SRU welcomes Class of 2022: Great in number, greater in strength


The class of 2022 make their way across campus to convocation

Slippery Rock University is expecting a freshman class of 1,580 students when the fall semester begins Aug. 27.

Aug. 24, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - There's no Catch-22 for the Class of '22 at Slippery Rock University; the incoming freshman class is both high in quantity and quality.

SRU is expecting a freshman class of 1,580 students when fall semester classes begin Aug. 27, and although the number may not exceed last year's school-record freshman class of 1,597, SRU officials are thrilled with the types of students arriving.

The average high school grade-point average of incoming freshmen at SRU is 3.44 and their average SAT score is 1,103, both higher than last year's class.

"We are excited about the quality and diversity of the freshman class," said Amanda Yale, associate provost for enrollment management. "The quality is evident in the increases of SAT scores and high school GPAs of this class, which means they are well prepared academically for the college experience."

More than half of the incoming freshmen have high school GPAs of 3.0 or higher, and there are 60 more students with high school GPAs of 3.5 or higher and 45 more students with at least 1,100 SAT scores compared to last year's class. Sixteen states and eight countries are represented in the 2018 freshman class. A total of 810 merit or need-based academic scholarships of $1,000 or more were offered to incoming freshmen.

"We are thankful for all of the faculty, staff and upper-division students who have helped us to recruit this freshman class," Yale said. "Students choose SRU for a variety of reasons, including the quality of our academic programs, the value and affordability, our location and the overall quality of the student experience. But what we hear most about what our prospective students and their families value is caring about the student's success in and out of the classroom."

Three incoming freshmen say the reasons they choose SRU are those mentioned by Yale, but also positive interactions with faculty, staff, alumni and current students that helped them decide that SRU was right fit for them.

Maya Smallwood



Smallwood, a computer science major from Pittsburgh, visited SRU six times including twice with members of her college preparatory school, The Neighborhood Academy. Smallwood, who was diagnosed with dyslexia three years ago, said she was attracted to SRU by the services offered by the University's Office of Disability Services, as well as one-on-one conversations with professors in the computer science department during Open House events.

Smallwood developed an interest in computers, particularly video game design, at a young age. She was born premature and doctors suggested she use video games to improve her eye coordination. It helped that her mother was a computer technician in the U.S. Army.

"I just started to play video games a lot and I want to make my own video game," said Smallwood, who recently attended a five-week computer programming camp called Beta Builders.

Smallwood said she is most looking forward to getting to know students from different backgrounds.

Emma Yoder



Yoder, a mathematics major from Marietta, Georgia, could represent two states, as she grew up in Ada, Michigan, where she played soccer at Forest Hills Central High School. She was recruited by Mark Sappington, SRU assistant women's soccer coach, at a soccer camp in Michigan and when she visited campus she knew it was the place for her.

"I love the soccer program and there's a great atmosphere here, not only on the women's soccer team but throughout the entire campus," Yoder said. "The people here are just so friendly and the campus is beautiful. As soon as I toured the campus and met the players I knew this was the place for me."

An aspiring math teacher, Yoder is on an athletic scholarship but she also has an SRU Merit Scholarship, for which freshmen with at least a 3.5 high school GPA and a qualifying score for a college entrance exam are eligible.

Joey Sciuto



Between his Merit Scholarship and a scholarship as an Honors College student, Sciuto has a combined $3,500 covered by SRU scholarships, not including external scholarships from sources like the Pittsburgh Foundation.

A social work major from New Wilmington, Sciuto was attracted to SRU after receiving recommendations from social work professionals in the area, as well as a current SRU student who he works with at a restaurant near his hometown. Sciuto, who wants to work as a human services counselor, already has an internship lined up for next year in Lawrence County's Department of Mental Health and Development Services after making connections while interviewing for and receiving the Jack Butz Humanitarian Scholarship.

Sciuto is one of 152 Honors College students in the freshman class, and when he attended an Honors Day event last spring for prospective students, he was moved by a presentation from John Rindy, SRU's director of career education and development.

"(John) was so excited about what he does and he got me excited about not only enjoying college but also looking forward to that next step in my career," Sciuto said. "That hit home for me, that this is a fun time when you start to piece your life together and figure out what you really want to do. I'm a little nervous but very excited."

SRU's location, about a 30-minute drive from his home, is also appealing to Sciuto and many other freshmen who hail from western Pennsylvania. Eighty-eight percent of incoming SRU freshmen are from Pennsylvania, including 77 percent from counties in western Pennsylvania, but the University is still attractive to out-of-state students.

"We are pleased with the increased interest in an SRU education from those in our backyard of western Pennsylvania," said Michael May, director of undergraduate admissions. "We are also excited to welcome new students from as far away as Texas, Florida, Maine and Michigan."

Wherever they are coming from and whoever they talked to, members of SRU's Class of 2022 have reached one of the most important transitions in their lives, and there's no other place they'd rather be.

"I'm really excited to come to a whole new environment and experience a whole new chapter in my life," Smallwood said.

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