Jan 29th, 2018 @ 2:46 pm | Author: Margaret Dahlberg, Ph.D.
What does a VCSU student look like? If we consider a few demographic averages, she is female, white, between the ages of 18–21, and majoring in Elementary Education. But such a picture only tells part of the story. While it’s true that 58 percent of our students are female, and 84 percent of our students are white, we can tell you much more about our student body.

In addition to a large percentage of white students, VCSU's top 3 ethnicities are Hispanic (4.9 percent), Black (3.9 percent), and 2 or more races (3.6 percent). Racial diversity is very important for all our students to experience, since their future colleagues and students will likely be from diverse cultures. It’s important for students to understand and accept differences, if they are to work successfully in an increasingly global economy.

The average distance that new freshmen travel to arrive at our campus is 495 miles. That number speaks to the geographic diversity on campus: while 65 percent of our students are graduates of North Dakota high schools and 12 percent come from Minnesota, the remaining 23 percent must travel from 40 other states and 10 foreign countries, including the states of Alaska, Texas, and California, and the continent of Australia. That’s a lot of miles—and significant climate change to adjust to when they reach Valley City, especially during a really cold January!

This fall, 33 percent of our new freshmen are First Generation students, which means they are the first in their family to pursue a college education. We are so proud of them (and their families) for making this investment, often with real sacrifice, in their future.

Academically, we find that many of our students are well-prepared for college. Almost 40 percent of new freshmen bring with them a dual-credit transcript with three or more credits that already count toward college graduation; many of them have taken 9–12 credits already and have almost a full semester of college completed. The average high school GPA for incoming students is 3.22; overall, 34 percent of our students receive scholarships.

Students at VCSU can choose from 39 different programs. The top 10 programs students select are Elementary Education (348 students), Business Administration (110), Master’s in Education (109), Fisheries and Wildlife (64), Physical Education (53), English Education (41), Exercise Science/Sport Management (40), Music (39), Human Services (38), and Health Science (35).

The access needs of place-bound adults have helped grow many of VCSU’s programs that are offered online. In fact, 46 percent of our student body (including all of our graduate students) take courses only online, which represents quite a shift over the last decade. About one-third of our students are 25 or older, many of them working full-time and taking several classes each semester online as they work toward graduation.

What our students have in common is that they are all VCSU Vikings. But to us, there’s really not a “typical” VCSU student: every student has unique needs and goals, and we try to help each of them reach their dreams.