Rice University will welcome its newest parliament of Owls Sunday as the Class of 2018 descends on campus to participate in O-Week, the weeklong orientation program to familiarize incoming students with their new campus, residential colleges and classmates. O-Week is coordinated by First Year Programs at Rice.
The 956 students that so far make up this year’s freshman class were selected from a pool of 17,732 applicants. Vice President of Enrollment Chris Muñoz noted that while many top-tier institutions of higher education have seen a drop in applicants, Rice’s pool increased this year by 15 percent.
Muñoz added that as interest in Rice continues to grow, so does the quality of students applying to the university.
“Once again, we have a truly exceptional group of students that make up this year’s freshman class,” he said.
This year, 43 percent of incoming students had a perfect academic record in high school; 25 percent had a combined SAT score above 1,530 – up from 1,520 in 2013 (a perfect SAT score is 1,600; and 75 percent had a combined SAT score above 1,420 – up from 1,400 in 2013).
Forty-five percent of incoming students call Texas home, and the freshman class continues to be ethnically and geographically diverse, including 12 percent international. It is getting harder to win admission to Rice: This year’s admissions rate was 15 percent – “a significant drop from seven years ago, when the rate was 26 percent,” Muñoz said.
Move-in day will kick off around 7 a.m. Sunday when upperclassmen and Rice Owls football players greet the new arrivals and help them move their belongings to their residential college rooms. Parents and family members are invited to participate in New Families Orientation, which will include presentations by Rice President David Leebron and other faculty, staff and student representatives as well as information sessions on subjects ranging from academic advising to financial aid to wellness.
After saying goodbye to their parents, new students will gather for matriculation at 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse, where Leebron, Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson and Student Association President Ravi Sheth will welcome new students to their next four years on campus. Later in the evening, the freshmen will make the ceremonial march through the Sallyport into the Academic Quad to mark the official beginning of their college career. Tradition holds that students will not pass through the Sallyport again until their graduation day.
Activities and presentations throughout the coming week will introduce new students to the ins and outs of life at Rice by providing academic advising, assistance with class registration, introductions to Rice values and policies, small-group discussions, faculty lectures, community outreach and opportunities to explore Houston. In addition, the new Owls will enjoy traditional Texas cuisine and the company of their classmates during a barbecue dinner at the president’s home Aug. 18.
Other activities scheduled for the week include a pep rally at Tudor Fieldhouse Aug. 19, the annual Associates’ Dinner Aug. 20 and Houston Night Out Aug. 22. Approximately half of the incoming class will participate in several public service projects to help the Houston community Aug. 23. O-Week will conclude later that day with the Welcome Back Day Festival in the Central Quad. Fall classes begin Aug. 25.
Public Affairs will again collect students’ photos, videos and tweets from O-Week to share the experience on rice.edu. Students have been asked to include #RiceOW14 on their posts, videos and tweets; a compilation of their communications can be found by clicking on #RiceOW14 at the top of rice.edu.