SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Augustana University is getting ready to welcome one of the biggest incoming classes in school history.

The largest first-year class at Augustana was 594 students in 1970.

Now the university is expecting more than 550 full-time undergraduate first-year students.

Sophia Bernhard of Rapid City is getting into the rhythm of college life.

The incoming freshman knew Augustana was the school for her after touring campus.

“It’s a small school and I know that if I have questions about anything I’ll be able to talk to my professors and they’ll be open to helping me out,” Augustana student Sophia Bernhard said.

Bernhard will be joined by hundreds of other first-time students.

Senior Morgan Pederson is looking forward to sharing campus with lots of new faces.

“I think it’s really exciting that we’re having such a large class coming in. I think everyone has a unique story and unique experiences and the type of people that come to Augie like sharing those and learning from each other and growing together,” Augustana student Morgan Pederson said.

Assistant vice president for enrollment management, Adam Heinitz, says there’s a number of reasons people are picking Augie.

“Number one, Augustana has made a great commitment to making our school affordable, and so the investments from scholarships, gifts from donors and friends of Augustana is a big part of that. The transformation of our campus. The facilities, the campus green. Exciting new programs, athletic programs, academic programs,” Assistant VP for enrollment management Adam Heinitz said.

He adds that Sioux Falls continues to drum up interest among college students.

“I’m really excited. It’s going to be fun to get to know people and to spend more time on campus,” Bernhard said.

The incoming class will include 72 first-year international students, which is a record for Augustana.

Classes begin next week.