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News Release

July 24, 2006

Smith College to Welcome Record Number of First-Generation College Students

Editor’s note: For profiles of some of these talented entering students, go to

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.— When the class of first-year students arrives at Smith College next month, nearly one in four – a record 22 percent – will come from families in which neither parent has earned a bachelor’s degree.

This year, Smith received a historic number of first-year student applications – 3,427 – and enrolled 686. Of those, 150 of are first-generation college students. Smith guarantees to meet the full financial need, as determined by the college, for all the admitted students.

“The value of a college education cannot be overstated,” said Debra Shaver, director of admission. “When Sophia Smith founded the college, she recognized the tremendous impact it would have on women’s lives, including on their finances. More than a century later, Smith continues to provide the finest liberal arts education for women of diverse backgrounds.”

This is the second consecutive year Smith has received a historic number of applications, according to the Office of Admission. This year’s slight bump in applications for the class of 2010 follows last year’s 14 percent increase.

Although statistics cannot describe the vibrant, intelligent and talented women who are about to enter Smith, here are a few numbers that provide a glimpse of the incoming first-year students:

• Thirty percent of the class identifies as a student of color. The ethnic breakdown: 13 percent Asian American; 8 percent Latina; 8 percent African American; and 1 percent multiracial.

• Of the students whose high schools report class rank, 60 percent are in the top 10 percent of their classes. They graduated from 586 different high schools.

• The top five areas of study in which they indicate interest are English language and literature, biological sciences, psychology and engineering (same percentage), and government.

• U.S. students hail from 43 states and the top five states of origin are Massachusetts, New York, California, Connecticut and New Jersey.

• International students represent 31 countries and make up about 7 percent of the first-year class. The top two countries of origin are South Korea and China.

• Nine percent (60) of the students have a sister, mother or grandmother who is a Smith alumna.

In addition to those new undergraduates, 66 Ada Comstock Scholars—or students of nontraditional age—culled from 178 applicants, and 68 transfer students, culled from 258 applicants, will increase the size of the entering class to 820.

Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,600 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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