Freshmen settle into life on Danforth Campus

University welcomes ‘terrific group’ in Class of 2016

In August, the university welcomed a freshman class that came to WUSTL from across the United States and from 26 countries, joining an undergraduate student body with students from approximately 60 countries.

Meeting fellow students from different states, countries and backgrounds — and learning about their lives and views — has been an enlightening experience, says Claudia Diaz, a freshman from Bondurant, Iowa.

“It makes this big world seem not so big, and different countries and states seem within my reach,” Diaz says.

“My interactions with students have made me realize the diversity in culture among the people around me,” says freshman Rishabh Chandak of Kolkata, India. “One of my main motivations to come to Washington University was to experience different cultures, and my experiences have surpassed my expectations.”

Diaz and Chandak are two of the approximately 1,640 members of the Class of 2016 who arrived on campus this past August. The freshman class was selected from more than 27,000 applicants, and approximately half are female and half are male. More than 40 percent of freshmen are multicultural or international.

Julie Shimabukuro, director of admissions, calls the Class of 2016 “a terrific group of students” who are “bright, talented and already engaged in the community.”

“We were able to recruit many outstanding students to Washington University through our current students and families, who spread the word about the WUSTL experience,” Shimabukuro says. “We also had great support from the rest of the university community — our faculty, staff and alumni — who continue to refer talented students to us.”

Chandak says efforts by upperclassmen, faculty and staff to welcome the freshman class to the university community have helped make adjustment to life at WUSTL easier.

“The various activities and student groups on campus keep us busy and make us feel involved at an early stage,” says Chandak, who plans to major in biomedical engineering.

Diaz, who plans to major in business, agrees: “People are eager to help with anything and everything!”