The University of Central Florida keeps attracting brighter and brighter students. Preliminary data indicates that this year’s freshman class, which begins classes today, posts some impressive credentials.

This fall’s class is expected to have an average high school Grade Point Average of 3.9 compared to 3.8 last fall. The average SAT score is expected to be 1,255, up from 1,248. There are also 79 National Merit Scholars in the class – a record for the university. Last year 61 National Merit Scholars enrolled at UCF.

The university expects to be home to an estimated 60,000 students this year. To help these students succeed, the university is embarking on several new initiatives to help students on their journey toward graduation and beyond.

From new partnerships aimed at helping find good models for increasing students success, to using new tools to help UCF students — including transfer students — graduate and thrive, UCF is on the move in 2014-15.

UCF is working with Civitas Learning to use predictive analytics to help increase student success. Predictive analytics allows educators to compare a single student’s behavior to that of a large set of students. By so doing, UCF can predict the chances of success for that student. At the same time, UCF will be able to help connect students who may be struggling with the resources to turn their story around. A pilot program is being developed and launched aimed at first-generation students this fall.

UCF is also partnering with the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education to implement an action program to address transfer-student success, which will address everything from identifying transfer-student specific challenges to creating a better culture at the university to accommodate transfer students.

And UCF is doing more to educate its students on what it takes to graduate. An educational program is launching this fall aimed at informing students that they need to complete 30 credit hours each year if they want to graduate in four years. The education program also encourages students to meet with their advisors.

“We want students to get involved and participate on campus,” said Delaine Priest, associate vice president of student development and enrollment services. “But they also need to make use of the resources available to them so they can plan ahead. Advisors are one of the best resources students have. I’d say make them your best friend.”