Freshman class sets high expectations


 Florida A&M’s 2010 incoming class is the largest in university history with 13,355 students enrolled.  Of those who applied, only 58 percent were admitted.In the classroom this year’s students have shown a different demeanor than previous classes. 

 “This year’s class is a little more attentive, they participate a little more,” said William Hudson, interim vice president of student affairs. “They’re more engaged in the classroom than some of the previous classes that have been around.”

 Enrollment numbers show that 78 percent of the freshmen class is from Florida.  With an 19 average on the ACT scores are higher than previous years. The majority of the incoming class has majors in arts and sciences. Students are migrating from cities such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Jacksonville and Tampa.  

 Hudson said the increase in student enrollment can be attributed to President Ammons and the leadership team’s recruitment endeavors. 

 “Dr. Ammons has made a focus of recruitment, retention, progression and graduation to the students,” Hudson said. 

 To help accommodate such a large number of students, faculty and staff have embarked on endeavors in making adjustments into college easier. 

 “We’ve had to bring on additional adjunct instructors because we have 1,000 more students than we had last year,” said Provost Cynthia Hughes-Harris. “We’ve also reinforced the support system for entering college students letting them know and reminding all of them of what they had to do to be successful.”

 For some freshmen, transitioning from home to college has been easier than for others. 

 “It hasn’t been really strange for me because I did go away to another state my junior year of high school,” said Kerry McPhearson, 18, music education student from Atlanta. “It feels normal to me.”

 Hughes-Harris said that there are discussions on bettering accommodations to future freshmen classes.

 “The Sampson and Young men’s dorms are in the process of being renovated and they should be open next 2011,” Hughes-Harris said. “Another plan that’s on the way is the building known as Polkinghorne Village, but there is an entire new complex that’s going to be built on that site. So in the following year, there will be an additional 800 or so beds in that facility.”

 Some state legislatures may discourage universities from focusing so much on out-of-state recruitment. Hudson said out-of-state recruitment initiatives are still being implied with are being conducted differently. 

 “One of the things that we’re doing differently is we’re informing students of how expensive it is for out of state and we’re letting them make those decisions,” said Hudson. “If you’re a student who may not have the financial aptitude or capability to afford to be an out- of- state student, then we (are) also offering alternatives maybe staying home for two years and transferring with your AA.”