UC admissions reach record level for fall 2021 with increased diversity

Infographic depicting UC Berkeley admission statistics for 2020-21 vs. 2021-22
Mohini Rye/Staff

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The UC system welcomed a record number of California freshmen, underrepresented students and community college transfers in its newest class of admits.

On July 19, it was announced that there was an 11% increase in freshman admissions, as well as an increase in general admissions for fall 2021, according to a UC Office of the President, or UCOP, press release.

The number of freshmen admitted to the university increased from 119,054 to 132,353 students during the past year, the press release notes. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the university added that the increase in admissions was due to several factors, including a rise in applications and the waiving of standardized testing requirements. 

“I am particularly heartened by the social and economic diversity of those offered a place at UC,” said UC President Michael Drake in the UCOP press release. “Fall will be an exciting time on our campuses.”

The UC system will be welcoming a new class of 84,223 freshmen to the university campuses in the coming semester, the press release states.

Underrepresented students will comprise 43% of the new admits, with Latinx students making up 37% and the number of Black students being admitted increasing by 15.6%, according to the press release.

“We’re incredibly proud that we’re able to admit a similarly diverse class to last year, which was a record-breaking year despite the pandemic,” said UC Berkeley deputy director of admissions Abby Jones. “Results of that success should be attributed to the resilient students who put their best foot forward in the process this year.”

There was also a 1.35% increase in the number of transfer students admitted from California Community Colleges, according to the UCOP press release.

UC Berkeley notably received 112,800 new applications, a Berkeley News article notes. Of those applications, 16,400 applicants were admitted to campus.

“Overall, our admissions process didn’t change much,” Jones said. “Our admissions decisions were never driven by a test score or any particular element. While a drop in SAT and ACT exams may seem like an important part, the drop in SAT and ACT scores didn’t change what we were looking for in a UC Berkeley application.”

Although UC Berkeley accepted more students than previous years, its campus saw its acceptance rate drop to 14% due to the larger pool of applicants, according to the article.

Olufemi Ogundele, campus dean of undergraduate admissions, noted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could be seen in students’ applications.

“One admitted student, inspired by the student’s immunocompromised mother and her need for help to get groceries during the pandemic, created an organization that shopped for those at higher risk of serious symptoms of COVID-19,” Ogundele said in the Berkeley News article.

Contact Nadia Farjami at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @Nadiafarjami.