UCSB Undergrad Applications Pile Up, Break Record


Allyson Werner

A press release sent out on Jan. 18 revealed that the University of California, Santa Barbara has just received a record high number of applicants for Fall 2013.

UCSB has received 76,026 applications for undergraduate admission, a drastic increase from the 68,818 received the previous year. Of those 76,026, 62,402 are from prospective first-year students and 13,637 are from prospective transfer students. Both temporary and full time staff members are working around the clock reading application after application.

Fall 2012 also experienced a surge in applicants, followed by a surge in enrollment. The UCSB admissions office had a target enrollment of 4,375 first-year students for fall 2012. Instead, 4,741 freshmen are working to establish a presence on campus. Freshmen residence halls saw the transformation of singles to doubles and doubles to triples in order to accommodate the high numbers and the fight for classes, especially those lower division GEs, seems to be getting tougher and tougher every quarter.

According to Christine Van Gieson, the Director of Admissions, UCSB aims to enroll 4,300 students in the fall of 2013, although she admits, as demonstrated by fall 2012 statistics, hitting a target is nearly impossible with such a large number of applicants.

“Enrollment targets are set following consultation with an campus enrollment planning committee comprised of deans, faculty, and administrators, analysis of projected attendance and graduation, and assessment of campus resources,” said Van Gieson. Furthermore, target enrollment figures are subject to change throughout the year as new data and analysis appears.

As an admissions counselor, incentive to meet the target enrollment is high.

“The campus receives funding based upon the number of California resident students it expects to enroll.  If we are way over the projection, then there is insufficient funding per student; if we are under the projection, there is the possibility of having to return funding to UC,” said Van Gieson.

The number of undergraduate applicants increases every year; however, according to admissions counselor Lisa Caruso, “the admit rate usually hovers around 40 percent.” As a result, UCSB is admitting more and more students each year. It is unclear whether the admit rate will drop in order to avoid insufficient funding per student.

The surge in applicants has also increased activity on campus. According to Sabrina Buchcik, a fourth year transfer student and visitor center intern, the center experienced a rush before the UC application due date on Nov. 1 and expects another rush of prospective students eager to tour the campus after decisions are released in mid-March. “The visitor center is hiring new tour guides for spring,” said Buchcik.

Caruso said in her admissions presentation to prospective students that UCSB is “becoming more visible.” Both Van Gieson and Caruso feel the surge in applications is a positive reflection of UCSB’s growing prominence both nationally and internationally.