Heralded as "extraordinary" by admissions officials, this year's freshman class has the highest enrollment numbers and average SAT scores of any class yet to enter JHU. The Class of 2005 also includes more students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class than in previous years. In addition, the freshman class saw a marginal widening of the gender gap and almost no change in students' geographic origins.
"The Class [of 2005] is even more impressive when you move past the numbers, extraordinary as they are, to the individual level," said Sam McNair, the Director of Admissions Information Systems. When asked if he thought the Class of 2005 was the best class yet to enter Hopkins, McNair answered "yes."
The average SAT score for students enrolled in the class of 2005 was 1400, up from the previous two years' average score of 1380. However, the average SAT score of applicants to JHU stayed the same, at 1350.
"The [national SAT score] increase was one point this year over last year," McNair said. "I don't believe that the SAT scores are actually inflating nationally on average."
The number of applicants to Hopkins remained nearly the same as the previous year. A total of 9,112 students applied for admission into the Class of 2005, of which 3,039, or 33 percent, students were offered admission. According to the Office of Admissions, 1,005 students decided to enroll at Hopkins. Enrollment figures remained strong despite the change in US News' annual college ranking.
"Freshmen entering Hopkins in 2001 saw us ranked 15th in the 2000 issue of US News," said McNair. "Freshmen entering Hopkins in 2000 saw us ranked 7th in the 1999 issue. Our application volume varied in those two years by about 3 percent. I would consider that a negligible effect."
Geographic origin for the freshmen remained nearly the same as the past few years. A majority of students, 518 out of 1005, come from just 4 states - New York, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The male-to-female ratio widened for the first time in the last several years. Men constitute 60 percent of the freshman class, up from last year's figure of 57 percent.
Last year, the Office of Admissions listed the increased availability of financial aid and scholarship money as a reason for the closer gender figures, but this year's widening of the gender gap is normal, according to McNair.
"The [male-to-female] ratio is pretty consistently between 55:45 and 60:40, and I'm not sure why," said McNair. "But then, I'm not sure why women over men more frequently drive Mercedes M-Class SUVs, or why cat-lovers prefer Prego and dog-lovers prefer Ragu."
One factor that may have changed the composition of the Class of 2005 is the slowing economy. Traditionally, business and law schools see an increase in the number of applicants when the economy slows down. While a slow economy doesn't necessarily change the number of applicants for undergraduate admissions, it can change the composition of the applicants.
"I am inclined to agree with [those] who would argue an unexpected increase in enrollment among students who are from locations relatively near a particular college or university signals an economic slowdown," said McNair. "Others have attributed to our economy the possible upward trend among students who are admitted to colleges and universities, and then request a deferral for one or two years, [but] Hopkins has not yet seen this trend.