Explaining the Drop in UC Applications

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Illustration by Jake Ortega | The Bottom Line

Madison Kirkpatrick

An article published by KSRO revealed a recent drop in UC applications for the first time in many years. UCSB is lucky that our admissions have not decreased much, but if this trend continues, we could be the next victim.

UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Santa Cruz have seen a recent drop in freshman and transfer applications, and this decrease, while not enough to cause significant concern, has been noticed by administrative officials. The reason behind the drop is unclear, but there is speculation that everything from a lack of funds to academic preparedness has resulted in a desire in students to live closer to home.

After UC Berkeley suffered a 2.5 percent decrease in freshman applicants and a slight decrease in transfer applications, spokesperson Janet Gilmore noted that this year has seen a decline in the number of Chicanx/Latinx, Native American and African-American applicants.

In an interview conducted with the Daily Cal, junior student Zuha Aslam stated that “Berkeley has a reputation for being super diverse, which adds to more individual student stories and more possibilities for inclusion among students.” In the case of the recent decrease in enrollment, Berkeley risks losing its diverse label.

In the context of UCSB, our campus is known for being extremely diverse, allowing students to find more opportunities for inclusion. For me specifically, special interest groups with a wide range of ethnicities are the ones that I find myself most thriving in.

UCLA has also seen a two percent decrease in their applications this year. The number of out-of-state applicants has increased by one percent, but applications of California residents have decreased by three. This may not seem substantial, but if the trend continues, it can eventually become a bigger issue.

In an interview with the Daily Bruin, undergraduate director Gary Clark believes that the decline is due to students becoming more selective about which schools to apply to; many students believe that applying to multiple schools is a waste because you only choose one. The thing to remember is that keeping your options open can serve you better than being selective.

It’s much better to apply to multiple places than to have your heart set on one or two. Also, your opinions might change and you might like another school better than your top choice.

In the same article, biopsychology student Nicolette Khalifian says that the decrease may give UCLA one less thing to brag about when marketing the school to prospective students. This can also be the case if UCSB has a similar problem. When I was applying to colleges, for example, knowing that others loved the campus as much as I did made a lot of the difference for me.

Over-enrollment has also been blamed for the decrease in admissions. A blog by admissions expert Ms. Sun states that UCLA and UCSD have admitted to suffering from over-enrollment. This means that there are lots of students in classes that should be smaller.

Over-enrollment has severe repercussions for students and administration, which include trouble focusing in classes, less attention from teachers, and more pressure for instructors to cater to the needs of every student in large classes. In classes I have taken, I have found that the larger the class the higher the discomfort with speaking up in front of others. A decrease in enrollment may actually be a solution to over-enrollment.

Though this does not mean much for UCSB yet, it is important that the university markets their achievements as a way for students to enroll in the school. Unfortunately, there is little we can do to stop the decrease in other universities, but the college can focus on keeping itself intact.

In light of this decrease, I believe that the best way to prevent this issue from becoming a trend would be to emphasize more importance on higher education. When I applied to colleges, it was important to apply to multiple and keep your options open. These included safety and reach schools. This was considered part of being prepared for the next step.

I went from being accepted to two colleges as a freshman to eight colleges as a transfer. This was because I realized that it is okay to apply to multiple places because you have more opportunity to be accepted. It is important for students to realize that they are wanted for their skills and they have to know how crucial college is and how important it is to work to the best of their abilities in high school.