Following the typical lull brought about by the summer months, the lively Friartown atmosphere that we all know and love is back at Providence College. The Class of 2023 is settled into off-campus housing, much of the Class of 2024 is traveling the world while abroad, the Class of 2025 has claimed Aquinas lawn, and the Class of 2026, well, they’ve arrived! This special freshman class has completed their very first week of college classes, and the Friar Family could not be happier to continue welcoming them to their new home away from home. To gain a better understanding of just how special this class truly is, I spoke with PC’s Associate Vice President & Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, Mr. Raul Fonts.
One common theme guided our chat: The Class of 2026 is the largest and most academically competitive class ever to enter the PC community. In the early stages of planning for the Class of 2026, the College set a goal of enrolling 1,100 students. That goal was exceeded. The freshman class consists of 1,165 new students. Essentially, when discussing the size of the class, Mr. Fonts stated, “More students chose us than we expected.” However, this is something the College couldn’t be more excited about. Of these 1,165 students, 56% are female and 44% are male.
Additionally, Mr. Fonts described the freshman class as a “talented group,” which is undoubtedly reflected by their average high school GPA: 3.61 on an unweighted 4.0 scale. On the topic of high school, 57% of these students hail from public schools, 32% from religious schools, 9% from independent schools, and 2% from charter schools. Here at PC, 39% of the class will study business, 23% are in the liberal arts, 20% remain undeclared, 15% enter fields of study in science, math, and engineering, and 3% will study education.
Not only does the Class of 2026 come from all different types of schools, but they also come from all different places across the United States and beyond. Specifically, the class represents 34 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and 15 countries.
While Friartown is ecstatic about the Class of 2026, Mr. Fonts mentioned that we must recognize diversity with a sense of transparency, as the College was “a bit disappointed” when it came to this. PC was hoping for a class made up of at least 20% students of color. Although close, the goal was not met, as the Class of 2026 is 17% nonwhite. Nevertheless, the College remains committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive environment during every admissions cycle.
Finally, it is important to acknowledge that the Class of 2026 is not the only group of new students at PC this Fall. The College could not be happier to welcome 71 transfer students; in a typical year, around 50 students transfer to PC. These students hail mostly from New England, though they come from 11 states and 2 countries in total. 66 of these students come to PC from 4-year institutions, while 5 come from community colleges. At their previous institutions, these students maintained an average GPA of 3.36. Of these 71 students, 31 are female and 40 are male.
In conclusion, between the Class of 2026 and transfer students, Friartown welcomes 1,231 new students to campus this Fall. These students moved in on Aug. 25 and completed orientation programming throughout their first two weekends on campus. They began classes on Aug. 29 with the rest of the campus community, and since, Friartown has been as lively as ever.