Posted August 25, 2010

Class profile tells story of Temple’s rising appeal

Another record-breaking class of new undergraduates has arrived. Projected to total more than 7,000, Temple's new students are the most highly qualified cohort in the university's history. Once final enrollment numbers are tallied in mid-September, they may end up being the largest as well.

Nearly 4,300 freshmen will start classes next week. The freshman class comes to Temple with an average SAT score of 1114, five points higher than last year's record average, 98 points higher than the national average and 120 points higher than the Pennsylvania average. Joining the freshmen will be more than 2,700 transfers with a collective transfer grade point average of 3.07, another all-time high.

An estimated 3,100 freshmen are from Pennsylvania and 650 are from Philadelphia, up about 3 and 7 percent respectively. Officials in Temple's Office of Undergraduate Admissions noted that Fall 2010 freshman enrollment is also projected to be up more than last year among students from California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Texas and other states where residents pay higher out-of-state tuition rates — a powerful indicator of Temple's appeal, given that the current admissions cycle is the first in recent years to take place from start to finish under the cloud of an economic downturn.

Nearly 30 percent of freshmen and transfers identify themselves as students of color, equaling last year's total. The number of new students who self-identify as Latino appears to be continuing to rise; an estimated 6 percent more Latino freshmen and 15 percent more Latino transfers are expected to enroll compared to last year.

The buzz of Welcome Week is a fitting climax to an extraordinarily busy admissions season. Nearly 36,500 prospective students and their families toured Temple in 2009, shattering 2008's record-breaking total.

Those visits helped many freshmen and transfers make their final choice. Annora Dirsa, a freshman from Bryn Mawr, Pa., was impressed by the diversity of Temple's student body as she toured Main Campus. "The variety of people here is great," said Dirsa, a freshman at the College of Education who chose Temple over Fordham, Penn State, Pitt and Washington College. "There's so much to learn from people from other ethnic backgrounds."

Hunter Siede was sold while walking around Main Campus on a Saturday night after attending “Experience Temple” day for accepted students in the spring. "There were all these people hanging around the Bell Tower playing drums and hacky sack," said Siede, a freshman in the School of Communications and Theater from Todd, N.C. "It seemed so exciting to me — Temple was in the city, but it had that campus feel."

Temple's urban location offered more than just excitement for many new students. "I liked Philadelphia and the city atmosphere [because] I felt like I would have a lot of opportunities for jobs, internships and research," said Abby Link, a transfer student in the College of Science and Technology from Bel Air, Md.

Siede and Link are among an estimated 525 new students this fall who have at least one parent who graduated from Temple, 16 percent more than last year. The number of children of alumni in Temple's freshman classes has more than doubled since 2005. For many alumni parents tagging along on college tours, the sight of Temple's Main Campus was just as eye-opening as it was for their children.

"My mom was shocked," said Lilli Geltman, a freshman in the College of Education from Bryn Mawr, Pa., who visited Temple with her mother, Patti Geltman '84. "She loved it — the people all around us and the brand new buildings."

Her mother confirmed the story. "I was totally overwhelmed by how the campus was transformed," said Patti. "I'm really happy and proud that Lilli is going. I think she's going to thrive."