Class of 2020 begin their Davidson experience

Laura Dunnagan – The Davidson community welcomes 522 new first-year students as the Class of 2020 begins its first year. This class has nine more members than the Class of 2019, making it the largest class ever admitted to the college.

This increase in admitted students follows an initiative by school administration to augment the overall student population at Davidson. Over the past few years, to accommodate the growing population, the college constructed a new residence building, Chidsey Hall, and the newlyopened Wall Academic Center.

The Admissions Office reports that they received 5,620 applications for this academic year, 200 more than they received the previous year. Despite the increase in enrollment, the college’s acceptance rate decreased by more than two percent.

The increase in overall applications received could be a sign of Davidson’s growing national presence as one of the nation’s leading institutions of higher education. In July, Forbes announced that Davidson ranked twenty-fifth on their list of America’s Best Colleges, and Davidson attained the first spot on the Top Colleges in the South list.

Davidson has also partnered with nonprofit organizations, such as QuestBridge and the Posse Foundation, to provide higher education opportunities for more diverse students.

Davidson has been a QuestBridge partner school since enrolling the Class of 2017. Quest- Bridge is a nonprofit organization that matches high-achieving, low-income students with institutions of higher education. Ten students in the Class of 2020 matched with Davidson through the program.

The Posse Foundation identifies high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds who may be overlooked by the traditional college selection process. Each year, the Posse Foundation sends groups of ten students to several of its partner schools. Davidson began partnering with the Posse Foundation last year with the Class of 2019.

President Carol Quillen comments that this new class joins Davidson at an important moment in the college’s history. “Building on Davidson’s longstanding tradition of innovation, collaboration and original student work, our faculty and staff are working every day to lead in re-imagining the liberal arts for the 21st century, so that our graduates are prepared for the interconnected, rapidly evolving world they will enter,” says Quillen. “The class of 2020 arrives at Davidson at a particularly crucial time.”

Maribel Hernandez, a member of the Class of 2020, says she chose Davidson after attending July Experience. “I liked the rigor. I was stressed for most of the program, but the professors were really cool and I loved the environment.” Other students surveyed say they were attracted to the studious and supportive academic environment.

First-year student Eddie Garcia Alamilla says he chose Davidson in part because of the strong alumni support. “The connections we get here will be really important in the future, because a lot of people, after they graduate, are really involved. I’m looking forward to being a part of that connection,” commented Garcia Alamilla.

The first-years surveyed were excited to see how their college years will unfold, but they mentioned being nervous about grades, getting enough sleep, and misplacing their cat cards. They say their first few weeks have been positive, but they have encountered minor disappointments– like the brief period during which the Davis Cafe in Union does not serve quesadillas. Though they’ve been figuring out the key aspects of campus culture, most freshmen surveyed had a common question: what is Frolics?

As reported by the Class of 2020 Profile via the Offices of Admission and Financial Aid, the Class of 2020 includes students from 43 states and 22 countries, most of whom attended high schools

in the Southeast. Of those who reported, 85% of accepted students were in the top 10% of their high school class. 14% of the class received scholarships, and 10.3% received athletic aid. The ACT middle 50% for accepted students was 30- 34.

“I am excited to welcome the Class of 2020 to Davidson,” says President Quillen. “We- returning students, alumni, and faculty and staff- are eager to share what makes Davidson special and to learn from those now joining our community.”