EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University is gearing up to welcome its largest incoming class yet.
Incoming class sizes had been increasing steadily for years before the university saw a slight drop in enrollment for the fall of 2020 after classes moved online.
“I think one of the big significant points is this is going to be the first entering class in college to survive a pandemic. So this group has already displayed a high level of grit, and patience, and we're excited about them coming,” MSU Director of Admissions John Ambrose said.
The new Spartans are also part of a historic test-optional enrollment process. For the first time, MSU allowed students to submit applications without including ACT or SAT scores. Around 57 percent of applicants opted to leave test scores off their applications this year, according to Ambrose.
The university’s application process will remain test-optional for the next five years, an effort to increase accessibility, according to Ambrose and MSU’s Deputy Spokesperson Dan Olsen.
“The tests have always been designed to help predict success for students at the university. But the question really is how do universities design and think about the success of those students and not necessarily using the test as a way of keeping students out or not providing access to the universities or colleges around the country,” Ambrose said.
This year saw an increase in applications from students of color, a statistic Ambrose credits to the test-optional format. Olsen says the university is proud to be taking steps towards making higher education more accessible.
“This is another way to reinforce that commitment and that mission to provide access to high quality, world-class education at a university of the scope and scale of Michigan State,” Olsen said.
Michigan State anticipates 75 percent of the incoming class will be in-state students while the other 25 percent will come from out-of-state and from other countries, according to Ambrose. More specific data breakdowns will be available once enrollment is finalized.
Beginning this year, both first and second-year students will be required to live on campus. Welcoming such a large class will bring on-campus residence halls near capacity.