CWRU sets enrollment records, welcomes most diverse, academically accomplished class in history

President Barbara R. Snyder announced today that the first-year students who arrive this fall will be part of Case Western Reserve’s largest, most diverse and most academically accomplished class in history.

Based on deposits as of May 1, the university expects to enroll at least 1,350 students—about 180 more than the previous record class, which enrolled in 2005. More than 12 percent come from underrepresented minority groups. Finally, the group that arrives in August will have SAT scores at the 25th and 75th percentiles of 1280 and 1450. A perfect score for the SAT critical reading and math portions is 1600.

“These results are a credit to our faculty, staff, alumni and current students, all of whom came together to show young people and their parents what an extraordinary place Case Western Reserve is,” President Snyder said. “We have a great story to tell, and each year we have done a more effective job of conveying it to prospective students.”

Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III emphasized that the university has sufficient housing to accommodate these incoming students and will have ample sections of courses available for first-year students when they register later this summer. The provost emphasized that his office will provide additional resources to academic units to meet increased curricular demands and also to provide the class additional enrichment opportunities.

“This is a special group of young people,” Baeslack said. “We want to make their first-year experiences as positive as possible.”

When she arrived in 2007, President Snyder made enhancing the academic quality of the undergraduate student body one of the university’s top priorities. The effort began with enhancing the admissions and financial aid infrastructure, which in turn led to steady growth in academic qualifications, diversity and international enrollment during the first few years.

In 2010, those efforts ramped up considerably after the arrival of Richard W. Bischoff as the university’s vice president for enrollment management. Drawing on admissions experience at the prestigious California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Chicago, Bischoff dramatically increased admissions visits to high schools and personalized outreach to students earlier in their academic careers. Last year, applications climbed nearly 45 percent, growth that drew national attention from places like The New York Times and The Huffington Post.

This year more than 2,000 families participated in campus visits, and admitted student open houses alone saw an 80 percent increase in attendance. While the crowds occasionally strained parking and traffic, the campus community welcomed them with enthusiasm—as did neighbors throughout University Circle.

“The people of this region proved to be wonderful partners in helping us persuade the many of the nation’s top students to choose Case Western Reserve,” President Snyder said.

The class that entered in 2007 had an SAT range at the 25th and 75th percentile of 1200 – 1410, which means this year’s entering class posted gains of 80 and 40 points at the respective levels. In addition, 66 percent of the group that entered five years ago were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. This year’s entering university class claims 74 percent in that category.

The class also is more geographically diverse. Nearly three quarters of the students who arrive in August will come from out of state. In 2007, that figure was about half. In addition, about 80 students will come to Cleveland from other countries.