UC Davis hit a record high for the number of applications from high school seniors and transfer students for fall 2009, with a 5.4 percent increase compared to fall 2008.
A total of 51,298 people applied to enroll at UC Davis this upcoming fall quarter – a 3,000-application increase from last year, according to a UC Davis press release. This marks the second largest increase out of the nine Universities of California campuses, behind UC Riverside.
First-year student applications rose by 4.4 percent, while transfer applications saw a 10.7 percent increase.
The news of the large increase came only a week after the UC Board of Regents voted to reduce the enrollment rates of the incoming first-year students, due to state budget cuts.
The enrollment reduction for first-year students is estimated to be around 8 percent.
“The Undergraduate Admissions Office is still in the process of analyzing how many admissions we will need to achieve the new student enrollment targets for the campus,“ said Pamela Burnett, UC Davis‘s director of Undergraduate Admissions.
In the fall of 2008, first-year student enrollment was approximately 4,800. The regents‘ decision to curtail enrollment will reduce that number by 385 students.
However, the enrollment reduction will not affect transfer students as heavily, since the regents are allowing a 500-student systemwide increase in transfer student enrollment. For UC Davis, this means there can be 50 more transfer student spots, compared to last year‘s 1,770.
Burnett believes the high increase in applications is the result of “a greater public awareness that UC Davis is a campus where students can experience such a high quality comprehensive education, and in a beautiful, safe, college town setting.“
The number of underrepresented student applications decidedly increased across the board this year.
Applicants of African American, American Indian and Chicano/Latino descent together increased by 12.4 percent, accounting for 9,005 of the applications.
Native American applicants had the highest percentage increase at 34 percent. However, the number of applicants submitted only increased from 209 to 280.
Within the Native American community, the top students usually choose other well-known universities, such as UCLA or UC Berkeley over UC Davis, said Isaac Kinney, a Native American studies major who is of Native American descent.
“This means we‘re getting a little recognition outside of Davis,“ Kinney said.
However, some see problems with students utilizing the Native American identity to gain an edge in the admissions process.
“In a way this is shattered hope,“ said Reynaldo Rodriguez, the Native Empowered through Unity and Education (NE‘UE) student administrator. “[Applications] grew but not really. A lot of the time there are box checkers.“
“Box checkers“ are students who choose to check the box for an ethnic group that is not their own because they feel that it could give them an advantage.
These box checkers are usually discovered when the Native American Student Union contacts these students and finds out they lied on their application, Rodriguez said.
“Even if the applications increased this year does not mean that UC Davis is becoming more diverse,“ said Ta‘Sheema Taylor, retention coordinator for ACE, African-Diaspora Cultivating Education.
ACE and NE‘UE are two of the six components within the Student Recruitment and Retention Center, which is dedicated to recruiting and retaining minority students at UC Davis.
“The challenge for us is to get students who actually get accepted to choose Davis,“ Taylor said.
“The SRRC is holding Senior Weekend, an event that brings students to UC Davis to try to recruit more underrepresented students, and the center is in contact with admission to start landing pages for these underrepresented communities,“ Taylor said.
With the increase in applications for UC Davis and the decreasing enrollment space, it‘s likely there will be more students rejected by UC Davis for fall 2009.
“The UCD undergraduate admissions staff will, as usual, implement the faculty‘s established admission selection policy, using comprehensive review criteria,“ Burnett said. “The part that is always hardest on our compassionate staff is responding to disappointed and upset students who have been denied admission.“
However, students who are not accepted can still fulfill their dream of obtaining a UC Davis degree by attending a California community college and transfer at the third year level, Burnett said.
MINH PHAM can be reached at email@example.com.