College admissions rates down

April 16, 2009 — by Karthik Sreedhara and Girish Swaminath

Many seniors are learning a tough lesson this spring: college is tougher to get into as a result of the tight economy, and state budget cuts.

Students applying for colleges under the University of California system, including campuses in San Diego, Santa Barbara, Davis, Irvine, Santa Cruz and to a lesser extent Riverside, have been experiencing lower acceptance rates, assistant principal Brian Safine said.

“We have seen some students this year who we would historically expect to be admitted to those campuses, [but] in some cases not [been] accepted this year,” he said.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the UC’s nine campuses received applications from 80,820 California residents for the freshman class for the fall 2009 term and offered spots to 58,631. According to university officials, 10,000 freshman applicants who were not offered a seat at campuses where they applied were offered admission to less in-demand UC’s like those at Merced or Riverside.

According to UC officials, the acceptance rate for UC Davis dropped 11 percent, Santa Cruz dropped 19 percent, and UCLA dropped to 21.4 percent. UC Berkeley, however, is aiming for the same number as last year, about 4,300.

Many students have their own reason behind why the acceptance is so low this year. Senior Harish Kothandapani believes universities do not look at students in detail.

“I think [the UC’s] were overly selective,” said Kothandapani. “It seems like they just took the person with the highest numbers, instead of looking at their backgrounds and what they have done.”

Senior Weilynn Chang has similar views.

“UC’s claim to be looking for well rounded students,” said Chang. “They basically only look at the GPA and SAT scores and if you’re on the border of their requirements, they might look at your essays and activities.”

However, Safine claims that even during these competitive times, there has still been a lot of success.

Said Safine, “Students who applied to a broad range of universities seemed to have been more successful in their applications.”

Safine recommends students apply to a variety of schools rather than applying to a select few because doing this will increase their chances of getting into a college they like. He believes that the competition for the Class of 2010 will diminish, but said predictions are difficult to make.

“This year, six of the UC schools had the biggest change in admissions history,” said Safine. “It is impossible to project what will happen to the state of California economically. However, I would think that things will get better, but not by too much.”

Class sizes are most likely to increase for the current juniors, as shown by statistics from the past few years. 48,253 students applied to UC Davis in the class of 2008, but that number went up by more than 3,000 for the present class of seniors.

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