UCSD Admits More Underrepresented Students

UCSD, often criticized for a lack of diversity, increased its admittance of underrepresented students by 16.6 percent this year, as the total number of applicants reached an all-time high.

As a result of Proposition 209, students of ethnic backgrounds are not given advantages in getting into UCSD. Proposition 209 ends all affirmative action practices in hiring, firing, admissions and contract awards have been illegal in California state-funded organizations for over two years.

Assistant Vice Chancellor Richard Backer said that the higher number of underrepresented students is an indication of the higher caliber of applicants overall.

“”For both African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, the response is the same,”” he said about why he thinks there was an increase in African-American admissions. He also attributed the higher numbers to the increasing popularity of the campus. Backer also said that students are becoming better prepared for a UCSD education.

Admittance of African-Americans increased to 239, up 16.6 percent from last year. Latino admittance is up to 379, which is an increase of 17 percent.

Admittance of Native Americans decreased by 8.5 percent to 55. Backer said this is nothing to be alarmed about, as the decrease in statistics is not an accurate representation of a change in the number of Native Americans at this school.

Because the number of Native American applicants is already low, any small increase or decrease has a large effect on percentages.

“”Native Americans do not have the college-going tradition of other groups,”” Backer said. “”We have been more aggressive in the last two years to change that by visiting reservations more frequently.””

However, the increased percentage of underrepresented students is only a small part of what the admissions data suggests about UCSD’s changing ways.

UCSD received 38,161 applications, the second highest in the UC system this year. More than 16,300 students were admitted this year, breaking last year’s record by more than 2,600 students.

“”We get so many applications because we are a great university in a great location that provides a first-rate education and social experience,”” Backer said. “”Students want to be here.””

The school expects a lower percentage of those admitted to register this year, and is planning on a freshman class of 3,850 students. There were 2,600 more students admitted this year than last year, with only 650 additional spots.

In addition, the 4.04 average GPA of those admitted is an indication that UCSD has reached the academic level of other prestigious and academically celebrated schools.

“”We are attracting a higher caliber of student who also consider UCLA, Cal, the Ivies, Stanford, etc.,”” Backer said.

Unlike the other schools in this category, UCSD offers the five-college system, which has lured many students.

“”Students are recognizing what a great school UCSD is,”” Backer said. “”We are becoming well-known in California and nationally. The college system is also one of our greatest assets.””

The number of applications has slowly risen over the last five years, thanks in part to UCSD’s public relations department, which has been successful in making prospective students aware of what UCSD has to offer.

“”A lot of people aggressively publicize and market the best-kept secret in Southern California,”” Backer said.

In addition, Backer feels that the work of the Student Affairs Office has been an asset in the school’s attempt to recruit new students.

“”[It has been helped by] the very assertive and aggressive role by Student Affairs to make the quality of campus life as strong and fulfilling as possible,”” he said. “”The best recruiters we have are you, the students.””

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