Class of 2013 moves into Elon University

They carried clothes and laptops, ironing boards and plastic palm trees with miniature lights for décor. Mother Nature even kept the rain at bay. Hundreds of Elon University freshmen arrived on campus Friday for the start of their collegiate studies, with staff and faculty welcoming families who traveled to North Carolina from all corners of the country for Move-In Day 2009.

Ashley Williams (left) and Carly MacDougall had already met online through Facebook.

Despite overcast skies with the threat of storms in the forecast, the newest students to join the university community encountered few obstacles during their moves.

Preliminary data shows that 24 percent of the freshman class comes from North Carolina. New Jersey and Massachusetts tied for second on the list at 9 percent. At 7 percent each, Maryland and Virginia round out the top five states represented in the new class of Elon students.

Other Class of 2013 data includes:

Expected class enrollment: 1,290 – 1,295
Core high school GPA of the Class of 2013: 3.96
Male/female ratio: 40:60
Top 10 majors: Business, communications, biology, psychology, education, international studies, political science, journalism, English and engineering
Number of high school valedictorians: 12

Just shy of 1,300 freshmen will enroll this fall at Elon.

Many new roommates on Friday morning had already introduced themselves via Facebook. In Sloan residence hall, freshmen Carly MacDougall and Ashley Williams wore matching tie-dyed T-shirts, something MacDougall made as a welcome gift. The duo filled out a roommate survey earlier this year and expressed similar interests, including their faith, which led Williams to contact MacDougall to gauge interest in sharing a room.

“We’re both Christians and are both very outgoing,” MacDougall said.

As the two worked to arrange their room, Williams’ mom, Cindy, paused in the hall. “It’s been really smooth so far. As parents we were expecting the worst!” she said. “There were no lines and everyone was willing to help us. I figured by 10 o’clock I’d be ready for more coffee!”

The hardest part of moving in? “Getting this rug down!” joked Bonnie Arnesen (right) who was assisting her daughter, Rachel, with her dorm furnishings.

The beauty of Elon’s campus convinced many incoming students to apply and accept offers of admission. Such was the case with Greg Centini, a business administration major from Charlottesville, Va. “I like the size of the school and its location,” he said. “I grew up in Charlottesville and have been there for 19 years. It was time to get out!”

Study abroad opportunities also appealed to him. “I’d like to go study in Italy,” he added. “My family is from there.”

Brianna Bailey, a freshman from Greeneville, Tenn., was another early arrival. She chuckled at the need for a Starbucks run following a late-night drive to North Carolina with her mother, but exhaustion aside, she said service to the community is already on her mind.

“One of my goals is to share some of my stories with young females around the area, about accepting yourself and being who you are,” said Bailey, who expressed interest in psychiatry or perhaps human services as a career. “I feel like anybody can have a place here and fit in. It’s just so pretty, and I heard the academics are really good.”

The move-in process calmed the nerves of many parents who were seeing their children off.

“We’re excited. Rachel’s excited. She’s looking forward to starting her first year of college and meeting her roommates and dorm mates,” said Bonnie Arnesen. The family drove to North Carolina from its home on Long Island. “Everyone’s been so great to help with a smooth transition.”