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Diversity a ‘big draw’ for freshmen

A new cove of owls has officially landed in North Philadelphia. Last week, Temple welcomed more than 4,000 new freshmen as the fall semester began. According to Dr. Timm Rinehart, director of admissions, the class of 2010 is particularly distinct compared to other classes. “This is the most selective class in Temple history,” Rinehart said…. Read more »

A new cove of owls has officially landed in North Philadelphia.
Last week, Temple welcomed more than 4,000 new freshmen
as the fall semester began.

According to Dr. Timm Rinehart, director of admissions, the class of 2010 is particularly distinct compared to other classes.
“This is the most selective class in Temple history,” Rinehart said. “We had 17,910 freshman applications, and we admitted 10,959, so that’s the most selective we’ve ever been.”

With an acceptance rate that comes out to approximately 61 percent, Rinehart said the admissions counselors used “pretty much the same process” when reading applications as in past years. But the class of 2010 is comparable to other classes in terms of diversity.

Rinehart said the freshman class comes from 37 of the 50 states and 80 countries worldwide. Out-of-state students comprise 30 percent of the class, with the most popular states being New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Massachusetts.

Many students claim that one of the major draws to the university is the ethnic diversity on campus.

“Everything you hear about Temple is about how diverse it is,” Elaine Soto, a freshman psychology major from Columbia, Md., said. In the Princeton Review, an annual ranking of colleges, Temple ranks as the eighth most diverse school in the nation.

Approximately 40 percent of incoming Temple students declared themselves as a minority this year.

According to Rinehart, another major draw to Temple is its location in Philadelphia. Many students coming from suburbs or small towns cited everything the city has to offer as one of the major reasons why they chose Temple, from its athletics and entertainment to its culture.

“I felt like getting away from Philly athletics would be tough,” said Luke Butler, who describes himself as an avid Phillies fan and psychology major from Elkins Park. “Temple was the college that attracted me the most. It’s a whole new world.” Living just on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Butler was attracted to Temple’s diversity, the friendliness of students, and the residence halls.

Others, like freshman roommates Amy Smith and Kristen Harding, wanted to come to Philadelphia because it was just far enough away that it was possible to go home when they wanted to. “Temple is only two hours from my house,” said Harding, a journalism major from Scranton. “I wanted to experience the city atmosphere.”

“I’m from more of a suburban town,” Smith, a psychology major from Moscow, Pa., said. “[Temple is] close to home [and] has a lot to offer. It’s a big change from high school, but it’s a good change.”

The average high school grade point average for this year’s class was 3.26. SAT scores show a 10-point drop from last year, with the average being 1088. However, Rinehart said that the Pennsylvania SAT average has declined a total of 11 points to 993, and the national average sunk 7 points to 1021.
The drop could be attributed in part to the new format of the SAT, which included discarding analogies from the verbal section, which is now called Critical Reading, and quantitative comparisons from the math section.

Many colleges, including Temple, do not yet consider the scores from the new writing portion of the SAT in the decision process but are instead using them to determine how they will be used to admit students in the future.

Popular majors for the class of 2010 include business, communications, and psychology, but the most popular for incoming freshmen, according to Rinehart, is undecided. Regardless of the subject, many new students said they were impressed by the faculty.

“The professors seem very knowledgeable in their fields,” said Jonathan Bojan, a music therapy major from State College. “I can’t say enough about them. A lot of things I expected were confirmed when I came here…. The combination of Philadelphia and the opportunities here [at Temple] – it’s like a playground. I couldn’t ask for more.”

The faculty isn’t the only thing that impressed Bojan.

“The food in Johnson and Hardwick is pretty hot,” he said.
As for future freshman classes, Rinehart said he feels confident
that the admissions office will remain steady in the next few years, if not see an upward trend. Temple will begin recruiting in ten more national cities, including Miami, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.

“Temple’s a better product,” Rinehart said, citing many of the university’s newer features and facilities. “The new Welcome Center and TECH Center combination makes a great first impression for campus visitors.”

As diverse and eccentric as the class of 2010 is, many of them do share one common thought, as summarized by Butler.
“It seems like it’s going to be a great four years,” he said.

Chris Stover can be reached at chris.stover@temple.edu.

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