CLEMSON – After setting a record of 16,281 undergraduate student applications, Clemson University will welcome its largest freshman class this week, with record numbers enrolled both on campus and in the Bridge to Clemson transfer program with Tri-County Technical College.

Clemson will have about 3,375 freshmen on campus and another 449 students enrolled in the Bridge program.

The university hasn’t changed its enrollment policies, according to Director of Admissions Robert Barkley. He said the university accepted more freshmen and transfer students because of uncertainty about how the economic recession would affect yield – the percentage of accepted students who accept the university’s offer of admission.

“Universities across the nation were unsure what impact the economy would have on enrollment and admissions yield. One metric that we track on a daily basis is the number of paid confirmation deposits, because that’s a good indicator of a student’s level of commitment,” he said. “In the spring, deposits were significantly lower than previous years, so we made the decision to accept more students in order to maintain a stable enrollment.”

But despite being slower to materialize, Clemson’s yield remained strong – resulting in a larger class.

Clemson President James F. Barker called the higher-than-expected response a “strong vote of confidence for Clemson University” by students and their families.

“High school graduates want to come to Clemson because of its strong academic reputation and outstanding student experience,” he said.

Including freshmen and transfers, Clemson accepted 4,432 students from South Carolina, the largest number ever. Last year that number was 3,997. Clemson also offered entry into the Bridge program to 1,388 in-state applicants.

Barker said Clemson has added lecturers and class sections to accommodate the larger class and offer the courses students need to stay on track for graduation.

Even though it is larger, the freshman class remains academically strong, with an average SAT of 1223. Forty-five percent of the incoming freshmen were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

“The bottom line is that we were able to offer admission to and enroll more South Carolina students than ever,” Barker said. “We also are able to accommodate all entering freshmen in campus housing, although some will be in temporary space until a permanent room becomes available.”