U-M welcomes 'exceptional' Class of 2012
Poring over 30,000 applications to find the best candidates for the incoming class may seem a daunting task, but Ted Spencer, who leads the admissions team that every year must narrow that increasing number, also considers it one of his greatest rewards.
At New Student Convocation, Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of Undergraduate Admissions, said the 6,000 students who make up this year's incoming class are "from one of the most well-qualified pool of applicants we have ever had."
"The Class of 2012 is truly outstanding, because its members have accomplished so much during their high school years," Spencer said as he addressed the incoming freshmen Aug. 28 at Crisler Arena. "This year's entering class will perform well at Michigan because it consists of students who are exceptional in both academic and extra curricular endeavors, and who I feel will contribute to the vitality of the University of Michigan."
Among notable achievements for the incoming freshmen, 15 students attained a perfect score of 1600 on the SAT and 286 students achieved perfect scores of 36 on at least one section of the ACT. The average high school grade-point average for the entire entering class is 3.80; 1,445 members achieved a perfect 4.0, Spencer said.
During the annual event to welcome and celebrate the incoming class, President Mary Sue Coleman urged students to challenge their professors and consider new ideas.
"We are constantly in pursuit of new knowledge here, and you are expected to contribute to that quest," Coleman said.
"Ours is a great university for many reasons: our faculty are among the best in the world, our research and medical care change lives, and our students are committed to their education and engaged with the world around them. It is now your turn to continue this tradition and get involved in your university."
To illustrate the tapestry of talented students enrolled at U-M, Teresa Sullivan, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, pointed to the winning solar car team, which is comprised of 100 students from multiple disciplines. More impressive, she said, was their determination to continue in the face of adversity.
Finishing seventh in the 2007 World Solar Challenge after a car crash early in the race set the team back, the undaunted members rose to the challenge again to compete in the North American Solar Car Challenge earlier this summer, where they took first place.
"This story of the solar car team exemplifies the experience of students across the campus," said Sullivan, who also is professor of sociology. "Whether your interest is the music of China, math education in struggling schools or life science informatics, Michigan has faculty experts, stimulating courses, and active student organizations through which you can expand your knowledge. The breadth and depth of this great research university offer you unlimited opportunities to learn and grow."
As students orient themselves with U-M, Sullivan encouraged them to get to know faculty members, join student organizations, make new friends, and enjoy the rich intellectual and cultural climate of the campus. "We welcome you to the University and we look forward to working with you as you go about the business of becoming who you want to be."
Spencer said the students often wrote in their essays about how and why diversity was an important factor in their final college choice, "confirming that your values resonate with our campus values."
Further evidence of this class's diversity is illustrated with incoming students from 1,667 different high schools. Also, women comprise almost 51 percent of the entering class of students that hail from all 50 states and 72 countries. They join a student body that represents more than 100 countries from around the globe. More than 13 percent of this year's class are from a socio-economically disadvantaged background, a single parent home or are the first generation to attend college.
"Most importantly, you are going to learn as much from your fellow students as from your professors," Coleman said. "One of the reasons you are part of this university is because of what you can offer your peers, and the diversity of cultures, beliefs and interests of our student body is limitless."