Salem College Experiences Second Year of Record Growth

Salem College Experiences Second Year of Record Growth

Press Release For Immediate Release
August 17, 2023
New Salem Seal - Salem Academy and College

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AUGUST 17, 2023)—Salem College announced today that this fall, for the second year in a row, the number of new students on campus will increase by more than 50%. This comes after the Winston Salem-based women’s college received a record-breaking number of applications for a second consecutive year. The Class of 2027 - incoming students who graduated from high school this May - make up 158 of 179 new full-time Salem College students arriving this fall and comprise the largest incoming class Salem at Salem since 2017. The Class of 2027 is also the 6th largest recorded since 2005. The number of students from outside North Carolina also increased 58% from last year, with an average GPA of 3.91, while the overall GPA Salem incoming students is 3.75. The Class of 2027 includes students from 20 states as well as Cameroon, Colombia, Nigeria, and Nepal. The majority plan to major in the sciences and health, followed by business, art, and design.

Asked to what she attributes this growth, Salem’s President Summer McGee points to several distinctive features, “first among them is our academic experience and our unwavering commitment to student support. Salem’s faculty are dedicated mentors and our staff work tirelessly to prepare students to succeed. Here, more than 90% of our classes will have fewer than 20 students, which translates into deep and meaningful relationships with both our faculty and their peers. Our size enables us to know our students as individuals and tailor the learning experience to their passions and needs. ” This experience too helps account for the College’s ability to improve outcomes for its diverse student population, and for the fact that 57% of this year’s incoming students identify themselves as being of diverse ethnicity and/or race, and more than 50% are the first in their family to attend college. In 2023, Salem College was ranked #1 among all U.S. national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges for its students’ social mobility, a measure of how well the College enrolls and graduates a large proportion of students receiving Pell Grants.

However, says President McGee, these features of Salem are not new. What has changed at Salem in the past two years is its distinctive focus, “on training the next generation of women leaders in health, which is bringing students who want a liberal arts-based education that prepares them for hundreds of health-related areas where women are underrepresented.” McGee says Salem graduates are uniquely prepared to lead society to solve “challenges they will face in our society: research on diseases that only affect women is dramatically underfunded, and research on diseases in which the vast majority of patients are women, like Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases, often does not address sex.” It can literally be a life-or-death problem, she says, because “for example, women often do not experience the same symptoms in events like heart attacks. Plus, most drugs removed from the US market are withdrawn after they show side effects mainly or exclusively in women. We need women at the table to advocate for change, to write the policies, and to ensure that women’s health is at the forefront.”

Health leadership, Salem’s distinctive focus, is “all about enlarging our perspective,” she says: “most clinicians researchers, health executives, and health policy leaders are still predominantly men, including in government and industry.” Salem is the right place to solve this problem, says McGee. “You could say it is in our DNA: 252 years ago we were the first educational institution to be built on the philosophy that access to education is the first step to equality and empowerment. Today’s Salem graduates can rise to the challenges of health in our society, so that the next generation won’t wonder whether or not the drug they took or the laws that were passed were actually designed with them in mind.”

About Salem Academy and College

Salem Academy and College, celebrating 252 years as the nation’s oldest continuously operating educational institution for girls and women, is built upon a foundation of empowering and preparing girls and women from all around the world to effect change, shatter expectations and lead. Salem is the only liberal arts college in the United States to be exclusively focused on developing tomorrow’s health leaders and is ranked #2 among National Liberal Arts Colleges in North Carolina in the 2023 edition of U.S. News Best Colleges.


Salem Academy and College is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a vibrant college town known for arts and innovation. For more information about Salem Academy, please visit For more information about Salem College, please visit


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