Washington and Lee University welcomed its Class of 2017 on Saturday, Aug. 31, when the 480 new students checked in and began four days of orientation prior to the start of classes on Wednesday, Sept. 4.
This will be the 265th year of undergraduate instruction at W&L.
"These are exceptional young men and women who bring a diverse set of interests and talents that will enrich the campus," said William Hartog, dean of admissions and financial aid. "Not only do they possess outstanding academic credentials by all the measures, but they also have excelled in a wide variety of activities beyond the classroom. We are excited to see all that they will achieve during their four years here."
The students come from as nearby as Rockbridge County High School, which has four students in the class, and as far away as Shanghai, China, which is home to three of the entering students.
Members of the class come from 40 states and the District of Columbia and 18 foreign countries. The top states are Virginia with 60 students, followed by North Carolina (38), Texas (31), New Jersey (24), Florida (24), New York (24), Georgia (23), and California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania with 20 each.
There are 383 different secondary schools represented, divided evenly between public and private.
W&L selected the Class of 2017 from a pool of 6,222 applicants. The University offered 18 percent of those applicants a place in this year's class.
In terms of their academic credentials, the average SAT score is just under 1390 on critical reading and math sections, and the average ACT composite score is 31. There are 21 National Merit finalists and scholars in the class, while 31 were either valedictorians or salutatorians of their respective high school classes.
In addition, 138 served as presidents of major student organizations, 229 were varsity team captains, 321 belonged to the National Honor Society or the Cum Laude Society, and more than half reported performing 100 hours or more of community service.
Almost half of the class (47 percent) has received more than $9.1 million in grant assistance from the University; the average grant for students receiving an institutional award is $39,950. That group includes 40 recipients of a Johnson Scholarship. This is the sixth class of Johnson Scholars to enroll at W&L since the University received the $100 million gift that established the Johnson Program in Leadership and Integrity. The scholarship recognizes students with exceptional leadership potential, personal promise and academic achievement regardless of their ability to afford tuition and other expenses.
Children of W&L alumni compose 7 percent of the class. More than 19 percent of the class are members of American ethnic or racial minorities, first-generation college students or recipients of Pell Grants.
The orientation program features a variety of mandatory and voluntary sessions that help students become acquainted with the University. In addition to meetings with resident advisers and with faculty advisers, students attend a mandatory, student-led session on the Honor System, which is a central feature of the University, and learn about W&L’s emphasis on student self-governance.
W&L will formally launch the academic year with the Fall Convocation on Thursday, Sept. 5, when W&L alumna Alston Parker Watt, executive director of The Williams Family Foundation of Georgia, presents the convocation address.