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July, 2019

Once Again, CUA Welcomes Record-Breaking Freshman Class

By Mary McCarthy

Members of the freshman class participate in the annual Freshman Convocation on Sept. 12 in the Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

For the second year in a row, CUA welcomed its largest freshman class ever. As of Sept. 4, the university had 868 freshmen — a 1.3 percent increase over last year. The male-female ratio of the class is almost equally split at 48 percent male, 52 percent female. The students come from 42 states and seven countries with the top four home states being Maryland (19 percent), New Jersey (18 percent), Pennsylvania (14 percent) and New York (12 percent).

“The number of freshmen who applied to Catholic University has increased by more than 80 percent in three years, making gaining admission to CUA more competitive,” says W. Michael Hendricks, vice president for enrollment management. “A larger proportion of our entering freshman class is ranked in the top 10 percent and top 25 percent of their graduating high school class compared to past years.

“The fact that CUA is growing at the same time that we are explicitly differentiating ourselves based on our Catholic identity tells me that what we’re doing sells — that people understand our uniqueness and value what we do.”

The numbers support Hendricks’ claim — 82 percent of the freshman class is Catholic.

Though the official figures won’t be available until early October, it is clear that the university’s total enrollment will increase by more than 200 students, from approximately 6,100 students to more than 6,300. Most of the increase is attributed to a rise in undergraduate students.

“This year I am excited by the many different places our new freshmen are from and the experiences they bring with them,” says Christine Mica, dean of undergraduate admissions. “They get involved in so many things the first couple weeks of school — I really hope they find time to sleep!

“Ed Coffey, a CUA admissions recruiter in New England, says that over and over again he meets students that have visited campus and speak highly of the friendliness of CUA’s students, faculty and administration,” Mica adds. “The new freshmen are now part of our campus community and have very quickly become the next friendly faces on campus.”

Freshmen carry boxes and luggage up John McCormack Rd. N.E. to Flather Hall during the first day of orientation.
Jonathan Bell, a freshman biology major from Freeport, N.Y., applied to many schools, but one thing made Catholic University stand out — its relatively small size. He says he looks forward to becoming an active member of the university through community service. Having been involved in service in high school, he is excited about going on the spring break mission trip to Jamaica and about volunteering with the children and babies at St. Ann’s Infant and Maternity Home near campus.

Mary Kate Gardner, a freshman history major from San Francisco, comes from a Catholic family and attended Catholic schools. She admits that the name of “The” Catholic University of America intimidated her when her mother first suggested she apply. “But as soon as I walked on campus, I knew it was where I wanted to be,” the undergraduate says. “It’s gorgeous and everyone is so nice.”

While she was not necessarily set on attending a school affiliated with the Church, Gardner says, “I come from a very religious family, and I thought I could possibly find that ‘spark’ (of my own personal faith) here.”

She first visited campus on a trip set up by volleyball coach Nagy Abdelrazek. While seeing the university, she stayed with a member of the volleyball team. The team, which now includes Gardner, “has made me feel so welcome,” she says. “If you don’t feel welcome, you don’t feel at home. It only took about a week for me to call Catholic University home.”

Even though she applied to many schools, Gardner was interested in CUA because, “Catholic was very strong on developing the whole person, not just academically. There’s so many clubs, and athletics. Of course you have your school work, but that’s not what life is all about.”



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Last Revised 01-Oct-07 11:50 AM.