Campus releases on applications
By Victoria Irwin
Fall 2012 undergraduate applications to the University of California reached a record high for the eighth consecutive year, according to data released today (Jan. 12). The university received 160,939 submissions from prospective students, an overall increase of 13.2 percent over last year. All nine undergraduate campuses saw gains, from 5.3 percent at Davis to 12.7 percent at Los Angeles.
While applications from potential freshmen were up 19.1 percent, the number of applicants seeking admission as transfer students dropped 4.2 percent overall from last year.
More than 93,000 applications came from prospective California-resident freshmen, an increase of 9.8 percent. UC continues to draw applicants from diverse backgrounds. The university registered a slight increase in the proportion of students who would be the first in their families to graduate from college — 44.5 percent this year compared to 42.7 percent last year — and a slight increase in the percentage of students from the state's most academically disadvantaged schools — 24.4 percent, compared to 23.7 percent last year. The proportion of applicants whose family income is less than $44,000 is 38.9 percent, surpassing last year's 37.7 percent.
In addition, freshman applications from all ethnic groups increased, with growth in the proportion of African Americans (6.1 percent of the applicant pool, up from 5.7) and Chicano/Latinos. For the first time, Chicanos/Latinos, at 30.1 percent of the pool, make up a greater percentage of applicants than do whites.
"These outcomes are consistent with the university's new admission policy, which is intended to expand consideration for admission to a broad range of students," said Kate Jeffery, interim director of admissions at the UC Office of the President. Beginning with this application cycle, UC eliminated the requirement that students take two SAT Subject Tests.
Students' academic qualifications remain strong, with grade point averages, ACT and SAT test score averages comparable to those of last year's applicants. "It is good news for the university to have such significant demand from high-achieving California students," Jeffery said. "We're doing something right in providing an education that California students want and their families value."
Applications from California community college students — the largest group of applicants for transfer admissions — declined 5.7 percent. This follows exceptionally large increases in transfer applicants over the past two years. The number of applications received for fall 2012 is above those for fall 2010 by about 940 students.
This year, more nonresident students applied for freshman admission, up from 21,095 last year to 33,001. Nonresident students make up 6.9 percent of UC's overall undergraduate student body, below the 10 percent cap mandated by university policy and a far smaller proportion than at comparable public research universities in other states.
Jeffery said the university intends to offer a space to every California applicant who qualifies for guaranteed admission, although not necessarily to a campus of choice. And while campuses have not finalized their enrollment plans, they expect to enroll about the same number of California-resident students for fall 2012 as they did last year.
Still, many very well prepared applicants will be turned away. "We cannot ignore the fact that without additional funding from the state, campuses will not be able to accommodate all of the increased demand," Jeffery said. UC currently enrolls 11,400 more California-resident students than the state provides funding for.
Initial admissions decisions for freshman applicants will be made by the end of March, and transfer applicants will hear from campuses by the end of April. Most campuses will continue to use waitlists, a strategy that has helped campuses enroll the maximum number of new students over the last two years. All freshman applicants will know where they stand by the end of May.
Detailed data tables on UC's fall 2011 term applications are available online.