When classes start next week, The University of New Mexico welcomes a large number of new freshmen students and one of the best prepared groups to begin college in recent years.

Based on preliminary numbers, UNM expects about 3,330 first-time Lobos for the fall 2015 semester, compared to 3,132 last fall. That six percent growth in incoming freshmen is attributable to a number of factors.

The Office of Admission has enhanced its recruitment strategies to reach a broader base of students throughout the state as well as regionally, nationally and internationally. Outreach by academic departments such as the UNM Honors College, and student success initiatives that help enhance learning and incentives to graduate in four years, have also generated interest in UNM.

“It’s gratifying to see the number of traditional students from within and outside of New Mexico who recognize the incredible educational quality we provide,” said Terry Babbitt, associate vice president of enrollment management. “These students have discovered a connection with UNM’s vibrant learning community and that sense of place will foster their success.”

The incoming class is also well prepared to meet the challenges of college level course work, as evidenced by their high grade point averages and ACT test scores. These improved measurements may be linked to interest in the new Honors College. Established in 2012 and built upon the long-standing Honor’s Program, the college has brought increased attention to academic honors and to UNM among students wanting advanced educational opportunities.

“As we have grown, in terms of faculty and programs, word has spread among New Mexico high schools that Honors at UNM is a great choice for motivated students seeking a challenging college experience,” said Kate Krause, dean of the Honors College. “This is apparent in our applicant numbers and the selectivity of our student body.”

This fall, the Honors College will have approximately 400 students in its freshman classes. Among them are more than 30 new recipients of the prestigious Regents Scholarship, far more than any previous year.

“Increasingly, students are noticing that they can get a high quality liberal arts education at the affordable price of a public university at UNM,” President Robert G. Frank said. “But also, we have the added benefits of the diversity offered at a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and the research opportunities only available at a research-intensive university. UNM has it all!”

The first day of class is Aug. 17, but students can register for the full term through Aug. 28. Total enrollment is expected to be comparable to last year with less than a one percent change in overall credit hours and a slight decrease in total headcount. Enrollment information is not finalized until the third week of class.