University of California (UC) released their preliminary data for the fall 2018 entering class. A quick recap captured in our 2017 post before we dive into the 2018 numbers. In 2015, an agreement was reached between the CA legislators and UC to increase the instate enrollment by 10,000 over 3 years. The increases were slated to be 5,000 in Fall 2016, 2,500 in Fall 2017 and 2,500 in Fall 2018 across the whole University of California system. Each campus had a fair degree of autonomy as to how to enact the increase in admissions. According to the official UC release, they enrolled an additional 7,400 California students in Fall 2016. Overall, UCs have a larger percentage of in-state student enrollment as compared to many other state universities.
Let us look at the 2018 numbers: Applications numbers for 2018 were a record high with Berkeley, UCSD, UCLA, UCSB, and Irvine campuses each receiving over 70,000 applications (with UCLA nearing 100,000 applications). California student applications varied between 50,000-67,000 per campus across the different campuses. Many more students applied to every single UC campus as compared to 2017 or 2016. Across the entire UC system spanning 9 campuses, they offered admission to 1,114 more California students.
In 2018, however, most campuses (except Merced, UCD, and UCSB) have seen fewer California students get an offer of admission as compared to 2017. Some campuses have also seen a drop in out of state offers in admissions, while other campuses have seen an increase. Irvine has seen the largest drop, perhaps to compensate for the “extra” offers of admission in 2017 that had caused a furor with Irvine initially rescinding and then later reinstating the extra offers of admission.
Analyzing the numbers, suggests two things:
- Many students are cross applying across the different UC campuses, and
- UC’s are pretty much operating at full capacity.
A quick glance at the California admission rates shows jaw dropping decreases in admission rates (though partly propelled by the large application numbers). Berkeley and UCLA are giving elite private universities a stiff competition with their low admission rates!
It appears that a similar scenario is being played out at the Cal State Universities, with Cal Poly and Cal Poly Pomona becoming very competitive. Many of the majors and campuses in the CSU system are impacted leading to many candidates being denied admission. There is a proposal under consideration to offer eligible candidates an offer of admission at a different CSU campus.
The UCs are undoubtedly competitive and it is increasingly challenging to get an offer of admission. This challenge is magnified in sought-after majors. What further adds to the woe is that many of the CSU’s are also operating at max capacity, and it has become challenging to get an offer of admission. Fall of 2018 also saw the largest increase in the number of transfer applicants and the transfer admission rates are becoming fairly competitive. However, 1,851 more transfer students were offered admission in 2018 as compared to 2017, bringing the total transfer admission offers up to 28,755 transfer students across the UC system, of whom 24,568 are California students. The transfer student admissions are a little over 25%, as compared to the freshman admission number of 108,017, of whom 71,086 students are California students.
These numbers are still preliminary as they contain the waitlist numbers. We’ll have a better sense in fall once the students head to college. Though it is doubtful that the trends are going to be any different.
TLDR: If you are a California student applying for Fall 2019, it makes a lot of sense to look at various options, just based on the current trends in a fast-changing college landscape.