Although from different parts of the globe and with a diversity of talents and interests, members of the Rhodes College Class of 2025 have something in common: they are now all part of the Rhodes community.
Of its more than 2,000 students, the college saw an increase in the number of first-time, first-year (FTFY) students. Approximately 598 FTFY students are enrolled for Fall 2021, compared to 442 for 2020 and 517 for 2019. Students from the Class of 2025 represent 42 states, with 29 percent from Tennessee.
“I decided to come to Rhodes for the many opportunities offered, especially in STEM,” says Hoang-Vy Tran from Arlington High School in Tennessee. “Rhodes has great science departments, and I am thinking about majoring in neuroscience on the pre-med track to hopefully one day become a doctor.”
After experimenting with 3-D printing last year, Tran made hundreds of face shields to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and donated them to Memphis area hospitals.
The college also attracts high numbers of students from Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Illinois, and Arkansas. Thirteen percent of the Class of 2025 reported that they are first-generation college students.
Students of color make up 24 percent of the entering class; international students make up six percent of the first-year students, representing 35 countries including Colombia, Jamaica, France, Ireland, Jordan, Denmark, Pakistan, Japan, Kazakhstan Spain, India, Vietnam, and Greece.
“I chose Rhodes College due to the fact that it gives many opportunities in all kinds of fields, from politics to music,” says Atia Andonova from Burgas in Bulgaria. “I feel at home.”
In addition to being a DJ, Andonova has won world music competitions for piano and pop/jazz singing. “My academic interests are politics, economics, and public health with a focus on building hospitals in countries with limited resources.”
Among the top five subjects of interest for Rhodes’ entering class are biology, business, neuroscience, political science, and psychology. Members of the Class of 2025 have standout academic credentials, with 94 percent of first years having a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher. They also are entrepreneurs, compassionate citizens, and student leaders.
Mia Robinson oversaw 190 cadets as unit commander of Junior ROTC at her high school in Charlotte, NC, and served as a fellow with the Carolina Youth Coalition. “I came to Rhodes for the small class sizes, the undergraduate research opportunities, and to be a Bonner Scholar,” she says. “I am hoping to double major in history and education.”
Whether participating in class discussions, joining a student organization, making friends in the residence halls, or working on a service project, members of the Class of 2025 will have plenty of opportunities to get to know their new family.