UC Santa Cruz received an all-time high number of applications for fall 2016 — 49,135 prospective freshman and another 9,969 transfer students. Over spring break, the admissions office sent admittance letters to 24,704 of those prospective freshmen, an admit rate just over 50 percent.
Director of Admissions Michael McCawley said he expects UCSC to enroll 4,300 and is aiming for 3,800 residents and 500 nonresidents. Admitted freshmen included about 74 percent residents, 11 percent out-of-state and 15 percent international students. Last fall, UCSC enrolled 3,618 frosh.
This increase in campus enrollment is an effect of the UC Office of the President’s mandate to enroll 10,000 more students systemwide, with an emphasis on in-state students. In fall 2015, 4.8 percent of the UCSC freshman class were out-of-state students, but the admit rate for nonresident freshmen was 83.9 percent — the highest rate in the UC system.
With the increasing number of applicants, UCSC’s expectations for admittance are also increasing. The mean GPA for admitted freshmen was 3.90 this fall, and average test scores also rose to an 1868 SAT and 28 ACT (2400 and 36 are perfect scores, respectively). McCawley said 10,000 prospective students were offered the opportunity to join the waitlist, with admission not guaranteed, as of Tuesday evening 4,740 have accepted this offer.
“The application pool was very strong, academically speaking, and had grown by more than 3,800 students from fall 2015,” said McCawley.
The UC system was recently audited for its admission standards. The California state government found the UC was not prioritizing in-state enrollment as promised. The list of offenses by the UC included admitting out-of-state students with lower academic qualifications and increasing nonresident enrollment by 82 percent.
The UC estimated it was accepting 14.9 percent of the California high school graduating class, but the state audit found it was actually 12.4, 0.1 percent less than the required commitment from the state.
UC admissions were also in hot water after UCSC accidentally sent admittance letters to 4,000 students who had never applied. Elias Oxman, a senior in Bethesda, Maryland, was among the students mistakenly admitted.
“I was a little confused by it because I had started a UC application, but I had only selected UC San Diego and UCLA as the schools I was going to apply to, but I never actually ended up finishing my application,” Oxman said.
Michael McCawley emailed all incorrectly admitted students to apologize for the “embarrassing mistake.”
“Each year I read about such things happening around the country and try to have protocols in place to ensure it won’t happen to our campus, but obviously those protocols were not followed,” he said.