For Fifth Straight Year, UMass Amherst Welcomes Highest-Achieving First-Year Class as Students Return to Flagship Campus

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst will again welcome its most academically accomplished entering class ever when students return to the Commonwealth’s flagship campus over Labor Day weekend.

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy said, “Once again our campus has attracted an extraordinary incoming class of notably talented students from throughout Massachusetts, across the nation and around the world. The impressive academic credentials of the Class of 2019 exemplify UMass Amherst’s rising reputation as one of the nation’s leading public universities.”

The academic profile of the entering class is again at a historic high, continuing the trend that began in 2011. Compared to last year, the average SAT score increased by about 10 points to 1226, and high school grade point averages increased from 3.78 to 3.83. On average, students in the incoming class rank in the top fifth of their high school class. 

The size of the entering class, approximately 4,685 students, is slightly larger than last year’s 4,650. The number of out-of-state students has decreased a bit, constituting 22 percent of the entering class, but the number of international students has nearly doubled to 303, or 6 percent of the class. Overall undergraduate enrollment is estimated at 21,100, up from last year’s 20,712. In-state enrollment will remain about the same, about 16,100 or 76 percent of the student body, and out-of-state enrollment will increase by about 200 students.

This year’s incoming class is more diverse. The ALANA (African, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American) population will increase from 23.7 percent to approximately 26 percent and the underrepresented minority population will increase from 10 percent to 12 percent. Men represent 51 percent of the class and women 49 percent.

Commonwealth Honors College will welcome a slightly smaller entering class of 650, compared to 706 in 2014. Their average SAT score is 1359 and their high school GPA increased to 4.28.

This is the 12th year of consecutive growth and another record for first-year applications for admission. A total of 40,015 students applied for admission, a 7.6 percent increase over the prior year, including larger numbers of out-of-state and international students. Applications have increased by nearly 80 percent over the past 10 years. This year out-of-state students represent nearly 49 percent of the applicant pool. Admission to UMass Amherst continues to be selective—a record low of 58 percent of students who applied were admitted for the fall, substantially lower than the 71 percent acceptance rate in fall 2006. 

This is the 10th year that the campus offered an Early Action (EA) admission program whereby students apply early for admission and receive notification of their acceptance by mid-December. The number of students using the EA option has increased annually from about 3,000 in 2006 to nearly 16,000 this year, and grew by 12 percent for 2015. Almost two-fifths of students apply through EA, 70 percent were admitted, and more than 2,230 will enroll in the fall, representing about half of the entering class.

Along with the first-year class, about 1,100 transfer students will be arriving on campus this fall, slightly fewer than last year. UMass Amherst received 3,300 transfer applications and the acceptance rate dropped to 59 percent from 63 percent last year. The transfers include 350 community college graduates enrolling through the MassTransfer program. MassTransfer guarantees admission to Massachusetts Community College students who complete a designated program with a GPA of 2.5 or above. The overall GPA for the entering transfer students is 3.32.