The first-year class at the University of South Dakota broke records yet again.
USD enrolled 1,251 students in its 2012 first-year class, which is an 11 percent increase from last year. The university’s overall enrollment is 10,284 students this year.
USD was the only state public university to see an increase in enrollment, up by 3 percent from 2011.
Jeff Baylor, vice president of Marketing, Enrollment and Student Services, said diversity continues to grow while still maintaining academic quality.
“We have a really dedicated faculty, staff and students here at USD,” Baylor said. “The exceptional teaching and the continued investment helps us in recruiting.”
This year, the first-year students have an average 23.8 ACT score, whereas the state and national average is a 21.8.
Travis Vlasman, associate director of USD Admissions, said academically, the new class had a good GPA, good ACT scores and class rank as seniors in high school. He said they were well prepared for the college environment.
“The new class reaffirms that our strategy we are using is working,” Vlasman said. “Students are telling us we now have the facilities so that we can give them a positive learning experience.”
With the increased class size came a few issues for the university.
North Complex was over-capacity in living space and students were living in the study lounges, but Vlasman said students have enjoyed them.
Another initial concern of Vlasman’s was the university may have run short on classes.
“We did a good job on planning the number of classes,” Vlasman said. “Kudos to the math and English classes that accommodated for them, and making it easier for them to register for classes.”
Spencer Carlson, a sophomore, said it’s amazing how fast the school is growing.
“This is a good sign that this school is doing something right, because of all these incoming students who think it is a great place to be,” Carlson said.
Although admissions may have helped bring first-year students to USD, it is a real campus effort to keep them here, Vlasman said.
“It isn’t just admissions that does all the work, residential life also makes sure they are well adjusted to campus, and overall, the whole campus community embraces recruitment,” Vlasman said. “This class was probably more prepared and a fun incoming class to work with.”