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KNOXVILLE — More than 4,500 students already have been admitted into the University of Tennessee’s fall 2005 class, the director of UT undergraduate admissions said Friday.

Nancy McGlasson said as of early December, 4,562 students were admitted to UT in the first wave of admissions decisions. Those already admitted will be notified by mail by the end of December.

“November 1st was the early-action application deadline,” McGlasson said. “So far, we’ve received more than 7,600 applications, which is a 19 percent increase over the same time last year and a 37 percent jump from 2003.”

Both the academic quality and diversity of the applicant pool have also increased, she said.

Another 1,100 student applications were deferred until February, when the next group of admissions decisions will be made.

“Being deferred does not mean being denied,” she said, “it just means that our admissions officers need more information about the applicant’s academic background and potential for success here at UT.”

That information could include statements from the student’s high school teachers or others familiar with their academic work, or new scores on tests such as the ACT or SAT.

More students are admitted each year than actually show up for the start of classes, McGlasson said. The goal for the fall 2005 class is to recruit enough students so that between 4,000 and 4,200 freshmen students will enroll.

“That’s a little smaller than last year,” she said, “because we want to reduce the class size while boosting the quality.”

The average ACT score for entering freshmen in fall 2004 was 24.8 with a high school core-curriculum grade point average of 3.43, McGlasson said, and they’re hoping to raise those averages for fall 2005.

“That’s not to say that a student with lesser scores should not apply,” she said. “About 25 percent of the fall 2004 class had less than a 22 on the ACT or a 3.03 core curriculum high school GPA.

“We want as many good, solid, hard-working students as we can get.”