Friday, March 30, 2018
Maybe more extracurricular activities would have done it - Part 3
David Hogg isn't alone: UC acceptance rates are shockingly low
By David Curran, Thursday, March 29, 2018, San Francisco Chronicle
The news that "March for Our Lives" organizer David Hogg, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, was rejected by four UC schools became a national story over the past couple of days. It grew into an even bigger story after TV pundit Laura Ingraham criticized Hogg for "whining" about his college rejections.
But, while Ingraham's mocking of a school shooting survivor was hard to ignore, what stood out for many people was that Hogg was denied admission to UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine even though he had a 4.2 GPA.
Has it really become that competitive to get into UC? Seeing a rejection like Hogg's is why many folks who went to college 20 or 30 years ago are quite confident they could never get into the UC system now. It's also why so many current high schoolers are extremely anxious about their chances of making the UC cut.
Some say it has always been hard to get into the UC system, but a look at the applicant numbers over the past 20 years shows how much more competitive it has become. In 1997, 56,851 students applied to be freshmen in the UC system and 44,740 (78.6 percent) were accepted. In 2017, 171,858 applied and 104,822 (61 percent) were accepted.
But at the schools David Hogg applied to, the percentage accepted has gotten far more daunting in the past 20 years. In 1997, UC Berkeley had 27,272 applicants and 8,565 (31.4 percent) got in. At UCLA, 29,299 applied and 10,648 (36.3 percent) were admitted.
By contrast, in 2017 UC Berkeley had 85,054 applicants and only 14,549 (17.1 percent) were accepted. And UCLA had 102,226 applicants and 16,456 (16 percent) were accepted. Hogg also applied to UC San Diego and UC Irvine, which have also seen significant changes in acceptance rates over the past 20 years.
At UC Berkeley, the "snapshot" of admitted 2017 applicants (the middle 25 to 75 percent) included a 4.15-4.30 GPA as well as low-end SAT scores of a combined 1280. While David Hogg's grades appear to make the cut, his SATs were actually a little below this bar at 1270.
There are many factors for such a huge jump in the UC applicant numbers over the past 20 years. The common app makes it easy for students to apply to several UCs at the same time. But there are also just many more students applying.
A very noticeable jump is the 13-fold increase in international students' applications, and their rate of acceptance has soared as well. In 1997, 2,019 international students applied to be freshmen at UC schools and 798 (39.5 percent) were accepted. In 2017, 27,193 applied and 18,067 (66.4 percent) were accepted.