Admissions Policy Fair, Academic Senate Claims

The regents, including UC President Mark G. Yudof, criticized UCSD’s comprehensive-review system during a meeting in March, suggesting that the system works against attempts to admit more underrepresented minority students to the campus. The regents’ assessment came shortly after a series of racist incidents at UCSD prompted questions about how to build a more diverse student body.

“We got lambasted by all the regents and the president, and the assumption is that by fixing our admissions policy, it will fix campus climate and the number of underrepresented minorities on campus,” Academic Senate Chair William Hodgkiss said.

Committee on Admissions Chair John Eggers compared UCSD’s comprehensive review to the holistic review system employed by UC Berkeley and UCLA. Comprehensive review gives specific point allocations to factors such as academic achievements — which constitutes 74 percent of the total score — personal hardship and educational environment. Applicants are then ranked and admitted based on whether they make the cutoff score. However, in holistic review, applicants are evaluated overall with no specific weight given to any one factor. Students are given a score from one to five to determine whether they are recommended for acceptance.

In his presentation, Eggers said that — in the 2009-10 academic year — of the students who applied to both UCLA and UCSD, 74.3 percent of students were admitted to UCLA, 23.9 percent admitted to UCLA and not UCSD and 1.9 percent admitted to UCLA and not UCSD.

“When you look at the 1.9 percent of applicants who were admitted by UCSD but not UCLA, you start to see some disturbing trends,” he said.

According to Eggers, of the 1.9 percent not admitted to UCSD, the average UCSD comprehensive score is 300 to 400 points below the UCLA admissions cutoff score, and the average academic profile is lower in every category. He said that 37.6 percent come from families with high parental income, 88.3 percent were not first -generation college students and 93.5 percent were not from fourth or fifth quintile schools.

“UCLA didn’t admit them because of low parental income,” Eggers said. “Most of them weren’t first-generation students [and] didn’t come from bad schools, so that wasn’t the reason. After reflecting on the admissions data, we cannot determine why UCLA admitted these applicants.”

He added that UCSD accepted similar numbers of underrepresented minority students, but had historically low yield when compared to UCLA and Berkeley.

“The problem is not admitting people to UCSD,” he said. “The problem is getting them to come — that’s called yield, and that’s what we should be working on, not targeting the comprehensive review system.”

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