Incoming Class Strongest in College History

Ten National Merit Scholars are among Westmont’s incoming class this fall, representing – for the third year in a row – the strongest class academically in college history. First-year students will arrive on campus Aug. 21 for orientation, and classes begin Aug. 26.

The new National Merit Scholars will bring to 30 the number on campus. Additionally, 97 percent of all incoming students qualified for merit scholarships, meaning they were eligible to receive one of three Westmont scholarships based on academic excellence.

The overall grade-point average of this first-year class is 3.74, up from 3.65 in fall 2001, while the average SAT score of the freshman class is 1250, up from 1210 in 2001 and 1190 in 2000.

Westmont received a record number of applications this year for admission, and accepted about 64 percent of those who applied. Of those accepted, 39 percent – approximately 350 students – chose to come to campus. The incoming class also includes 98 students who are transferring from another college, reapplied or who are visiting for one semester, for a total incoming class of 448.

Approximately 66 percent of first-year students are from California, which is a slight increase over prior years.

Admissions Director Joyce Luy explained that Sept. 11 probably had something to do with fewer students choosing to come from farther away, a phenomenon that other colleges experienced around the country.

Even so, Westmont had an increase in students coming from states that do not typically send students, like South Dakota, Virginia, Maine and Montana. Most of Westmont’s students come from the Western states.

Westmont also for the first time will host two students from Daystar University in Kenya, Africa. They are Belinda Nsubuga and Stephen Muigai. Belinda is an English major and Stephen is a psychology major.

Westmont and Daystar have an exchange agreement and a number of Westmont students have studied in Kenya. However, this is the first time Daystar students have come to Westmont.

The college has initiated a number of projects to attract a higher-caliber student, including more outreach activities to scholars and diversity students.

Westmont also offered for the first time competitive full-tuition scholarships to students who apply under an “early action” application process.

There was a 62 percent increase in “early action” applications received last fall. Of those, the college chose 30 young men and women, nine of them diversity students, to come to campus for Scholars Day, during which they were interviewed by faculty and staff and wrote essays in a competition for the full-tuition scholarships. Four students were offered the scholarships, and two accepted.

Fifty students will be invited to compete next spring for full-tuition scholarships for fall 2003.

For more information about Westmont and its incoming class, contact Luy at (805) 565-6200, or e-mail july@westmont.edu.