Applications to the University of California for fall 2023 have decreased by 2.2% since last year, from 251,179 to 245,768 applications, according to data released recently from the university system.
Notably, California resident freshmen applications have increased by 14% since fall 2021, while out-of-state and international freshmen applications have dropped by almost 5% from fall 2022, the data reads.
At UC Berkeley specifically, 125,874 students submitted applications for fall 2023, as opposed to 128,192 for 2022 and 112,820 for 2021.
Campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore said these numbers reflect changes in outreach from the campus admissions office due to the funding compact between the state and the university requiring it to admit more resident students.
“One of the objectives of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions is to attract, admit and enroll a class that reflects the diversity of the state of California,” Gilmore wrote in an email. “As a result, (the Office of Undergraduate Admissions) continued to make incremental efforts to better connect with California residents this fall.”
These efforts consisted of strategies such as offering the first fall open house to underrepresented students and scaling back on out-of-state travel to allow for this in-state outreach, Gilmore added.
As far as outreach and applications from underrepresented groups — which the university defines as African Americans, Chicanos/Latinos, Native Americans/Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders — there has not been significant change. These groups made up 45.5% of the university’s application pool in the previous admissions cycle and now make up 46.3%.
The campus admissions office has continued outreach efforts to underrepresented groups through partnerships such as the Umoja and Puente programs, which aim to enhance the educational experience of underrepresented students through tailored curriculums and mentorship opportunities. Furthermore, the Berkeley Summer Experience introduces first-generation applicants to the university’s application and admissions process.
“Berkeley Summer Experience serves first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students; offers strategies for crafting a competitive UC Application while introducing these students to resources designed to help students succeed on the UC Berkeley campus,” Gilmore said in an email.
The “territory model,” which allows staff to establish relationships with local high school counselors and communities, is also helpful for outreach, according to Gilmore.
Transfer applications have stayed relatively stable, with 16,112 resident applications to UC Berkeley this year compared to 16,027 in 2022, according to university data.
Abeeha Hussain, a University of California Student Association transfer affairs officer, associated the decline of international applicants with the passing of bills promoting transfer students, such as AB 111 and AB 928, which serve to better align transfer student requirements amongst different California universities and thus increase transfer access for California residents.
The pandemic may have also had an effect on international application rates, Hussain noted.
“With the majority of students who applied for the Fall 2023 cycle being students who went to their previous institutions largely online, they were more likely to be impacted by the social, logistical, and national issues circulating from 2020 onwards,” Hussain said in an email. “We have to ask ourselves, how feasible is transfer for those living internationally with travel restrictions in many countries?”