By Zack Sampson and Raffaela Kenny-Cincotta, News Staff
The university on Wednesday announced the incoming class of 2013 will boast the strongest academic profile of any group of Northeastern freshman in the school’s history.
A number of statistics increased this year compared to previous years. The average GPA for incoming freshman was 3.8, according to a statement posted on the university’s website. In 2012, it was 3.7.
More than 18,000 students applied Early Action this year, up 15 percent, and a school record total of 47,322 people applied for about 2,800 spots in the freshman class, Northeastern said in statement.
Over a longer timespan, almost half of the applicants scored more than 1300 on their SATs (by the two-part model), and the university reported that only 20 percent of applicants in 2006 scored at that level.
Northeastern has seen annual increases in application numbers and academically stronger incoming classes as the university has grown in recent years. It has also pushed a global agenda, and on Wednesday the school trumpeted what it called the “unprecedented” geographic diversity of applicants.
“More than half of the Northeastern hopefuls are from outside the New England area, including 31 per-cent from the Middle Atlantic and 20 percent from the Midwest, South, West and other US territories,” the university said in the statement. “At 6,400, applications from international students are up six percent from last year and represent 143 countries.”
University President Joseph E. Aoun attributed the increase in size and skill of the applicant pool to the appeal of the co-op program.
“This model provides opportunities to integrate their studies with meaningful experiences in busi-nesses, non-profit organizations and research settings,” he said in the statement.
Northeastern cited the high employment statistics for graduates as evidence of why more students are applying to the school.
“More than 90 percent of graduates from 2006 through 2011 were employed or enrolled in graduate school nine months after graduation,” the university reported. “Eighty-seven percent of 2011 full-time employed graduates are doing work that is related to their major. Within that group, 50 percent received a job offer from a previous co-op employer.”
Dustin Fong, a sophomore industrial engineering major, furthered the president’s standpoint on experiential learning.
“The competition is getting steeper because our co-op program is obviously getting bigger and more well-known because that’s what people want,” he said. “Due to economic conditions, there’s not many jobs and people need an edge on the competition.”
Curtis Chapin, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, expressed pride over the incoming class’s academic profile.
“I think it’s good that Northeastern is getting a better reputation,” he said. “I think a lot of that has to do with the co-op program and the desire for people to graduate with a job. Northeastern is well-known for job placement and it shows that the school is meeting the demand of students.”
Eliza Novikova, a middler business major, was more tempered with her response to the numbers, however.
“I feel like [enrollment] has been going up since I started at Northeastern,” she said, but added, “I don’t think my diploma is going to be worth more until years and years from now … even though Northeastern has lots of applicants it’s still not as well known as other name-brand schools.”