By Sam Fahmy/UGA Today
The more than 5,600 first-year undergraduate students who make up the University of Georgia’s Class of 2024 are beginning their studies at an unprecedented time in the institution’s history. Yet like the students who came before them, they bring an extraordinary record of academic success and boundless aspiration to the birthplace of public higher education.
“I am excited to welcome our incoming first-year students to the University of Georgia,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “They have joined a distinguished academic community that has produced leaders in all sectors of society, from business and government to education and the sciences. I look forward to all that they will achieve in the years ahead.”
The rigor of students’ high school coursework relative to what is available at their school remains a key factor in admissions decisions at UGA. The average weighted high school GPA of incoming first year students is just above 4.0, marking the fourth consecutive year at or above this benchmark. (UGA adds weight to every individual Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate grade unless a weight has already been added). This year’s incoming first-year students took an average of nine AP, IB or dual-enrollment courses, which ties last year’s record. The Class of 2024 had an average ACT score of 31, which also ties last year’s record, and an average SAT score of 1351.
“We are thrilled to welcome another outstanding group of students to join the Bulldog family,” said Vice President for Instruction Rahul Shrivastav. “These students bring stellar academic qualifications coupled with a record of leadership, creativity and dedication to making a positive impact on society.”
Thirty-one percent of incoming students self-identify as a member of a minority group, up from 28% four years ago. The incoming class also includes students from 478 Georgia high schools, 142 Georgia counties, 43 states and five continents. Eighty-five percent of incoming undergraduate students are Georgia residents.
At the graduate level, approximately 2,000 students representing over 50 U.S. states and territories and 72 countries are beginning their studies this fall at UGA. They are joined by some 450 incoming professional students in law, veterinary medicine and pharmacy.
Students are returning to a campus environment in which a number of health and safety measures have been put into place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The University System of Georgia and UGA require all faculty, staff, students and visitors to wear face coverings while inside campus facilities where 6 feet of distancing may not always be possible. Seats in classrooms are marked to facilitate social distancing, and many faculty members are implementing strategies such as hybrid instruction to accommodate a mix of students who learn in person and remotely. Residence halls, dining, campus transit and other units across campus have implemented enhanced health and safety measures as well.
UGA is one of the nation’s largest universities to require that all undergraduate students engage in experiential learning, and it continues to build upon its reputation for academic excellence. An initiative to more thoroughly integrate data literacy and intensive writing into the curriculum is currently underway. In addition, more than 50 faculty members, who teach classes with a cumulative annual enrollment of more than 10,000 students, have redesigned their courses to incorporate active learning methods that promote deeper engagement between students and their instructors.
“We continue to move forward with initiatives that enhance our teaching, research and service missions because we know that higher education transforms the lives of students and plays a vital role in addressing the grand challenges of our time,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Each new cohort of students brings new energy, and I welcome our incoming undergraduate, graduate and professional students to the University of Georgia.”