On August 30, the class of 2021 started their semester at the University. With a total of 1,734 students on campus, 448 of which form the class of 2021, the campus was bursting with excitement and anticipation on the first day. This class is the first group of students on campus who belong to Generation Z, characterized as a self-aware and goal-oriented generation. Known as the digital natives, they’ve never known life without a digital device in their hands.
The class, in keeping with previous Sewanee classes, is 47.6 percent male and 52.4 percent female. This class is a little smaller than the class of 2020, with 448 first-year students and 17 transfer students. Tennessee, once again, had the most students attend the University, with 97 enrolled. Following the large Tennessee enrollment were the states of Georgia, Texas, and Virginia.
In keeping with Sewanee tradition of alumni always coming back, 27 percent of the class are legacies. 51 percent of the students were from private school, 48 percent from public school, and 1 percent were home schooled, providing a diverse group of educational backgrounds. Thanks to the Sewanee admissions process, 19 percent of students applied test-optional, meaning they did not have to submit the ACT or SAT.
This is the most diverse first year class at Sewanee. This diversity includes racial diversity, differing socioeconomic backgrounds, first generation college students, and many more attributing factors.
This class is also the first class of fellowship in the arts participants. Students were encouraged to apply for a fellowship in theatre, music, or art during their application process. The application provided a set of prompts for the students to elaborate about their involvement with the arts and the continuation of this at Sewanee. After the admissions office received the applications, the faculty chose the fellows for this year. The faculty decided upon 20 fellows, with 11 in theatre and dance, six in music, and three in art and art history.
The new fellows program is a push by the university to focus on strengthening the arts programs on campus. The fellows are not required to major in the subject under which they applied, but are expected to be involved with the area of study.
With the new fellows program and sharp focus on diversity throughout the campus, the University is making necessary steps towards being inclusive towards all who want to attend. Although this year may be full of clashes between Generation Z and Millennials, the numbers show the hard work executed throughout the year by the admissions office.