Mercer University’s freshman class of 2022 follows recent trends in boasting significant growth, impressive diversity statistics and high academic qualifications compared to other regional colleges and universities.
Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management Kelly Halloway said that this class is not only the largest in Mercer history but the most academically qualified as well.
She said that of the 973 freshmen, the average SAT score was 1288, the average ACT score was 28 and the average Mercer-recalculated GPA stood at 3.92.
“This is something that we’re really excited about with growth. Also, to have that academic rigor and that academic standard upheld is really, really meaningful in higher education,” Halloway said.
About 59 percent of applicants were accepted, and around 27 percent of those enrolled.
Fields of study
Halloway said that, as usual, the highest percentage of students plan to pursue majors in natural and physical science, and most are on a pre-health track. Those pursuing engineering fields come in a close second.
The largest growth area this year was within the business school, Halloway said. A higher percentage of incoming students plan to major in one of the 10 offerings in the Stetson School of Business, making business majors the third most popular among the class of 2022.
Halloway said that new programs and offerings helped spark that interest.
“There are new majors within the business school, so we have the Sports Marketing and Analytics [and] the Entrepreneurship,” Halloway said. “I think that the Innovation Center is really, really getting a lot of buzz, and it’s attracting a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs.”
The fourth-largest subset of students are coming in undecided, she said.
Halloway said that compared to Georgia’s large state universities, “our diversity statistics are just incredible. Our class this year is 55 percent white/Caucasian, 45 percent minority population, so we almost have a 50/50 split … African-American is almost 20 percent of our incoming class.”
Over 20 percent of Mercer’s class of 2022 are first-generation college students.
About 2 percent are international students, which Halloway said is an area Mercer hopes to improve upon going forward.
“We are an institution that really embraces a diverse population, and I think that when students come to campus and they see that, they are attracted to that,” she said.
Halloway said that these numbers are consistent with previous years, and while this class boasts impressive quantitative statistics, its members truly shine in more qualitative assessments.
“This class comes in with a significant amount of leadership and service, which really aligns with our mission,” she said. “Yes, we’re proud of the diversity statistics, we’re proud of the academic statistics, but more than anything, we’re proud that we’re recruiting Mercerians.”
Halloway said that for the upcoming year, Mercer will transition from a rolling admissions policy to an early-action deadline Oct. 15 with a “decision day” beginning Nov. 5.
Previously, students received decisions within a few weeks of submitting their application.
Halloway said this change will allow the admissions office more time to evaluate applications and “to look at them as a group.” Another benefit, she said, is giving students a special moment to look forward to.
She said the school is following through on long-standing plans to stick to continued, but measured, growth.
“Where we ended up was where we expected to be. We do have housing for all of our incoming freshmen,” she said. “We do have housing for everyone. There is parking on campus, there are parking spots on campus — they just might not be right in front of the building.”
Inspire: Mercer’s Vision for the Decade Ahead is the 10-year strategic plan for Mercer University, written and released by its board of trustees in the spring of 2018.
The section on measured growth reads: “Mercer will continue to increase traditional undergraduate enrollment from 3,253 to 3,750 students because we believe in the educational experience here, and we believe the world needs more Mercerians.”