Campus News

Fall 2019 freshmen are ‘largest and strongest’ class to date

The entering freshman class is the largest to date. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

The entering freshman class is the largest to date. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

The Fall 2019 freshmen class is the “largest and strongest” in the University’s history with 5,682 students.

This enrollment is up 69 percent since Fall 2010, and the University is still growing, according to Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Paula Myrick Short.

“The University has positioned itself as a powerhouse globally,” Short said in an email. “We have many ranked academic programs and a wonderful campus culture.”

Short said this class shows strength in its academic talent and enrollment rates. The average SAT score of freshmen students is 1225 and ranks as the fourth-highest among public universities in Texas. More than half of enrolled freshmen students graduated in the top 20 percent of their high school class.

Short said a growing number of students complete college-level coursework before they finish high school. 

“I believe we’ve achieved that title (largest and strongest class) because many students have realized the benefits of taking AP courses in high school, specifically college credit,” said hotel and restaurant management freshman Kylie Stevens.

Stevens said she believes her class has a “great mix” of artistic, STEM and business majors that all add their own unique skills to the entering freshmen class. She also said career options for her class are always changing, so they’ve learned to be prepared for anything.

“We’re more eager to get in, get out,” Stevens said, “especially with the rise of technology playing a major role on many of our prospective careers.”

Freshmen enrollment among African-American students is the highest since Fall 2012, Short said, and freshmen enrollment among Hispanic students is the highest in school history.  

“Throughout high school, UH had always been portrayed as the most diverse and friendly school,” said marketing freshman Polina Bandrovskaya. “And as someone who was never sure of which college to go to, that really drew me in.”

Bandrovskaya said her freshmen class also stands out because they were “highly involved” in their high schools’ clubs and organizations.

“I have not yet met a single freshman that was not involved in their school,” Bandrovskaya said, “and that type of time management is what makes us stronger students.”

President Renu Khator said at her fall address a typical freshman at UH is 18 years old, lives on campus, plans to graduate in four years, wants to study abroad and looks forward to gaining practical experience while at UH.

“I decided to come to UH for the inclusive environment and large networking opportunity,” Bandrovskaya said.

The population of Texas and Houston has steadily increased since Fall 2010, Short said. More students are graduating from local high schools and that increases the demand for post secondary degree opportunities. However, it’s predicted that trend will reverse in 2025.

Short said this will likely impact the number of freshmen students entering colleges and universities in Houston, but the University will stay dedicated to its students’ success.

“That will not stop us from working even harder to ensure that more students have access to degree opportunities and successfully complete their degrees at UH,” Short said. 

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