With 293 members from as far as Arizona, Montana, Oregon and Turkey, the 2015 incoming class at New College of Florida is the largest in the institution’s history. It’s also one of the most talented.

“This is our largest first-year class ever and yet still one of the most selective and academically strong,” said Kathleen Killion, dean of enrollment services and information technology.

Classes began Monday for the 266 freshmen, or “first-years” in New College terminology, and 27 transfer students, as well as for returning students.

“We had an amazing year in admissions,” said New College President Don O’Shea, not just for the size of the class but for the students’ academic performance.

O’Shea said 51 percent of the new students were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class, and 77 percent were in the top 20 percent.

More than half of the incoming students had a GPA of 4.00 or better, he noted.

They also performed well on national benchmarks. More than a quarter of the incoming class scored 700 or more on the SAT’s verbal component, including 13 with perfect 800 scores.

A transfer student had perfect 800s on both the math and verbal sections of the SAT, and a  first-year student had a perfect score on the ACT.

Other facts about the incoming class:

  • The average GPA of the first-years is 3.98 on a four-point scale.
  • The incoming class is about 63 percent female and 37 percent male.
  • While most students (81 percent) come from Florida, 25 other states are represented in the class.
  • Five foreign countries are represented: Germany, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

The newcomers also include the second class of the College’s Daughters For Life Scholars, four young women from the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine), who join the four fellow DFL Scholars from last year’s inaugural class.

The new students completed a week of orientation programs, including their first “class” – a session titled “College Life 101,” about New College’s community standards. They also had actual classes – or “mini-classes,” professors’ short presentations of every fall offering, to help students plan their schedules and academic concentrations. They also had the traditional nighttime pool party and the Sail Club cookout on the Caples waterfront.