UCLA receives most freshman applications of any U.S. public college

Students gather in a courtyard behind Kerckhoff Hall on the UCLA campus. The university received the most freshman applications of any U.S. public college this year.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

With its giant volume of applications from around the state and world, UCLA is once again the toughest UC campus to crack for students who want to enroll in the fall as a freshman.

According to statistics released Thursday, UCLA offered fall 2013 admission to only 17.4% of California residents who applied and to 20.1% of its overall applicants, including those from other states and nations.

As it has for several years, UCLA attracted the most freshman applications -- 80,494 this time -- of any public university in the nation, campus officials said.

UC Berkeley, which received 67,691 applications, had the next-worst odds for freshman admission at UC’s nine undergraduate campuses. Only 21.4% of its in-state applicants were offered freshman admission and the overall rate was 20.8%.

“The ever-increasing demand for a UCLA education and the competitiveness of our admissions process are testaments to our value as one of the world’s most prestigious universities and the destination point for exceptionally talented and motivated students,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement.


“Our admitted class represents the wide range of backgrounds that a public institution like UCLA should reflect,” he continued.

UC’s San Diego campus offered a seat to 36.8% of all its applicants; Santa Barbara, 38.8%; Davis, 39.4%; Irvine, 41.1%; Santa Cruz, 48.6%; Riverside, 54.7%; Merced 65.6%.

Over the last few years, money-strapped UC has aggressively courted non-Californians for the extra $23,000 in annual tuition they pay, and that trend is continuing, the statistics show.

UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego attracted the most applications from outside the state, and those students comprise at least one-third of the potential freshmen classes accepted by those campuses.

However, it won’t be clear how this will affect the final makeup of UC’s freshman class until all students send in their enrollment deposits, due by May 1. Out-of-staters tend to follow through on enrollment at lower rates than Californians.

Officials said they expect that non-Californians still will comprise less than 10% of UC’s undergraduates in 2013, in line with a ceiling set by the UC regents, although there will be larger clusters at campuses with the strongest global reputations.

“We continue to be inspired by the caliber of students who apply to the University of California,” Michael Treviño, UC director of undergraduate admissions, said in a statement released Thursday.

“We wish we could enroll more of them. Despite our budget constraints, however, we will honor the California Master Plan and offer a spot at one of our campuses to all students who qualify for guaranteed admission by being in the top 9% of the state or in their local high school.”

The increase in out-of-state and foreign students was not as steep as the 43% hike the year before, officials said. They also noted that the number of Californians admitted was larger than that of two years ago.


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