The University of California admitted its largest and most diverse undergraduate class in the fall of 2021, but UC data released Monday showed that admissions were difficult for the large number of applicants struggling to enter the prestigious public search system.
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The UC system’s nine undergraduate campuses combined to enroll 132,353 new students, including out-of-state and international students, an 11% increase over last year. Latinos were the largest sophomore group among California applicants, accounting for 37 percent of the 84,223 first-year students offered admission. Asian Americans are 34%, white students are 20%, and black students are 5%. The rest were American Indians, Pacific Islanders, or people who declined to state their race or ethnicity.
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About 45 percent of incoming freshmen were low-income, and 45 percent were the first in their families to attend a four-year university. The campuses welcomed 28,453 transfer students from the California community college system, the largest class ever.
“These impressive numbers are a testament to the hard work and resilience of students and families across the state of California,” UC President Michael W. Drake said in a statement. “Socio-economic diversity is what excites people about the offer to UC. Fall will be an exciting time on our campus.”
The ambitious admissions offer comes in a year of unprecedented change driven by the pandemic and UC efforts to ensure more equitable access. UC made other changes, including ending the use of SAT and ACT test scores in admissions decisions and suspending letter grade requirements for most of the last two academic years. These changes led to a record number of freshman applications this fall, 203,700, an 18% increase over last year.
These situations played out in many ways. Enrollment rates fell at seven of the nine campuses, rising at UC Davis and UC Merced, and UCLA once again set the nation’s highest admissions standards for the nation’s most applicant-friendly university.
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A dramatic increase in applications among black, Latino and other underrepresented students is making it possible to break down longstanding barriers to entry.
UCLA’s acceptance rate dropped from 14.4% last year to 10.7% this year, with 139,463 applications and more successful students than ever. The GPA in California’s first year admitted to UCLA rose to 4.5. Considering semesters, semesters, and quarters of high school, students enrolled at UCLA have completed an average of 52 years of college preparatory curriculum. This includes an average of 23 periods including advanced training. Both are above the minimum requirements for UC.
“This is the strongest class we’ve ever seen,” said Yulonda Copeland-Morgan, associate director of enrollment management at UCLA.
He added that UCLA concluded that removing standardized test scores had little effect on its ability to evaluate students, as UCLA’s preparation for rigorous testing can be seen in high school transcripts, coursework and class rankings. . Other values, such as courage, creativity and leadership, appear in essays and activities, which confirm UC’s comprehensive 13-factor monitoring system, he said.
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“These factors are enough to make a decision,” Copeland-Morgan said, “and hopefully this will be the new wave of the future for many organizations.”
Khadijat Solebo, who graduated from Washington Preparatory High School last month, is one of 8,369 California high school students who received an offer to attend UCLA this fall. His 4.1 GPA, six honors and advanced placement courses may be below the Westwood campus average, but UC admissions officers evaluate applicants on their background, and Solebo stood out from his South Los Angeles high school.
He placed second in salutatorian in his class. Solebo immigrated from Nigeria only four years ago, but has immersed herself in school and community life, serving as junior and senior class president, playing soccer and softball, and volunteering for conservation projects. water Brotherhood’s Crusade.
She said she fell in love with UCLA as soon as she stepped foot on campus three years ago for a weekend AP prep course. “It’s one of the best schools in the world,” said Solebo, who is studying biochemistry and plans to become a doctor. “I love all of these things.”
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All campuses except UCLA and UC Santa Barbara have increased their admissions offers. Copeland-Morgan said that because a high percentage of students accept UCLA’s offer, there is no need to enroll in large numbers on campus to fill all the spots. But this freshman class will be smaller, he said, and the final numbers remain unchanged.
UC Santa Cruz also improved its acceptance rate, with 56.5% of incoming first-year applicants achieving a GPA of 4.0 or higher, compared to 48.5% last year. Last year, the campus accepted 61,708 applications for the fall semester, dropping its acceptance rate from 65.2% to 58.9%.
Admissions experts said last year’s high enrollment rates at most campuses were largely due to the pandemic’s uncertainty over how many continuing students would return and whether new ones would enroll. Although it was generally harder to get into UC this year than in 2020, it was even harder to get into 2019 before the pandemic, with enrollment rates at six lower campuses.
“This year, we had to take heart on this kind of request because it doesn’t seem like they’re going to succeed here,” said Michelle Whittingham, UC Santa Cruz’s associate director of enrollment management. “There’s only limited capacity. So it’s not easy for anyone with a lot of students to not get offers.”
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At UCLA, for example, 34% of California’s freshmen were Black, Latino, American Indian or Pacific Islander, the highest percentage of these groups in 30 years. Black students make up 7 percent of freshman enrollment, tied only by Merced among UC campuses, and has more than doubled in the last decade. Copeland-Morgan’s team has built a larger pool of recruits by deepening its relationships with Black churches, community organizations and LA’s integrated school network to begin college prep in middle school.
“I’m over the moon,” Copeland-Morgan said. “Years of hard work … paid off for us and it’s a great feeling.”
UC Berkeley’s acceptance rate fell to 14% from 17% last year, with freshman applications hitting a record 112,820. Since last year, the campus has welcomed new California recruits from underrepresented groups, making impressive strides in diversity. they received an increase of 36.4%. Outreach efforts include the Berkeley En Español website and a new recruiter for Native American students as part of a reorganized diversity team.
Admissions officers also sought to expand geographic diversity by increasing virtual campus tours, presentations and events, recruiting students from 53 of California’s 58 states, 54 US states and territories, and 102 countries.
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“We have been clear about our mission to achieve excellence across the state,” said Olufemi Ogundele, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, who has led many of the changes since joining Berkeley two years ago from Stanford University.
UC Irvine has made some of the biggest gains in diversity year-over-year, increasing the percentage of underrepresented students to 41% last year from 29% of California freshmen. Among them, the proportion of black students doubled and the proportion of African American students tripled. Latino students saw a 30% increase in admission offers, while Asian Americans dropped 25% and whites dropped 9.4%.
Asian Americans remain the largest enrolled group at every campus except UC Merced, as many attend more campuses and are accepted at higher rates than Latinos. When looking at multiple applications from Asian-American students, 67,715 were accepted systemwide, compared to 60,061 from Latinos. But when it comes to individual students, UC enrolled 31,220 Latinos and 28,402 Asian Americans.
Preliminary data on UC enrollment, which is subject to change, suggests that more students may leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer students this year than last appear to be canceling their enrollment in the fall semester, according to multiple campus reports.
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Teresa Watanabe writes about education for the Los Angeles Times. Since joining the Times in 1989, he has covered immigration, ethnic communities, religion and Pacific Rim business, serving as a Tokyo correspondent and bureau chief. He also covered Asia, national affairs and state government for the San Jose Mercury News and wrote editorials for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. A native of Seattle, he graduated from USC with a degree in journalism and East Asian languages and cultures. 1 of 39 Most Competitive Colleges in California There are many prestigious public and private colleges on the West Coast, many of which are difficult to get into.