UMass Amherst Welcomes Highest-Achieving First-Year Class to Flagship Campus as Students Begin Academic Year

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst will welcome the most academically accomplished entering class in its 151-year history when students return to the Commonwealth’s flagship campus over Labor Day weekend.

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy said, “The Commonwealth’s flagship campus consistently attracts extraordinary students from across Massachusetts, the nation and the globe, and this year is no exception. The class of 2018, with its impressive academic credentials, joins our student body of bright and original thinkers and will undoubtedly enrich our campus community immeasurably.”

The academic profile of the entering class is again at an historic high, continuing the record-setting trend of recent years. Compared to last year, the average SAT score increased by about 10 points to 1218/1600, and high school grade point averages increased from 3.73 to 3.78. On average, the high school rank improved with students ranking in the top fifth of their high school class. 

The size of the entering class, approximately 4,650 students, is slightly larger than last year’s of 4,621. The number of out-of-state students has increased a bit, constituting 30 percent of the entering class. Overall undergraduate enrollment is estimated at 20,900, up from last year’s 20,728. In-state enrollment will remain the same, about 16,000 or 76 percent of the student body, and out-of-state enrollment will increase by about 150 students.

This year’s incoming class will maintain last year’s diversity profile. The ALANA (African, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American) population will increase from 23.2 percent to approximately 23.4 percent. Men represent 51 percent of the class and women 49 percent.

Commonwealth Honors College saw an increase in the size of the entering class, from 623 in 2013 to 710 in 2014. The average SAT score rose to 1359 and high school GPA increased to 4.24. The number of first-year international undergraduate students entering UMass Amherst will grow notably, from 169 to 197.

This is the 11th year of consecutive growth and another record for first-year applications for admission. A total of 37,200 students applied for admission, a 3 percent increase over the prior year, including a larger number of out-of-state and international students. Applications have increased by 84 percent since fall 2005. This year out-of-state students represent 47 percent of the applicant pool. Admission continues to be selective—only 61 percent of students who applied were admitted for the fall, similar to the fall 2012 rate but substantially lower than the 80 percent acceptance rate in fall 2005. 

This is the ninth 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 numbers of students using the EA option has increased annually, and grew by 5 percent in 2014. Almost two-fifths of students apply through EA, three-quarters were admitted, and more than 2,200 will enroll in the fall, representing about half of the entering class.