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UC Celebrates Its Most Academically Talented Freshman Class

UC also reports increasing numbers of freshmen who graduated from Cincinnati Public Schools.

Date: 9/16/2008 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Andrew Higley

UC ingot  

The University of Cincinnati is celebrating its most academically prepared freshman class on the Uptown Campus, a result of admissions standards that are reflecting the success of UC’s growing retention and graduation rates as part of the UC|21 Strategic Plan.


Early Admissions figures indicate that freshmen entering UC’s baccalaureate colleges on the Uptown Campus hold an average ACT test score of 24.8, significantly higher than last year’s average of 24.1 and also higher than the national average ACT test score of 21.1. SAT test scores are up to 1125 this fall, compared with an average of 1109 last fall.  Among them are

  • 14 Cincinnatus $80,000 full-ride scholarship recipients
  • 897 Cincinnatus total scholarship recipients
  • 44 National Merit Scholars, a record for incoming freshmen
  • 29 recipients of UC’s Darwin T. Turner scholarship program
  • 30 Demakes Legacy Scholars
  • 67 valedictorians
  • 19 salutatorians

UC first put minimum admissions standards into place with the incoming 2006 freshman class as well as the requirement of a short essay on the students’ college application. The standards, developed from an analysis of student performance and retention, reflect a nationwide trend of raising admissions standards to build on success toward retention and graduation. Many of UC’s selective academic programs have higher admissions criteria. For 2008 freshmen to be admitted to a baccalaureate program on the Uptown Campus, they were required to have

  • A 2.6 high school GPA
  • An ACT test score of 21
  • A top 65 percent class rank (if there was no class ranking, such as home-schooled students, an ACT test score of 22 was required)

In addition, UC’s partnerships in building a K-16 pipeline to successful college graduation and successful careers is reflected in the growing number of graduates representing Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), many of whom participated in the dual enrollment program. As CPS reports a district-wide graduation rate of 82 percent, a 31 percentage-point gain since 2000, UC is expecting more than 330 incoming freshmen who graduated from CPS, up from 268 last fall. Seventy-eight of the incoming freshmen graduated from Walnut Hills High School.

As UC|21 strategies also emphasize maintaining clear pathways for students seeking opportunity, UC has delegated a financial aid staff member to specifically work with students in Cincinnati Public Schools and to advise them about the financial aid process. UC provided 149 Cincinnati Pride Grants to 2008 graduates of Cincinnati Public Schools which, in combination with federal, state and institutional aid, provides full tuition and a book allowance for qualifying CPS grads, with priority given to students who demonstrate the greatest financial need for the grant. The grants are automatically renewed for up to four years, provided the student maintains federal guidelines for academic success, continues full-time enrollment for autumn, winter and spring quarters through graduation and remains in good standing with his or her academic program.

In preparation for next fall, Thomas Canepa, associate vice president for UC Admissions, says the crowds keep coming for campus tours amid UC’s successful marketing campaign and the word-of-mouth praise of UC’s high-quality programs and the transformation of campus. “We’ve had 6,500 students visit campus over the past year. We’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response and I’m convinced that these visitors are telling their friends, ‘You have to see UC,’” Canepa says.

UC Convocation, the formal induction ceremony for incoming freshmen, will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 21, in Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center.

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