UC Berkeley’s number of applications reaches record high

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In what represents a record-high number of applicants, more than 85,000 high schoolers have applied for undergraduate admission to UC Berkeley’s freshman class of 2017.

UC Berkeley saw a growth of 7.7 percent in applications from Californian residents, while the number of in-state applicants to all nine undergraduate campuses increased by 6 percent, nearly tripling from last year. According to UCOP spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez, the last time the UC saw a 6 percent increase in applications from California residents was 2013.

“We’ve been seeing steady increases for a number of years,” said Stephen Handel, the associate vice president for undergraduate admissions at UCOP. “This is a fairly strong one-year increase.”

While some campuses, such as UC Irvine and UC Los Angeles, saw increases in applications from in-state, out-of-state and international students, UC Berkeley and other campuses saw a decrease in one or both areas. Systemwide, the number of out-of-state and international applicants dropped by 2.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. UC Berkeley saw a steeper decrease of 4.1 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. UC Berkeley saw a 3 percent increase in total applicants — a dip from last year’s 4.7 percent.

According to Handel, however, this decrease is not unique to the UC system. He said other colleges are noting small decreases in the number of out-of-state and international applicants as well.

“This strong demand for a Berkeley education reflects the recognition of the world-class education that UC Berkeley provides,” said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore in an email.

The press release from UCOP stated that this increase in applicants will help the UC system reach its goal of admitting 2,500 more California residents in 2017.

“Every campus is increasing the various infrastructure it needs to grow when you increase enrollments,” Handel said. “That includes housing, parking, lecturers.”

Gilmore said in the email that although enrollment targets for 2017-18 have not yet been set, the campus has been preparing for increased enrollment.

“The campus has taken a number of steps to address the 2016-2017 increase in California resident enrollment,” Gilmore said in an email. “(These) include more creative housing solutions, additional discussion sections.”

Gilmore also stated in her email that the academic performance of the new applicants was comparable to last year’s. According to Handel, there is an increase in SAT scores and GPAs across all campuses. Demographically, Berkeley saw an increase in Californian applicants from all ethnic groups but Native Americans.

Contact Michael Lee at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @_HyunkyuL.