Old Dominion University continues to raise the bar in both academic standards and adaptability to modern educational needs. The University has long been a place of academic distinction, and this year's first-year student profile strongly underscores this reputation. With the Fall 2023 semester underway, ODU is proud to spotlight the exceptional caliber of its incoming freshman class.

In an intentional move toward further fostering academic rigor and dedication, the University welcomed an unprecedented number of valedictorians and salutatorians this year. With a record 22 of such high achievers joining the Monarch family as first-year students, it's evident that ODU is rapidly becoming a first choice for many of the Commonwealth’s brightest students.

A quick glimpse at the academic statistics of the incoming class reveals significant progress across all measures.

  • Average High School GPA: Rose to 3.46 from 3.4 last year
  • Average SAT Scores: Rose to 1198 from 1124 last year
  • Average ACT Scores: Rose to 25 from 23 last year


“We believe ODU has a dual commitment to fostering academic excellence, while also ensuring every aspiring student has a pathway to success.” - President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.


This heightened profile is a direct result of ODU's strategic decision to refine its admissions process. By lowering its acceptance rate, moving from 95% to 90.9%, the University is re-emphasizing its commitment to excellence, ensuring that incoming students are best positioned to be successful. As such, the University welcomed 2,821 new freshman students this fall compared to 3,201 last fall.

Despite this shift, the University – the most affordable doctoral granting institution in the Commonwealth – is not stepping away from its tradition of providing access and affordability. Toward that end, ODU implemented a new program this year designed for students who do not initially meet all of the University’s admissions criteria but are identified as future Monarchs. The Monarch Ready program is a partnership with Tidewater Community College (TCC) that offers a new pathway to degree completion for students needing additional preparation for college. ODU applicants who enroll at TCC through the Monarch Ready program are guaranteed admission to ODU upon competition of 24 credits with a cumulative 2.5 GPA. Upon successful completion of a second year at ODU, the students will earn an associate’s degree from TCC and will be well on their way to their bachelor’s degree.

“We believe ODU has a dual commitment to fostering academic excellence, while also ensuring every aspiring student has a pathway to success,” said President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. “Our record-setting class of valedictorians and salutatorians and the shifts in the academic profile of our first-year class are clear testaments to this vision. Simultaneously, our innovative partnership with TCC reaffirms our pledge to accessibility and empowerment. Our doors are wide open to those who dream big and work hard, regardless of where they begin their journey.”

In addition to the academic strength of the incoming first-year students, ODU is seeing a significant surge in demand for its on-campus doctoral programs and online graduate programs through ODUGlobal. Enrollment in on-campus doctoral programs is up 4.16%, while online master’s degree program enrollment is up 8.38%, and enrollment in online doctoral programs is up by 15.49%. With more than 120 programs to choose from and representing a record high of nearly 7,000 students, ODUGlobal provides an affordable, convenient and high-quality education for students across the country and beyond. These online offerings are particularly ideal for members of the military, which make up approximately 28% of ODUGlobal’s total enrollment, as well as adult learners, some of whom are military, who comprise more than 80% of ODUGlobal.

“At Old Dominion University, we recognize the ever-evolving landscape of education,” said President Hemphill. “Our steadfast commitment to all levels and modalities of education, including online and graduate, is a reflection of our dedication to meet the needs of today's learners. We strive to provide flexible, comprehensive and world-class educational opportunities, no matter where our students are or where they hope to be.”