The class of 2025 is the largest class in NC State’s history, which may have been a result of factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic, like optional standardized test scores in the application process.

The class of 2025 shows an increased percentage of women, minorities and first-generation college students compared to the class of 2024. The incoming class also includes more students from Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties, which is based on a ranking of economic distress; Tier 1 counties have the lowest economic well-being.

“The number of underrepresented students in the freshmen class increased by about 13% over last year,” said Jon Westover, the director of admissions. “28% of our incoming freshmen class identifies as a race other than white. 17% are first-generation college students, which is the highest it’s been in the last four or five years.” 

According to Westover, the Admissions Office received a record breaking number of first-year applications last spring.

“The incoming class total is over 5,000, which is the largest freshman class in the history of the institution,” Westover said. “32,900 applied as high school seniors, coming in as freshmen. We accepted a little over 15,600 applicants, or about 47%.” 

The high number of applicants may be credited to students not having to submit ACT or SAT scores, Westover said, as only 52% of applicants chose to submit their test scores. Other factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic may also have influenced the high number of applicants.

“Whether a student chooses to submit test scores or not, we would not use the scores to negatively impact the student and the application review process,” Westover said. “The educational environment was so disjointed last year; we didn’t know what kind of support [applicants] were getting within their high schools.”

Ronnie Chalmers, the director of strategic initiatives at the admissions office, also credits the large number of applicants to the absence of the test scores requirement. According to Chalmers, many potential applicants likely saw NC State’s average test score as a barrier. 

“Here at NC State, we have a model where test scores are a factor of many other factors, and [applicants] don’t understand that; they just see that number and they think it’s a minimum requirement,” Chalmers said. “I think this year’s class included students that would not have applied in the past because the system required test scores. Even if test scores are required next year, we are hoping that similar students will still be interested.”

According to Chalmers, the admissions office more thoroughly reviewed applicants’ extracurricular activities and leadership positions during their freshman and sophomore years of high school due to the limited opportunities of their junior and senior years.

“Students had many different experiences during COVID-19, so we had to look deeper into what their path was prior to COVID-19, but also look at what they experienced,” Chalmers said. “We had this incredible factor that changed many of our student’s lives. Many of them couldn’t participate in their clubs and organizations and things like that. Without having some of those experiences within your junior and senior year, it can change the college process.”

More statistics for the class of 2025 can be found here.