UC Davis undergraduate applications continue to rise

According to the University of California Office of the President (UCOP), UC Davis received a total of 74,909 undergraduate applications for Fall Quarter 2014. Of the 74,909, freshman applications accounted for 60,496, while transfer applications accounted for 14,413. UC Davis experienced a 7.6 percent increase in total applications from 2013.

According to Walter Robinson, executive director of UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions, the increase is because of a strategic recruitment plan created when Robinson started at UC Davis in September 2011.

“We’ve been very intentional with our recruitment efforts,” Robinson said. “We have identified places where we should go and activities we should engage in in our outreach and recruitment. And it’s starting to pay off.”

Of the total UC Davis freshman applicants, 46,757 are California residents, 4,326 are out-of-state students and 9,413 are international students. While there is only a 2.2 percent increase in California resident applications, out-of-state and international applications increased by 27.8 percent and 39.5 percent, respectively, from 2013.

For transfers, there were 11,843 California resident applicants, 203 out-of-state applicants and 2,367 international applicants.

“I think it is great that UC Davis is becoming more well-known among international students,” said Moira Delgada, UC Davis outreach coordinator. “I would have loved to have international friends as both an undergraduate and graduate. International students can play the role of global educators, especially to students, staff and faculty who have not had the chance to live or study abroad.”

However, Delgado worries that students will misinterpret the increase in international and out-of-state applications as favoritism towards students from these regions. According to Delgado, UC Davis is committed to maintaining the current allotment of California residents.

“My fear is that the general public reading these statistics will wrongly assume, as some did last year, that international students are taking spots away from domestic students,” Delgado said. “The general public sometimes doesn’t realize … that the tuition from out-of-state and international students is helping UC schools to overcome the loss in funding at the state level.”

According to Robinson, the large increase in out-of-state and international students has been a result of recent efforts by UC Davis to reach out to students globally and across the country. He said that the UC has been “very California-centric” since its creation in 1868.

“The perception that the world had about the University of California was that we didn’t have an interest in people outside of the state of California. For the last several years, we’ve been trying to change that perception as we’ve become more globally diverse,” Robinson said . “It’s hard to keep something as good as the University of California a secret from the rest of the world and the rest of the country.”

From the pool of California residents, 4.8 percent of freshman applicants identify as African American, 0.7 percent identify as American Indian, 38.7 percent identify as Asian American, 25.6 percent identify as Chicano/Latino, 0.4 percent identify as Pacific Islander and 26.7 percent identify as white, leaving three percent of applicants who did not provide a racial report. Out of all ethnic groups, Chicano/Latino applicants saw the largest rise, with 2,125 more applicants than 2012.

According to Robinson, UC Davis has spent a large amount of effort and time recruiting students from schools in Chicano/Latino communities.

“Chicano/Latino is the most rapidly growing population in the state,” Robinson said. “I’d say that the majority of all students that are in a K-12 sector of California public schools are of Chicano/Latino descent. I’m proud of the fact that the University of California is starting to reflect more so the diversity of the state.”

For Fall Quarter 2014, of the freshman applicants from California, 41.1 percent will be first-generation college students, 36.7 percent came from low-income families and 20.7 percent came from high schools with a low Academic Performance Index (API) determined by an API score of one to four.

With its recent opening in September 2013, Robinson does not believe the UC Davis Welcome Center has had enough time to have a large impact on this year’s applications. However, Robinson predicts that, in time, UC Davis will be able to correlate applicant outcomes to the Welcome Center’s efforts.

Due to an increase in applications, Robinson anticipates UC Davis’ admit rate will continue to fall.

“As our applications continue to grow, our pool gets bigger,” Robinson said. “If our enrollment target stays pretty flat then the admit rate will continue to drop. I anticipate that this year’s admit rate will drop a bit.”

Supna Nair, a first-year biological sciences major, believes UC Davis’ competitiveness helps attract students to the university.

“I went here because it was higher ranking than the other schools I got into, so competitiveness helps,” Nair said.

Across the UC system, there was a total of 183,272 students who applied to a UC for Fall Quarter 2014, an overall increase of 4.9 percent since Fall 2013. This would make 2014 the 10th consecutive year in which the UC saw an increase in applications.

According to the UCOP, Chicanos/Latinos, the largest racial group among California high school graduates, remained the largest ethnic group among California freshman applicants for the second consecutive year, with a total of 32,580 applicants.

“As a Chicana undergraduate student at UC Davis, it really fills me with joy to know that the Chicano/Latino students are the largest ethnic group among California freshman applicants, and even more that it’s the second consecutive year,” said Angela Munoz, co-chair of Hermanas Unidas de UC Davis. “I know that there still is a long way to go, but it’s a step towards having more students of color in the UC system.”

The overall number of transfer applicants to UC saw a slight dip from the previous year with a decrease of 0.5 percent.

Robinson expects the increase in applications to help with the movement of the 2020 Initiative. The 2020 Initiative is a proposal introduced by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi in November 2011 that seeks to sustain and expand excellence at UC Davis by expanding the overall enrollment to UC Davis with the addition of 5,000 students by the year 2020.

“In notion of diversity in the broadest context, access in the broadest context, excellence in the broadest context, 20/20 has given us an opportunity to achieve all three of those objectives,” Robinson said .

According to Robinson, UC Davis looks for the type of student who is well-rounded and has a passion towards making a contribution.

“I will proudly say as a Californian, I think it’s part of the California DNA that we are activists,”  Robinson said. “I was raised as an activist. There’s a value that should be placed on students who are activists.”

According to Robinson, UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions is still working on a final enrollment target, but he predicts the number to be comparable to the previous year. Due to the expected completion of the Tercero residence halls by Fall 2014, Robinson predicts a slightly larger enrollment target.

“I think that the University of California Davis continues to be one of the top universities in the University of California system, therefore one of the top universities in the country, and more and more people are starting to realize that,” Robinson said.

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