UC freshman applicant pool composition shifts

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UC campuses have seen a surge in freshman applications this year, with especially high numbers of nonresident and Latino applicants.

This year, Chicano and Latino applicants are for the first time the largest ethnic group represented in the overall UC applicant pool.

Yvette Felarca, a spokesperson for BAMN, spoke to that increase, saying the number of Latino applicants aptly reflects the makeup of California.

“I think this is really the reality for the changing demographics of California and the efforts of groups like ours,” Felarca said.

Despite a larger number of Latino applicants systemwide, at UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Irvine and UC Davis, Asian Americans are still the largest applicant group.

Non-California residents also applied in higher numbers this year, with out-of-state student applications up by 14.9 percent and international student applications up by 34.5 percent. This increase, however, is significantly less than it was last year, when the applicant pool showed a 44.9 percent increase in the number of out-of-state applicants and a 66.4 percent increase in the number of international applicants.

These increases have sparked concerns among those who fear that nonresidents may crowd out qualified California natives.

“I really second-guess myself in terms of those coming from all over the world who have had so many more opportunities than me,” said Sarah Shade, a senior at Colfax High School and a UC applicant. “It is naturally more competitive,”

UC spokesperson Dianne Klein said that the higher number of nonresident applicants should not worry California applicants because nonresidents are still a minority within the UC system.

Growing applicant pools have also been a trend within the greater UC system. According to data from the UC Office of the President, the freshman applicant pool this year rose from the previous record set last year by 10.7 percent.

UC Berkeley has also broken its record of 61,661 applicants from last year with more than 67,000 applications submitted by the class of 2013.

“More are graduating high school and meeting the requirements to apply to the UC, which is all good news,” Klein said.

Alex Bonser, a UC Davis freshman who was part of last year’s record-breaking pool, said he is not concerned with the increased competition resulting from higher applicant numbers.

“I figured that a lot of students from the Bay Area and SoCal would be applying, more than in previous years, but didn’t think that would change how UC admissions committees would evaluate my own unique background and high school record,” Bonser said.

The increase comes at a turbulent time for the UC system, which in recent years has faced budget cuts from the state.

“Despite the doom and gloom, students and their families believe in the UC, and that’s inherent to our mission,” Klein said.

Contact Ally Rondoni at [email protected].