This fall, Elon University will welcome the largest and most diverse class in its history.

The class contains 1,481 students, with 17 percent of those enrolled representing ethnic diversity. According to Greg Zaiser, vice president of admissions and financial planning, Elon received 9,550 admissions applications.

Iris Sullivan, a member of the Class of 2017, said she does not mind her class’s big size.

“As long as the Elon faculty still offers that personal feeling, it’s fine with me,” she said.

Students in the Class of 2017 come from 44 states, and the top five states represented are North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland. The class also includes 98 international students.

The 17 percent of ethnic diversity in the Class of 2017 shows growth from last year’s 14 percent, according to Zaiser.

[box]BY THE NUMBERS: 1,481 students from 44 states

Top 5 states: North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland

98 international students

Diversity: 17 percent of students enrolled come from ethnically diverse backgrounds

4.0 average GPA

1830 average SAT score

27 average ACT score

The Elon ratio: 60 percent female, 40 percent male[/box]

“I’d say admissions and financial planning are supporting the Elon Commitment strategic plan,” he said. “Diversity of all types is important in education and while it can never be completely captured in numbers, our geographic expansion into California and around the world, as well as our percentage of multicultural students in the first-year class, is evidence of progress toward greater diversity, or in other words, a more inclusive campus.”

Sullivan said she feels happy that her class is the most diverse.

“It gives people a chance to learn from different perspectives,” she said.

Zaiser said the Class of 2017 is “very similar academically” when compared with other Elon classes. The average high school GPA of the class is 4.0, while the average SAT and ACT scores were 1830 and 27, respectively.

The class is 60 percent female and 40 percent male, with 66 percent of students coming from public high schools.

Though students’ majors have yet to be declared, the most popular areas of study for the Class of 2017 seem to be business administration, psychology, journalism, exercise science, elementary education, finance and marketing.

“We anticipate they will contribute to the Elon community just as the members of each of the other classes enrolled have,” Zaiser said.