UCs Plummeting Acceptance Rates


Ella Bloom

Following the recent release of UC admissions decisions, many students hav experienced disappointment at rejections and waitlists. These universities that once had medium-high acceptance rates are denying more students than ever, and many wonder why.

During these past two weeks, the UC decisions have been slowly rolling out to expecting high school seniors. After completing the UC application by its deadline over 4 months ago, students have been painstakingly anticipating the outcome. However, the results were not what many students expected.

There are many factors that come into play when applying for college. Grade point averages, extracurricular activities, teacher recommendations and work experience, to name a few. Application season this past fall/winter for me and my fellow seniors meant compiling every last achievement, interest or test score into an organized profile, in an effort to show each college who we truly are.

The UC application was somewhat different, in this sense. UC schools do not take into account any teacher, counselor or mentor letter of recommendation, nor do they accept AP, SAT or ACT test scores. Furthermore, the burden of the application falls upon a student’s GPA, their activities list, and the infamous four “PIQs”. Without such a large array of things to look at/consider, the weight falls on a student’s GPA and the academic rigor of their past courses.

So why are so many students getting rejected from the UC schools?

First and foremost, the UC schools are receiving more applications than they know what to do with. UCSB, for example, received a record number of applications this year. Even though plenty of students could be more than deserving of a spot at this campus, there is simply not enough room to accommodate them. This makes the acceptance rate fall even lower, and the only students admitted are the “cream of the crop”, so to speak.

Ever since the pandemic, the admissions rates at all schools, not just the UCs, have drastically changed. Many students admitted for the fall of ‘20 or ‘21 chose to take a gap year, while still being ‘enrolled’ at the college. These students, although rightfully admitted at the college, have taken spots away from prospective students who are looking to apply and be admitted for the following year. Many of these rejections narrow down to a space issue within the schools itself. The UC schools are looking at a large number of applicants, with a little amount of information from each one.

If an individual makes it their goal to get accepted to a UC and happen to fall short, it does not mean the end. UCs take a large number of transfer students, and there are many community colleges that are near these Universities, offering a similar education to prepare a student for a future transfer. For example, Santa Barbara City College is very close to UCSB, and students at this city college have the opportunity to transfer to UCSB after 2 years, and have a much better chance of being admitted.

With this decrease in acceptance rates, it can be easy for students to put a large amount of academic pressure on themselves. It is important for students to remember that it is an achievement, a testament to get accepted into any school, no matter the rank or status.