The Class of 2016 will enter UT as one of the school's most competitive classes ever.
Forty-four percent of the class will enter UT with a grade point average of 4.0 or higher from high school, according to campus administration. It also said incoming freshmen are coming into UT with an average ACT score of 27 and a GPA of 3.89. In 1994, incoming freshmen averaged a high school GPA of 3.16.
Past & Present: Comparing UT freshmen through the years
UT Assistant Provost Richard Bayer said students are taking more rigorous high school courses than in the past. He said honors and advanced placement courses are helping to improve students' grade point averages.
"I think that's part of the reason why the GPA continues to go up," Bayer said. "Students are pushing themselves, they're taking difficult courses and taking it at an advanced level and doing it quite well."
Bayer also said high school students are preparing for tests, like the ACT, earlier than ever before. He said students take versions of the ACT in the eighth and tenth grades now, before getting the real test in later grades.
"They take it in the 11th grade, which is the mandatory test and then they take it again in 12th grade," he said. "So, I think there's some value in repeating the test.
But, Bayer said despite increased competition, UT still wants to make itself available to all students in the state. He said the university looks at 30 factors, including educational performance, when it determines whether an applicant can attend the school.
"If we see somebody that is promising and can exceed, then we're likely to offer them an admission," Bayer said.
Eighty-nine percent of UT's freshman class is from the state of Tennessee, according to the school. It also said 19 percent of that group identifies as a minority.
UT expects more than 4,200 students to be a part of its freshmen class. However, the school said that number will not be finalized until the 14th day of its classes. Official move-in begins Saturday.