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September 25, 2014

Class of 2018: Who are they?

The Class of 2018 at freshman convocation last month.

The Class of 2018 at freshman convocation last month.

A total of 4,728 new undergraduates — 3,884 freshmen and 844 transfer students — have arrived on the Pittsburgh campus this fall.

In a Sept. 23 presentation to the University Senate admissions and student aid committee, Marc L. Harding, chief enrollment officer, and Kellie Kane, director of operations and strategic planning in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, profiled Pitt’s newest undergraduates.

As has become the norm with each successive year, Pitt’s incoming freshman class is drawn from a record number of applicants and boasts academic strength. “The class itself is just a really bright class,” said Harding.

Of the 2014 freshman class:

• 66 percent are Pennsylvania residents (16 percent from within Allegheny County, 50 percent from elsewhere in Pennsylvania).

• 34 percent are from out of state.

Where do the out-of-state freshmen call home? Eighty-five percent come from among 10 states: New Jersey is No. 1, contributing 287 freshmen. Rounding out the top 10 are New York (230 freshmen), Ohio (130), Maryland (97), Illinois (85), Virginia (85), California (53), Massachusetts (52), Connecticut (25) and Michigan (24).

Another 8 percent hail from Florida, Delaware, Georgia, Texas, Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, Indiana, Maine, Tennessee and West Virginia.

• The average SAT score is 1297 (based on a maximum of 1600), up from 1293 for those entering in fall 2013.

• Fifty-nine percent were in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

• About one-quarter identify as minority students, Harding said. For 2014, 24.8 percent identified as a minority, down slightly from 25.5 percent last year, up from 21.5 percent in 2012.  “A lot of families look through the lens of how diverse is your undergraduate student body,” in selecting colleges, Harding said. “It’s a number of interest to our external constituents.”

• International student applications fell, due in part, Harding said, to transition related to the departure of a longtime staffer in that area.

For fall 2014, of 1,883 international freshman applicants, 554 students were admitted and 108 students matriculated. In comparison, for fall 2013, 589 students were admitted from 2,342 applications, with 121 students joining the freshman class.


The ranks of graduating high schoolers continue to decline in and around Pennsylvania. Despite the trend, the number of Pitt applications continues to rise.

“We’re a product that’s in demand by a segment of our population. We want to keep that strong, particularly in light of the demographics,” Harding said. “We’re competing with the very best.”

Of 30,629 applicants for fall 2014 — the highest number ever — 16,271 students (56.1 percent) were accepted. The class of 3,884 students represents a yield (the percentage of admitted students who enroll) of 23.9 percent.

In comparison, in 2000, the yield was 35 percent, Harding said.

“We’ve become more selective,” Harding said. “You have to admit more students to bring in the same size class. … The smarter the student, the more choices they have, the more scholarship dollars they have,” he said. “If we get more selective next year, I’d expect the yield to drop again.”

Although Pitt is among the nation’s most expensive public universities, cost has not yet prevented the University from achieving its enrollment goals, Harding said. “Cost plays a role, but if you’re a great product, people are willing to apply for it and be interested in it, and we’re still getting students of high quality.”


The University plans to boost recruiting in areas where Pitt is finding increased visibility through its move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Potential new markets include North Carolina, Massachusetts and throughout New England, said Kane.

In addition to increased name recognition for Pitt in those areas, they’re close geographically — freshmen tend to attend school within a 500-mile radius of home — and alumni presence can be leveraged, all advantages when it comes to attracting students.


Additional freshman class facts are at

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 47 Issue 3