer students especially with the growing relationships we have with our nine partner institutions in the joint admissions program,” Dr. Meredith said.

Last week WKU announced a joint admissions agreement with Ivy Tech Community College Southwest in Evansville, the first agreement with an Indiana institution. WKU also has agreements with Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tenn., and seven KCTCS schools.

The agreements and the creation of the Transfer Center in the Academic Advising and Retention Center are creating a seamless path for students with a two-year degree to earn a four-year degree at WKU.

“Last year, we had the largest incoming class of students seeking a bachelor’s degree ever, and this year’s class is on track to surpass that mark,” Dr. Ransdell said. “We’re building on last year’s success and working hard toward bringing in the most academically college ready class ever again this year.”

Final enrollment figures will be available later this fall, but the first year class already includes students from 28 states and 98 Kentucky counties.

Contact: Brian Meredith, (270) 745-6169.

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