Introducing the class of 2019

Introducing the class of 2019

Hannah Lentz

This year’s freshman class may be 71 students smaller this year, but with students coming from over 50 counties across Michigan, word seems to be getting out about Grand Valley State University. This year, a total of 4,155 students enrolled at GVSU. Though the university has seen larger enrollment numbers on average these last couple of years, the academic details for the freshman classes seem to be staying consistent.

The median high school GPA average was slightly lower than last year coming in at 3.56 compared to last year’s score of 3.57. ACT composite scores stayed the same with a median score of 23.

While academics stayed mostly the same, a value that increased this year was the number of unique college attendees including first generation college students at GVSU. For the fall semester, 1,528 students were the first of their immediate family to attend college compared to 1,496 students last fall. Additionally, there was an increase of eight veteran students in the class of 2019.

“I think there’s a student-centeredness of really wanting to help our students be successful and when you have that kind of an atmosphere and a lot of support for students when they need assistance to the extent that students take advantage and are motivated to be successful, they tend to be,” said Bart Merkle, dean of students.

Of these 4,155 first year students attending GVSU, 3,608 of them are living in on-campus housing and 509 of them are living in off-campus locations. Last year, 3,591 students lived on-campus and 608 students lived off-campus. This means more freshmen are living on campus this year. To accommodate for the increase in students, The 2015-2016 academic year is the first year that students have the option to stay in a four-person, two-bedroom apartment style unit on south campus. Previously, these apartments housed strictly two people. GVSU is also working to build another freshman housing center on what was previously Robinson Field.

Students mainly came to GVSU from Michigan residences, totaling 3,767. However, 217 students listed Illinois as their state of origin. Freshmen who traveled a little further for college came from all over the world including the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Portugal, Syria, Canada, India, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Serbia and several other countries.

Though there seem to be class representatives from varied locations around the globe, diversity remains an area of struggle for GVSU. Numbers are up slightly for campus diversity, but the fact remains that only 723 students represent unduplicated minorities out of the 4,155 freshmen. The largest ethnic background is the 227 African American or black students, up slightly from 220 students last year.

“GVSU has been working hard to diversify enrollment and faculty and staff,” Merkle said. “Over the last 30 years we’ve grown a lot so we’ve been growing in enrollment and in diversity.”

As usual for a freshman class, the most popular major went to those students who were undecided about their area of study. However, students who had a particular area of focus were mainly concentrated in the nursing, biomedical sciences and business fields with 347 students following the nursing path, 213 students focusing on biomedical sciences and 203 students seeking a general business degree. These majors have remained consistently popular for the past five years and degree-seeking undergraduates in these areas have continued to increase.