Don’t feel intimidated, but this year’s crop of freshmen is the most competitive and most diverse bunch ever.

The 1,298 members of the Class of 2005 matriculated in the first class that offered need-blind admission for international students, and the class has more diversity than previous classes to show for it. The matriculation rate, or the percentage of admitted students who chose to attend Yale, held about steady — it was 65 percent this year and 66 percent last year. And the number of students receiving financial aid went slightly up, despite new and appealing financial aid packages at other top universities.

Administrators said, based on the Class of 2005, they are optimistic that future classes will continue to increase in strength.

A record 14,809 students applied for admission to this year’s freshman class, and Yale admitted only 13.8 percent — down from 16 percent the previous year. Yale cut the freshman class size by 50 students this year because of a campus housing crunch. While this slash made admissions more competitive, this year’s lowest ever admit rate also reflects a several-year trend towards greater selectivity in college admissions.

The greatest competition was within the international pool, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Richard Shaw said. A surprisingly high number of foreign students applied, were accepted, received aid and matriculated this year. In fact, the University didn’t budget enough money for international aid and had to add more after students accepted.

More than 60 percent of international students in the Class of 2005, not including Canadians, will receive financial aid. That’s substantially higher than the 24.7 percent of international students that receive aid in the Class of 2004 and the about 40 percent of overall Yalies that receive aid — proving the effect of last year’s policy change.

“I just think it’s the way it fell. We don’t control it,” Shaw said of the high percentage of international students receiving aid. “This is the first year of completely need-based, need-blind international admissions.”

Members of the Class of 2005 are from 44 foreign countries and represent 9.8 percent of the freshman class. The countries that are most highly represented are China and India.

The states that are most highly represented are New York with 191, California with 158 and Connecticut with 97.

The average SAT score for the class was 1450. Molecular, cellular and developmental biology, political science, economics and English were the majors that most students indicated they were interested in on their applications.

Shaw said the group is one of the strongest ever to walk onto Old Campus. But even as this group unpacks, Yale looks ahead.

“We’re just about to spring out and go after the Class of 2006,” Shaw said.