The Class of 2017 began to take shape when the University posted its Early Action admission results on Jan. 11—nearly three weeks ahead of its Jan. 31 deadline. Introduced last year, the early action process drew 13,668 applicants, an increase of 17 percent from last year's total.

Early admission offers were made to 3,848 students, while 3,532 were deferred to the "regular" admission cycle. Last year, nearly 800 deferred students were eventually admitted in the regular decision process.

Almost a third of the early applicants (4,442) identified themselves as minorities or international students, up from 29 percent a year ago. Those offered admission posted an average SAT score of 1,421 (on a 1,600-point scale), up from an average of 1,413 last year. Of those students who received offers, 98.3 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes.

Grades and test scores are important, but admission officers are always seeking well-rounded students. "We're looking at personal qualities and characteristics," says Greg Roberts, dean of admission. "We're seeking interesting students who love to learn."

Target enrollment is 3,465, or 105 more students than the previous first-year class—reflecting the state's push to increase the number of degrees awarded statewide, with an emphasis on degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.