UC Berkeley sees increase in transfer student applications

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More than 3,700 students hoping to transfer to UC Berkeley received good news last month when they checked their admissions decisions, according to initial data released Thursday.

Overall, admission to UC Berkeley as a transfer student was slightly more competitive this year than last year, decreasing from an acceptance rate of 24.4 percent to 22.9 percent. While last year’s transfer applicant pool included nearly 16,000 students, the number of applications to join UC Berkeley’s transfer class of 2016 increased to 16,603.

“It’s great to see (the increase in applications) because one of the admissions office’s deeply held values is about making UC Berkeley a viable and accessible option for all students, and the transfer piece is really important to us,” said Greg Dubrow, director of research and policy analysis for the campus Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “There’s a promise that if you complete a certain set of courses and do the things you’re supposed to, an education here becomes realistic.”

This admissions cycle showed the first increase in transfer applications in the past few years, which could be attributed to the improved economic climate, according to Dubrow.

For Meghan Walsh, who will be transferring from Diablo Valley College, the admissions process yielded an acceptance to UC Berkeley, her top-choice school.

Walsh chose to attend Diablo Valley College — a community college close to her hometown — in part to prepare for enrollment in a more rigorous academic environment.

“For me, I feel like I was able to mature and learn a lot by myself in order to get ready to tackle such a prestigious school,” Walsh said. “A lot of the teachers here teach at a level that prepares you, and now I feel confident and ready to continue my education at UC Berkeley.”

Many students at Diablo Valley College set their sights on UC Berkeley and work hard in their classes to achieve the necessary grades to transfer, according to Walsh, who has a 4.0 GPA at her community college.

Diablo Valley College, along with Santa Monica College and De Anza College, is one of the community colleges with the largest populations of transfer students admitted to UC Berkeley.

In its meeting Wednesday, the UC Board of Regents discussed steps that could increase the number of community colleges represented by transfer students on UC campuses. Half the transfer students in the UC system come from less than 20 percent of the 112 community colleges across the state.

At the meeting, the regents were presented with a strategy that would increase visibility of the UC system among community colleges and includes a tour in which UC President Janet Napolitano, chancellors and other UC senior administrators would visit community colleges across the state.

While UC Berkeley’s enrollment process relied more heavily on the waitlist to fill out its freshman class this year, the admissions office does not have a waitlist for transfer students, because it is much easier to predict how many transfer admits will enroll at UC Berkeley, according to Ellen Topp, director of communications for the Division of Student Affairs.

“Transfer students are usually more precise in what they are looking for in a school in terms of geography, courses, majors, etc. so they are typically more decided with the schools they apply to,” Topp said in an email statement. “This makes it easier for us to build the transfer class and ensure we’re not under or over enrolling.”

Chloee Weiner covers campus life. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @_chloeew .