September 18, 2017 | Matt Kucinski

The incoming class officially kicked off the academic year on August 30, 2017, with a formal Convocation ceremony.

Calvin’s 2017 incoming cohort of 965 students (889 first-time, 76 transfer), combined with its very strong retention rate, has led to the college exceeding its overall enrollment goal for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The incoming class is strong in terms of academic credentials and in diversity of student enrollment. The class carries a 3.77 average GPA—the highest on record for an incoming cohort. And nearly one in three students (30%) starting at Calvin this fall is either an international student or an AHANA (Asian, Hispanic, African, Native American) student.

“It’s exciting to be part of a mission that is attractive to high-achieving students around the corner and across the globe,” said Russ Bloem, vice president for enrollment management. “To have a student population rich in diversity in all its forms is a real benefit to our community and makes for a vibrant learning environment.”

The college’s total student population is now 3,840 students, representing 45 states, 60 countries and five Canadian provinces. While Calvin continues to attract students from across the United States and around the world, the 2017-2018 data shows a slight uptick in the number and percentage of incoming students from the Midwest—a solid outcome considering that the number of high school graduates in the Midwest is declining and is not expected to level off until the middle of next decade.

“We’re committed to expanding our national and international presence,” said Bloem. “And we also are dedicated to continuing to be viewed as a top option for high school graduates in the Midwest.”

U.S. News & World Report ranking Calvin College #1 among Midwest regional colleges in its 2018 Best Colleges Guidebook certainly helps in solidifying the college’s reputation among high school graduates. U.S. News also ranked Calvin second among Midwest Regional Colleges in its “Strong Commitment to Undergraduate Teaching” category; sixth on its “The Best Foreign Student Factor” list for the total percentage (11% in 2016-2017) of international undergrads; 19th among "Best Value Schools"; and as one of just 42 bachelor’s-granting, regionally-accredited colleges considered as a stellar example in the area of undergraduate research and creative projects.

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