A Year of Superlatives

The Class of 2016 is one for the record, from SAT scores and the acceptance rate to the cachet of a Grammy nomination

The Tufts undergraduate Class of 2016 arrives on the Medford/Somerville campus on the heels of the spectacular summer Olympics in London. In 1994, the year most students in the class were born, the Games were also played—in the winter, in Lillehammer, Norway.

Then, Americans were talking about speed skater Bonnie Blair, who became the first woman to win three consecutive titles in the 500-meter, and figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who took home a silver medal despite the notorious attack on her knee just a month earlier by friends of rival Tonya Harding.

In the years since, the 1,310 young people who have now come together to form the Class of ’16 for the schools of Arts, Sciences and Engineering have been accumulating some significant accomplishments of their own. Here’s a look at the newest batch of Jumbos, by the numbers:

1427: Combined average SAT score (critical reading and math), the highest for an incoming class.  

21: Percentage of the 16,379 applicants for spots in the Class of ’16 who were accepted, the lowest rate in Tufts’ history.

37.4: Percentage of accepted students who enrolled at Tufts, the highest yield in university history.

2,768: Number of applicants to the School of Engineering, a record high for the sixth year in a row.

36: Percentage of women among incoming engineering students, another record high.

9.7: Percentage of the class who are foreign citizens, yet another—you guessed it—record high.

32: Number of students from China, the largest international contingent and the largest group of freshmen from that country to matriculate at Tufts (followed by students from South Korea, India and Hong Kong). This year, the combined number of international applicants eclipsed that of applicants from Massachusetts, historically the largest applicant group.

6: Number of students in the class from Africa, representing five countries.

46: Number of states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, represented by the freshman class. (For the first time in six years, Alaska is included: there are four Alaskans in the class.)

11: Percentage of students in the class who are among the first generation in their families to go to college, an increase from 9 percent in the Class of 2015.

73 & 44: Number of valedictorians and salutatorians in the class, respectively.

58: Number of National Merit Scholars.

91: Percentage of students who ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class, another all-time high.

1: Number of incoming students who have been nominated for a Grammy (Best New Artist, 2010). Also, the number of students who captured the Bulgarian National Youth Tennis Championship, are nationally ranked Scrabble players, have won on TV’s Wheel of Fortune, will have an invention tested on the International Space Station and were named to ESPN’s Players to Watch list.

Incalculable: The wealth of materials students included in their applications: in addition to the traditional written, audio and video works, this year’s class submitted computer code, digital arts portfolios, diagrams of inventions, architectural renderings of buildings and slam poetry.

Helene Ragovin can be reached at helene.ragovin@tufts.edu.

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