EDMOND — Walking around the University of Central Oklahoma on Friday, Tanner Coburn heard countless wide-eyed freshmen asking the same questions he had two years ago.
Some needed to know how to get to their classes, he said. Others were looking for offices or trying to find out where to buy their books.
Sitting outside the bookstore at UCO, Coburn, a junior from Arnett, said he remembered feeling overwhelmed when he arrived on campus as a freshman in 2011. The campus seemed huge, he said, and he had no idea where to find his classes.
“Everything was new,” he said. “It's second nature now.”
Students at UCO, the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University returned to campus this week. Classes begin Monday at all three universities.
Coburn, 20, returned to campus Friday. After picking up his books at the bookstore, Coburn planned to find the classes he's taking in person and look over the course materials for the two classes he's taking online.
Enrollment numbers won't be finalized for several weeks. But UCO officials projected the university's enrollment would stand at about 17,000 students this year, roughly the same as last year's total. Last year, UCO saw its fourth consecutive year of record enrollment.
During OU's freshman convocation Thursday, university President David Boren announced the school's freshman class stood at 4,016. It's possible the university could break the record for the largest freshman class in state history by the end of the enrollment period, Boren said.
This year's OU student body is also the highest ranked of any public university in state history, Boren said. The university's students posted an average ACT score of 26.2, topping last year's record-setting average score of 26.1.
Matt Hamilton, OU's registrar and vice president for enrollment and student financial services, said the university was seeing “very robust enrollment,” similar to last year's numbers. Friday morning, the Norman campus' enrollment stood just shy of 23,000 students.
OSU's freshman class topped last year's first-year students in academic credentials as well, with 29.6 percent posting an ACT score of 27 or higher, said OSU spokesman Gary Shutt. That total is up from 29.2 percent in 2012.
This year's freshman class at OSU is about 3,900, Shutt said. Those students come from every state but Rhode Island, with 65 percent coming from Oklahoma, Shutt said.
Friday, the total enrollment at OSU's Stillwater and Tulsa campuses combined was about 25,300. Shutt said university officials expect the final enrollment total to surpass last year's total of 25,544.
Standing in line outside the student financial office at UCO, sophomore Paigton Mayes said this year's move-in process was calmer than she remembered from her freshman year. Mayes, 19, spent Friday checking on her financial aid package, picking up her parking pass and buying her books.
Last year, the process was hectic, she said. She didn't know where her classes were, and she didn't know the financial office existed at all. But a year of experience has helped her navigate the system better, she said.
“Now I'm not the baby anymore,” she said. “I know what I'm doing.”
Now I'm not the baby anymore. I know what I'm doing.”