Notre Dame’s newest undergraduates are the most academically talented and diverse in the University’s history.p. The members of the Class of 2007— selected from a record 12,096 applicants—arrive on campus with an average SAT score of 1359, eight points higher than last year’s freshmen. Of the nearly 2,000 students who will enroll, 21 percent are from underrepresented ethnic groups, about 5 percentage points higher than the average in recent years.p. “This is a great class, and I’m very excited about it,” said Daniel Saracino, assistant provost for enrollment. “We have a 5 percent jump in ethnic diversity, and we also have diversity across the board, not just ethnically, but socio-economically, geographically, and in other ways. We also have had a big jump in academic quality. That combination of increases in academic quality and diversity undercuts some of the recent arguments in the national debates on affirmative action.”p. Saracino attributes the increase in diversity to a 43 percent rise in the number of academically talented applicants from ethnically underrepresented groups.p. “That shows that our initiatives toward these students, such as visiting key high schools, are paying off,” he said.p. Saracino also was pleased that 20 percent of the members of the incoming class are the children of educators.p. “I think it’s a real compliment to the University that such a large percentage of teachers think enough of a Notre Dame education to send their children here,” he said.p. Despite the increase in academic quality, Saracino said this year’s freshmen remain as well-rounded as their predecessors.p. “Sometimes people think that academic quality produces a class full of nerds,” he said. “But these kids are doers.”p. About 84 percent of the freshmen participated in community service while in high school, and 9 percent were president of either their senior class or student body. Some 41 percent were involved in music, the arts or drama, and 10 percent worked on publications. More than 70 percent took part in varsity sports, with 36 percent serving as team captains.p. Among other notable characteristics of Notre Dame’s new class: 84 percent are Catholic, 22 percent are the children of alumni, they come from all 50 of the United States and 36 other countries, and the male-female ratio is 53-47 percent, respectively.p. As he and his staff start work on next year’s class, Saracino says the strides made this year— particularly in regard to diversity — are only the beginning.p. “Based upon summer visits by prospective students, every indication is that these are trends and not an anomaly,” he said.