UCSB accepts incoming class
College applications have changed this year, with more schools instituting a pass/fail grading system and a growing number of colleges not requiring ACT/SAT test scores — including UCSB.
The University of California system received the most undergraduate applications for fall 2021 in its history. It leapt 16.1% from the previous year for all grades, and freshman applications increased by 18.4%.
“Our record number of applications is a testament to the resilience of students and their families as well as their undeterred focus on higher education,” UC President Dr. Michael V. Drake said in a news release. “Californians continue to see us as the pathway for a better future.”
In-state applications increased 13%.
Katie Le, a high-school senior from San José, was accepted into the class of 2025 at UCSB (although she thinks she may attend elsewhere). She told the News-Press her perspective on admissions.
She took the SAT test at school with the rest of the junior class March 4, 2020. She feels lucky, as testing dates were canceled just two weeks later.
The pandemic shut down and altered extracurricular activities for her.
Lacrosse games were canceled for almost a year, and she had to lead a peer tutoring group virtually.
“The club I founded had to indefinitely postpone the fundraisers and volunteer events we had planned for the year. Everything was a huge bummer, but I understand it was all necessary,” she said.
She founded another club, though, called PseudoServe. Members deliver food to high-risk community members.
The extracurricular section of her application changed a lot over the past year, but she was brave to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic.
She didn’t encounter any essay prompts about the pandemic. Some applications through third-party programs asked how the pandemic may have altered grades or challenged students, but the University of California system did not ask.
She was drawn to UCSB for its location and strong reputation academically, but she was only able to take a virtual tour of campus.
“Selecting a college has been pretty difficult with the pandemic and everything,” she said. “In the fall, I’m probably going to move into campus without ever having seen it before.
“It’s been challenging to choose a college because a huge factor into the decision is location. The virtual tours really can’t capture the true ambiance and environment of the school.”
UCSB’s website includes tours and a glimpse into the day of distance learners during the pandemic. Miss Le is set on in-person instruction, though, as she’s burned out from Zoom classes.
In an interview with NPR’s “All Things Considered,” UCSB’s director of admissions Lisa Przekop says she spends more time on individual applications.
“They’re applying for college which is stressful in and of itself,” she told NPR. “And so what we found is a lot of students used their essays to talk about depression, anxiety, things like this.”
She looks at how students challenged themselves and takes into consideration that some courses were canceled this year.
In 2020, UCSB accepted almost 37% of applications, up from 30% in 2019, according to University of California data.
Despite an increase in admissions, enrollment was slightly behind 2019. Some students may have found another university; others may have taken a year off.