SRU welcomes new students and the Class of 2024


Old Main

Slippery Rock University welcomed 1,486 freshmen, 541 transfers and 480 graduate students who began taking their first classes at SRU Aug. 17.

Aug. 26, 2020

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University has welcomed new students and members of its Class of 2024 with open arms, despite students being physically distanced from faculty and staff both on and off campus. More than 2,500 freshmen, transfer students and graduate students began fall-semester classes Aug. 17. And while approximately 80% of the SRU's classes this fall are online, the institutions' COVID-19 safety measures haven't prevented students from feeling like they are part of their new campus.

Brandi Marlin


"I've found that all my professors really care about their students; it feels like a virtual hug the way they're making us feel at home while online, even being across the state like I am," said Brandi Marlin, a sophomore exercise science major from Hatfield. "I want to be in touch with my professors, and I want to be heavily involved (...) (and when I was looking at colleges to attend) SRU was the place where I felt most at home."

Because all of Marlin's classes are online this fall, she chose to live at home, but that hasn't tempered her enthusiasm for being part of the SRU community.

"When I visited the University, I just felt like it was a place where I could find myself and find my community of people who could support me through the next few years," she said. "For me, I'm the type of student that I know I'll be OK with online classes. I plan to be on campus next year and this semester is only going to diversify my experiences, my skill sets and who I am. I'm going to be better at working with technology, staying focused and managing my time by working around classes and life at home. I think of it as an experience that is going to help me in ways that I cannot see yet."

"First-year college students always face uncertainties as they make a transition in their lives, but doing so this year during a global pandemic presents tremendous challenges," said Amanda Yale, SRU chief enrollment management officer. "We are incredibly grateful for our new students who are embracing this important step. We welcome the Class of 2024 and, even though there continues to be challenges with physical distancing and other safety measures, we are all stronger together as a campus community that is focused on student success."

Marlin was one of 2,027 new undergraduate students (1,486 freshmen, 541 transfers) who started classes at SRU last week. Although the freshmen total is slightly decreased from the first week of class last year, SRU experienced a 6% growth in transfers and a 5.4% increase of new graduate students (480), the latter contributing to SRU's now record number of 1,453 graduate students.

Already considered a college sophomore, Marlin took college credit classes from Montgomery County Community College last year as a senior at North Penn High School. She plans to become an occupational therapist via SRU's 3+3 exercise science/pre-occupational therapy program in which she can graduate in three years and apply for OT school at SRU, thereby earning a doctoral degree in six years instead of seven.

Marlin, who had a 3.98 GPA in high school and ranked in the top 10% of her graduating class, is also an example of the high-quality students enrolling at SRU. More than 85% of first-year students at SRU had a high school GPA greater than 3.0, compared to 83.5% last year. About 39% were ranked in the top 25% of their high school class, compared to 36% in 2019.

Also compared to 2019's first-year class, there are increases this year in students, like Marlin, from eastern Pennsylvania and there are 30% more students from out of state. Additionally, the first-year students from underrepresented ethnicities (251) increased by 41 students this year

"The diverse, quality students who continue to enroll at SRU is encouraging, as well as the representation of more out-of-state students," Yale said. "In addition to our increases in graduate students, this shows the range in the programs and attributes that SRU has to offer, and that we are a university of choice in the region."

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |