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OU Ranks No. 1 in Nation in Number of Freshman National Merit Scholars

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National Merit Scholars on football field with President Boren

NORMAN – For the third time in history, the University of Oklahoma ranks No. 1 in the nation in enrollment of freshman National Merit Scholars, with 317 scholars enrolled in the fall 2017 class. OU outranked all public and private universities this year, including the University of Chicago and the University of Southern California, which placed second and third, respectively. Other leading schools that ranked below OU include Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, Stanford University, Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University.

“We are extremely proud to be first in the nation in attracting National Merit Scholars to our campus,” said OU President David L. Boren. “These scholars have a ripple effect on the entire student body and play a key role in the achievement of real excellence.”

OU is the only public university in U.S. history to ever rank first among both public and private universities in the number of freshman National Merit Scholars. OU previously ranked No. 1 overall in 2014 and 2016.

The ranking marks the fifth consecutive year that OU is No. 1 among all public institutions in freshman National Merit Scholar enrollment. OU’s enrollment of 317 freshman scholars exceeds the public institution in second place, University of Florida, by more than 100 scholars. Of the 317 scholars enrolled at OU, 146 graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA. The university has achieved a 95 percent retention rate of freshman scholars over the past three years.

The rankings for the fall 2017 class were recently released as part of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s annual report.