Freshman class settles into campus life

The Class of 2011 traveled across town and across oceans to attend Washington University. Approximately 1,340 first-year students from all over the world — 20 countries, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — joined the campus community in August.

Jason Woods, Ph.D. (second from right), senior research scientist in the Department of Physics and assistant dean in Arts & Sciences, leads a group discussion as part of the Freshman Reading Program, one of the first University activities in which the Class of 2011 participated.

The diversity of the freshman class has impressed Lauren Barth, a first-year student and Danforth Scholar from Chattanooga, Tenn. “I’ve met people from California and Connecticut, and they’re some of my best friends here,” Barth said.

“I’ve met several people from Turkey. I’m around a lot of people not only from the Midwest, but also from the Northeast, West — areas to which I’ve never been and from which I’ve never met anyone.”

The first-year students were chosen from more than 22,000 applicants and are approximately 50 percent male and 50 percent female.

“The decisions this year were the most challenging in the University’s history, given the overall number of applicants and the size of the freshman class,” said Nanette Tarbouni, director of undergraduate admissions.

Now, in mid-October, first-year students have already become a vital part of the University and local communities by joining student organizations, learning and working with professors and participating in service projects.

“It’s been easy to meet people and get to know everyone I’ve met,” Barth said. “Everyone seems to sense the importance of building the community.”

Tarbouni also noticed how easily the freshman class has settled into campus. “We can’t wait for them to become our new tour guides!” she said.