Virginia Tech prepares to welcome its most diverse freshman class
May 21, 2020
Virginia Tech is poised to welcome its most diverse freshman class in university history for the fall 2020 semester.
An admissions snapshot of accepted offers from this week shows a 27 percent increase in students that identified as African American compared to the same point in time in 2019, and a 25 percent increase in students who have identified as Hispanic/Latinx. African-American students represent 8 percent of the first-year class and Hispanic/Latinx students represent 10 percent of the incoming freshman class – a historic high for Virginia Tech.
The data also showed the university is projected to reach its freshman class target of 6,675 – the second largest incoming class in history – with students representing 46 states and 46 countries. Virginia Tech’s growing national and international reputation and its experiential learning and campus life programs led to over 31,000 admissions applications received this past cycle. The academic performance of the incoming class remains strong with an average freshmen GPA of 3.96 and an average SAT score of 1272.
“The unprecedented success of last year’s class compelled us to manage this year’s cycle closer than ever,” said Luisa Havens Gerardo, vice provost for enrollment management. “It provided us with an opportunity to continue aggressively pursuing our strategic goals to balance access, excellence, and affordability in order to shape an impressive entering class.”
“Our strength of academic programs and the opportunities we have created for engaged and experiential learning continue to make Virginia Tech a very attractive option for students across the commonwealth and the nation,” said Cyril Clarke, executive vice president and provost. “As we finalize our plans for welcoming students for the fall semester, we remain focused on the importance of providing all Hokies with the quality of experiences and opportunities they expect from Virginia Tech.”
In anticipation of normal summer “melt” (students who accept admission but choose not to enroll), the university has received a total of 7,131 acceptances from their standard admissions plans, which include early decision, early action, and regular decision as well as from subsequent offers from the wait list. Virginia Tech has historically employed enrollment management best practices for utilizing wait lists as part of its annual admission target planning and enrollment strategy.
In addition to the increases in incoming African American and Hispanic/Latinx students, Virginia Tech’s comprehensive strategies for growth in underserved and underrepresented (URM/USS) populations has also resulted in an increase in first-generation students. The admissions snapshot shows that 17 percent of incoming freshman are first-generation students – an increase of 3 percent over the same point in time last year.
“In 2019, several changes were implemented in the admissions process that were focused on increasing student access and affordability,” said Juan Espinoza, associate vice provost for enrollment management and director of admissions. “These changes can now be seen as effective as 25 percent of the freshman class are coming from an underserved background, compared to 22 percent in 2019.
“I give credit to our entire Admissions team – truly one of the best group of admissions professionals in the country.”
These transformational changes to the admissions process offer greater accessibility to a broader range of applicants and continues to support enrollment growth and opportunities for students from URM/USS communities. Significant gains for fall 2020 are projected among URM/USS students in the College of Engineering and Pamplin College of Business. Among the in-state cohort, 45 percent of the College of Engineering entering class and 37 percent of the Pamplin College of Business entering class came from a URM/USS background – an increase from 34 percent and 31 percent respectively over the same point in 2019.
Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia has contributed to the strength of this admission cycle and Virginia Tech’s ability to achieve growth in enrollment in STEM disciplines and those related to Virginia Tech academic programs aimed at tech talent initiatives, specifically computer science and computer engineering. A combined 10 percent increase is projected among incoming students, according to the admissions snapshot.
The university plans to report on overall fall 2020 undergraduate admissions outcomes following the June 1 transfer deadline and the finalization of admissions data.