Applications to UC Davis increased by 11.4 percent compared to last year. The University received a total of 69,642 applicants for the class of 2017, as opposed to last year’s 62,515.
Of this group, 22,008 applicants received acceptance letters, creating an admit rate of 39.4 percent. Of the applicants admitted, 5,065 are out-of-state residents and 16,943 are California residents, leading to an admit rate just below 50 percent for out-of-state students and 85 percent for California residents, according to Walter Robinson, executive director of Undergraduate Admissions.
“The perception is that UC Davis is displacing Californians with national and international students. We’re not replacing [them], but our goal is global diversity, and if we’re going to have global diversity we definitely need to admit students from around the globe,” Robinson said. “But at the end of the day, we are forever committed to providing access to as many Californians as possible.”
Of the 5,065 non-Californian students that were offered admissions, 1,845 are national students and 3,220 are international students.
“The board on admissions has a policy that says national and international admits must compare favorably to Californians [and] that way we’re not admitting students who are less competitive than Californians,” Robinson said.
More international students were issued letters of acceptance than national students since the University assumes students from the United States may attend their own states’ public universities, according to Robinson.
According to the University of California Office of the President, this year 55,877 freshman applications were received, with 13,765 transfer applicants. Last year, there were 49,389 freshman applicants and 13,126 transfer applicants.
The exact number of students who have submitted their letters of intent to register is still being determined as Undergraduate Admissions continues to receive them. However, the enrollment goal is 5,100 freshmen, according to Robinson.
“Given that we had a freshman applicant pool of 55,850 in which to select and enroll a class of 5,100, it was a highly competitive year, and as a result, our academic qualities increased and the admission rate dropped to 39.4 percent in comparison to 45.7 percent in fall 2012,” said Darlene Hunter, deputy director of Undergraduate Admissions.
The enrollment goal and admissions decisions were not affected by the 2020 Initiative, but were focused on ensuring that there are enough bed spaces in the residence halls and sections for critical courses for incoming freshmen.
“This year, quite honestly, we weren’t as ready as we would [have liked] to be to go out more aggressively, so we went out a little more conservatively than what the 2020 Initiative is calling for. When we do enrollment planning we have to take into consideration how many students [we can] really reasonably support,” Robinson said.
The average GPA and SAT scores of the class of 2017 are higher than last year’s class, which, according to Robinson, were the highest it had ever been. In 2012, the average total SAT score range was 1700 to 2100, and the average GPA range was 3.93 to 4.21.
“UC Davis made it easy to make a decision because they offered the most financial aid. It is a prestigious school, and from what I have heard, a very friendly and welcoming campus,” said incoming first-year student Gisela Abraira from Lawndale, Calif. Abraira plans on studying animal biology, and has a 4.0 GPA.
The quality of the class of 2017 in comparison to previous classes is “superior to any year in the history of UC Davis by every academic indicator measured,” Robinson said. However, though academic achievement is a critical factor when reviewing applications, Robinson said an applicant’s story also plays a role.
Robinson said examples include applicants with limited means, such as attending an under-resourced school, but being able to rise above their status, and a more privileged student optimizing their opportunities and excelling beyond their situations.
“I get equally excited about all of those segments of our population because diversity to me is value added to the educational experience. I don’t care if it’s socioeconomic diversity, geographical diversity, sexual orientation diversity — whatever brings the most dynamic mix of students together with our dynamic faculty is an exciting place to come and learn and grow,” he said.
Robinson said he believes that the class of 2017 is the most diverse in comparison to previous graduating classes.
“We are committed to educating Californians first and foremost, but we’re also committed to becoming a global university. Our students deserve it and not everyone gets to go, so I think it’s important that we bring the world to Davis,” Robinson said.
LILIANA NAVA OCHOA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org