The quality of Virginia Tech students continues to rise, making admission to the university increasingly competitive.

“We are pleased that we are attracting even higher-quality students,” said Provost Mark McNamee. “The competitiveness of admission to Virginia Tech is due to the quality of its programs and the success of our alumni in finding jobs or gaining admission to top graduate schools.”

Of the 17,687 applicants, the 5,187 students set to become Virginia Tech’s Class of 2009 have an average grade point average of 3.76 (with a middle range of 3.38-3.95) on a 4.0 scale, up from 3.67 last year. Their SAT scores this year average 1232 with a middle range of 1140-1330, compared to last year’s 1120-1280.

This year, Virginia Tech did not consider the new writing component of the SAT test, desiring a year’s worth of data before deciding how or if it will figure in the admissions process.

"We are delighted in the credentials our students bring in leadership, service, and academic performance," said Norrine Bailey Spencer, associate provost and director of undergraduate admissions. "We are fortunate to have had an increased yield (42 percent) this year, more in-state freshman and transfer applications, and an increase in offers and accepts for under-represented groups in the student body."

The Class of 2009 is 73 percent Caucasian, 7.5 percent Asian, 3.4 percent Black, 2.8 percent Hispanic, and less than 1 percent Native American. In addition, 12.6 percent did not indicate their ethnicity. Although the percentage of African American students went from 3.8 in 2004 to 3.4 for 2005, more black students joined the freshman class than last year (186 compared to 173 in 2004). The Hispanic population has increased from 2.0 to 2.8 percent.

The number of African Americans applying to Virginia Tech has decreased each year since 2001, but this year the university made more offers and has a slightly higher number enrolled for fall. The number of students who did not indicate their ethnicity on their applications, 654 out of 5,187, could change the percentages in the final count.

“We are pleased that our overall minority enrollment has increased, but disappointed that the percentage of African American students has dropped,” said David Ford, vice provost for academic affairs. “We made every effort to reach the areas with high underrepresented populations. Also, the increasing Hispanic population in the state and nation may account in part for the increase in Hispanic students. We attended twice as many fairs geared to underrepresented audiences in an effort to raise the percentage of minorities at Virginia Tech.”

"For next year we want to focus some new efforts on increasing the number of Black applicants and the number of out-of-state applications, including increased recruitment efforts in new geographic areas," Spencer said.

Of the 5,187 entering students, 69 percent are in-state students and 31 percent out of state. Forty-four percent of this year’s class is female, compared to 42 percent last year. The university had an unprecedented in-state number of students in the Pamplin College of Business and in University Studies, the major for undecided students.

Students transferring to Virginia Tech from other institutions increased eight percent, including an increase in applications from Virginia community colleges; 755 transfer students will join Virginia Tech this fall, easily meeting the university’s goal of 700.