Record number of UC applications — again!

Last year, the University of California system saw a record-breaking number of applicants to their renowned institutions. Acceptance rates dropped accordingly, and a record-breaking number of students had their dreams of their top choice shattered before their eyes.
UC applicants this year smashed that record yet again.

The top-tier UCs already have extraordinarily low acceptance rates. From published data by the UCs in 2017, UCLA and UC Berkeley both had sub-20 percent acceptance rates: 14.6 percent and 18.3 percent respectively. Their acceptance rates for this year are expected to have plummeted. UCLA continues to receive the most applications, breaking its own record by 10 percent from the previous year when 113,409 freshmen applied.

The rest of the UCs — San Diego, Davis, Irvine, Santa Barbara, Riverside and Merced — are also growing more competitive, with every single campus receiving more freshman applications than ever before. According to the UC Office of the President, there was a 5.7 percent increase in applicants compared to last year, totaling 181,419.

These numbers can be partially explained by the accessibility of applying, since a student can apply to any of the UCs with one application. About 67 percent of freshman applicants applied to UCLA, for example, but most of these freshmen also applied for another UC campus.

More and more applicants are being denied or waitlisted from their dream schools due to the increased competition in the application season. While the prestige of the UCs may appear to be increasing, it comes with the price of broken hearts and tear-stained pillows at night.

Senior Erin Baquiran, who plans to major in computer science or computer engineering, experienced this heartbreak when she was rejected from her top school, UC Irvine, which received the third most number of applicants for the year, after UCLA and UC San Diego. However, she immediately utilized the post-rejection tool that students have to contest their decision: appeal.

First, Baquiran emailed professors at Irvine and the engineering dean.

“I said, ‘Hey, should I appeal? Is it worth appealing?’” Baquiran said. “I said what I do, what my passion and intentions are at Irvine… [The dean] said sometimes it’s really hard to get in the first time, [and] usually appealing can really help because not a lot of people appeal.”

While awaiting the appeal process, Baquiran is deciding between Chapman University and CSU Fullerton. The choice is also helping her get her mind off of her rejection.

“The thing is, I’ve never been to another college campus [besides Irvine’s] so I don’t know if the environment is the same over [at other colleges] or better, exactly,” Baquiran said. “What I did was research more about my second and third choices and see what they can offer and [there are] some things that are better there.”

Each UC campus has a different process for appeal, and it is important for students to research what is required for their intended university. There are different types of appeals, too, such as Appeal to Selection Decision and Appeal to Late Application.

Students should also be aware of the criteria for appealing a university’s decision. The UCs make it clear that students need to present “new and compelling” information not disclosed on their application and not something like senior grades, since they will not be considered. Subjective desires for reconsideration are not a strong base for an appeal.

Despite stinging rejections, students should also remember that there will always be another path to take for happiness.

“I’m going to go wherever I’m meant to,” Baquiran said. “Life is going to take me wherever I need to be.”