Student diversity sets new record

UVM opened its doors to its most diverse class this year in which more than one in eight students self-describe themselves as ethnic minorities, according to a press release from University Communications. 

UVM welcomed an estimated 2,470 first-year students of which 13.6 percent are of Asian-American, Latino, African-American, Native American and multi-racial (ALANA) decent, an increase from 10.4 percent last year. 

“We believe that, as the high school population diversifies in terms of race and ethnicity, we will continue to attract a similar percentage of ALANA students,” Beth Wiser, director of admissions said.

The Class of 2017 is among one of the largest in the University’s history, with 65 more first-year students than in the Class of 2016, 40 more students than in the Class of 2015, and five less than in the Class of 2014, the press release stated. 

Last fall, the Admissions Office saw a record number of applicants for this year’s class with a total of 11,672.  

In addition, more than 200 students have accepted entrance into the Honors College, up from last year’s 169 students, according to Honors College dean Abu Rizvi

“It was a bit harder to get into the Honors College first-year class this year,” Rizvi said. “We’re very impressed by the background, accomplishments and promise of these students.” 

While there “are no hard and fast requirements” for entrance into the Honors College, he said students “tend to do very well academically and their SAT/ACT scores, grades and class rank reflect this phenomenon.” 

UVM has gone to lengths to become more selective as part of President Tom Sullivan’s leadership agenda, the Cynic reported last year. Applications surged by 2.7 percent last year from the previous year, but the actual yield- the number of students accepted who choose to enroll- is a number that Sullivan hopes to increase, a March Burlington Free Press article reported. 

This year’s Honors College entering class has nearly one in four students of non-majority ethnicity while other students come from geographic areas that are not well represented in the UVM student body, Rizvi said. 

“This difference in background adds so much to richness of the conversations we can expect around campus and in our classrooms.” 

First year Tom Tidnam, a transfer student from Britain, said the University has helped international students in what can often be a confusing adjustment. 

“The school offers a lot of structure to help adjust but it still takes time,” said the American Studies major.