UC Applications Reach All Time High

Photo Courtesy of UCSB

Zoey Jia

National Beat Reporter

On Jan. 28, the UC Pressroom stated that the University of California system received an all-time high of undergraduate applications for fall 2021 admission. A total of 249,855 applications were submitted, marking a 16.1 percent increase from last year. UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) represented an increase from 90,947 to 105,640 freshman applications received.

According to the University of California Office of the President Officials, all UC campuses highlighted an increase of freshman and transfer applications received from out-of-state international applicants.

UCSB’s California resident freshman applicants rose from 63,269 to 71,209, and international applicants increased from 16,690 to 17,602. Out-of-state applicants had the largest increase from 10,988 to 16,829, which is 53 percent more than the previous year. 

“I am heartened and inspired by so many hardworking students who want to attend the University of California,” said John A. Pérez, the UC Board of Regents chair. “The diverse backgrounds, many strengths, and impressive talents of those who enroll will undoubtedly enrich the UC community.”

Furthermore, freshman applications from African American students increased from 3,211 in fall 2020 to 3,820 for fall 2021, and applications from Chicanx/Latinx students jumped from 19,989 to 21,867.

“More applications mean that in order to stand out among the 105,623 applicants, a student needs to clearly demonstrate the positive qualities we are seeking,” Lisa Przekop, the director of the UCSB Office of Admissions, explained the data in an interview with The Bottom Line. “We read the applications very carefully to find those students who will strengthen UCSB inside and outside of the classroom.”

As mentioned in a recent letter from UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang: “We remain steadfast in our efforts to maintain and, indeed, to increase the diversity of our students, faculty, and staff.”

The UCSB admissions officers also believe in eliminating SAT/ACT exams from the application process and spending more time on school research when staying at home. 

“Using virtual tools, we were able to expand outreach efforts and ‘virtually’ visit more schools and attend more events than we have in the past,” Przekop said. 

Considering the widespread pandemic, UC Santa Barbara officials created more virtual opportunities for applicants to access campus tours, virtual open house events, and webinars. Through a simple registration process, students and their families can sign up for virtual campus tours led by current UCSB students who are ready to answer all questions. Students can also join other virtual presentations and student panels to gain further information without the possible danger of COVID-19 exposure. 

Zoom meetings, emails, and UCSB’s official Youtube channel have become other effective alternatives for students wanting to learn more about the university. Students can also chat with admissions counselors by signing up for Zoom advising appointments. Further information regarding UCSB academics and student life is also available on the “Explore UCSB” tab.

“Using virtual tools, we were able to expand outreach efforts and ‘virtually’ visit more schools and attend more events than we have in the past,” Przekop said. 

Due to the more competitive selection process, Przekop believes that the selection criteria is not only about excellent grades. “It is also about (showing) evidence that they are going to be active, engaged learners,” she said.

According to Przekop’s introduction, the UCSB admissions officers also look at whether applicants seek extra opportunities outside of the classroom to grow and learn, and whether they take advantage of educational opportunities such as honors courses. 

“We have also been tasked to look for those students who are going to make positive contributions to the UCSB community. For instance, will they lead our student organizations? Will they be role models to other students?” Przekop explained. 

Now, the UCSB admissions officers continuously revise their process to ensure every application, even when they’re dealing with more than 100,0000 applications, gets a personal, thorough review.  

“It is a challenge, given the tight time constraints but we’re confident we have developed a fair process,” Przekop said.