This year’s freshman class at the University of Arizona is larger than ever and more interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, officials say.
More than 7,400 students started their freshman year at UA this week, about 1,500 more than the freshman class of 2004, said Kasey Urquidez, assistant vice president of student affairs at UA.
“We are seeing less students choose ‘undecided’ as a major," Urquidez said. "They’re coming in with an idea of what they want to do, not to say they don’t change their minds later."
This class has more students choosing careers in the S.T.E.M. fields -- science, technology, engineering and math, she said.
“Those majors have grown, and we are excited about the growth we are seeing because as a nation and a state we need to see growth in those fields,” Urquidez said.
Recruitment of students is a main priority for the UA, she said, especially in the last few years, when the economic downturn has affected families across the country.
“Nationally a lot of schools have struggled to bring more students in, and we are working hard at getting those students in, but they’re also finding us knowing that the University of Arizona is a good place to be,” she said.
This year, 61 percent of incoming freshmen are in-state students, and 39 percent are out of state or international students.
California continues to send the most out-of-state students to the university, but Urquidez said students from the Pacific Northwest are coming in greater numbers.
The highest number of international students comes from China, but the UA “is making a lot of ground in Middle Eastern countries and Latin America,” Urquidez said.