Who should read this post–anybody applying to the University of California. Contents–see below for a look at the latest data, as of July 11, 2017, with acceptance rates, a one-campus snapshot of GPA and test averages (for subscribers only) and your takeaway on relative chances of admissions based on your numbers and who you are. The big story remains the same: The state budget directly affects your chances of enrollment.
So the big news is that the U.C. has finally released its data, or at least some more of it, after sitting on information that is normally out in April. The story is mixed, with some hints of sunshine for in-state students, but this is more a break in the clouds than a change in climate–expect the difficulty level of admissions to increase at all campuses, with Merced remaining the go-to backup for the U.C. I know, I know . . . Merced. But there are some reasons to like Merced. More on that later.
Reasons that the difficulty will go up for California residents start with the deal to admit an additional 10,000 students over a three-year period that was agreed between the U.C. and the state government (to be more exact, Governor Brown himself was behind this).
This deal is now over, and I see no real discussion of anything new on that front, so this year several thousand spots will not be set aside for California students. Please keep that in mind as you read on. There is still political pressure to admit California students, but nothing concrete that will help you Cali residents, though some campuses have been clear about their intention to help a particular category of Cali applicants–more on that shortly.
Just to keep some perspective on the effect of this program ending, the UC system as a whole, for fall of 2016, admitted 105,671 freshman and 23,279 junior college transfers–so the approximately 8,488 extra California students admitted last year was about 6.5% of the total. And many of those would be offered a backup campus, like Merced. Still. That was pretty good boost for California applicants who were freshman last year, and the march of data continued to go up, overall, in terms of average GPA and test scores increasing for admitted students.
Why the admissions are more difficult is a two-part problem–Part 1, the people of California, as represented by their elected officials, have not been investing in a whole lot of new campuses. There is a very large building program at Merced, but not much else going on that actually expands the number of seats available at the UC (or Cal State, for that matter); and overall, the universities in California are still underfunded–here’s a quote from an analysis in 2016:
“State support for CSU and UC has not kept up with the significantly increased demand for higher education in California. Since 1980-81, enrollment has increased by more than 50 percent at CSU and by more than 90 percent at UC. Yet during this same period, General Fund support for each institution has declined by nearly 13 percent, after adjusting for inflation.”
For the full report, click here: CBPC Report
Obviously a 13% budget cut in the face of such increased enrollment demand is in reality a much larger budget cut, as summarized in a different article by our friends at UCLA:
“California invests less per student in its public universities today than it did 30 years ago, according to another PPIC report. In 2013, California spent about half as much as it did in the late 1980s per student in the UC system.”
The upshot will be increasing tuitions in the near future and decreased chances of enrollment for the immediate future. For the full article, click here: Less State Investment.
Application demand overall was also up, as I explained with detailed numbers in a previous post–click here for that: UC Application Totals.
Application Strategy–Buy the U.C. brand, not a specific campus; be willing to go to a community college.
But the story is not all doom and gloom, particularly if you are willing to go to a less in-demand U.C. campus and, if you are really set on the U.C., are willing to purse what I would call the two-step dance into a U.C. campus–by going to a good junior college, and then transferring.
Your basic takeaway is this: There were clear advantages to being in certain categories for admissions last year. Those categories were led by California Junior College applicants.
But before we get into that, let’s take a look at the data we do have, the only complete data–
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