WOOSTER, Ohio – The Class of 2023 is continuing a trend at The College of Wooster, one that is both breaking records for the admissions office and transforming the school into a global community, as 40 percent of the new students who moved into the Wooster community are either international students or U.S. students of color. That marks the third consecutive year the incoming class has hovered around the 40 percent mark for multicultural diversity, establishing an exciting new norm at Wooster.
All told, 565 new students (553 first-years, plus 12 transfers) were welcomed “home” this past weekend, a group that Scott Friedhoff, Wooster’s vice president for enrollment and college relations, calls “powerful,” “impressive,” and “humbling.” The class began from more than 6,400 applicants, a record for the College.
The Class of 2023 features 110 international students, marking the second consecutive year 20 percent of the incoming class comes from a country outside the U.S., and remarkably, those students represent 41 countries, including as far away as Singapore, Vietnam, Mongolia, Peru, and Zimbabwe. That ups the total number of countries represented to 62 among the 2,000-member student body, giving the campus a truly global feel.
Among domestic students, 35 states are represented (there were applicants from 49), with Ohio being the most popular at 28 percent of the first-year class, while 28 percent is also the number in the class who are first-generation, making for another interesting development among Wooster’s demographics.
Wooster is well on its way to its bona fide goal of having a student population that hits all types of diversity—racial, ethnic, geographic, socio-economic, and religious—and it’s a goal with sound reasoning, as studies have repeatedly shown that diversity and excellency go hand-in-hand. “There is terrific value in understanding other cultures. Research tells us that individuals who spend time with those from different backgrounds are more creative and more innovative. As the most internationalized college in Ohio, all of our students have terrific opportunities to learn invaluable lessons from each other,” noted Friedhoff.
Equally noteworthy is the Class of 2023’s academic talent. More than one-third of the class ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating high school classes, with nearly two dozen being valedictorians, and many of the new students bring unique combinations of skills with them. A woman from Ghana founded a robotics club during her gap year and also started a photography foundation that draws attention to deprived communities in her home country, while a young man from Virginia raised oysters to release in the Chesapeake Bay to help improve the water quality there and also served as captain of his high school baseball and basketball teams. One of their classmates finished second in a national juggling competition in the Czech Republic, established his school’s Latin Club, and is also a credited television actor, while another from nearby Canton, Ohio, writes murder mysteries set in the 1920s-40s, having done extensive research on the era’s dialect, fashion, and culture, and she plays the violin.
The talent seems limitless from this first-year class, one that will certainly make Wooster a richer, more fulfilling place to be the next four years.