Transfer Admission Requirements Will Stifle Diversity

If campus administrators want to take a giant step away from accessibility and diversity, its new transfer admissions policy of raising the minimum GPA from 3.0 to 3.5 does the job.

The new policy — implemented under the Transfer Admission Guarantee program — is a direct response to ever-worsening state budget cuts and ever-growing applicant pools. The logic is that if it’s harder to get into UCSD, fewer people will apply, and issues of overenrollment would solve themselves.

But the new practice is contradictory in light of UCSD’s recent switch to holistic admissions to increase diversity. Increasing the ethnic diversity of the freshman class only to compromise that of third-year transfers represents a step back to square one.

What’s more, many incoming freshmen may not even get in with a 3.5 GPA. There’s little justifiable reason for transfer students to be held to a more rigorous standards than their peers are.

The raised requirement is also the highest of all undergraduate UC campuses who use TAG. It decreases accessibility — one of the UC system’s founding goals — by violating the goals of TAG. The program guarantees admission to California students who fulfill certain course requirements at a community college and have a certain GPA, which at most campuses is 3.0 According to admissions director Mae Brown, the five-year-old program has seen applications grow from 443 in its first year to 8,715 for fall admissions this year.

The new policy also goes against the diversity efforts of UCSD, who boasted higher numbers of underrepresented minorities after reaching out to transfer students. By imposing a higher GPA requirement for students from a community college — where there is often a more ethnically diverse student population — the university is discouraging participation in the program.

It’s obvious that we don’t have the capacity to maintain current enrollment levels; according to Brown, our limited resources can only accommodate about 2,300. And it’s true that the change could potentially help solve the problem of over-enrollment; according to Brown, under the new guidelines, the applicant pool will be reduced by a whooping 50 percent. Currently, however, the mean GPA of admitted transfer students is already 3.55, so the evidence that enrollment will shrink is far from conclusive. That’s why it’d be pointless to create a new policy when the university probably accepts exceptional and deserving people with low GPAs — as probable under the new holistic admissions process.

But the new requirement directly cuts from some of the least privileged students on campus. It goes against the efforts of administrators who are reaching out to community colleges, where student population are more racially diverse — and will reconstruct barriers for students who come from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.

Individuals have varying extenuating circumstances that may surprisingly make them a good fit for UCSD.



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