UC decision, admission process evokes mixed reactions

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NEWS: Students react to the release of UC admissions decisions

Sam Bernstein staff writer

Jude Binkley staff writer

All decisions regarding admissions into University of California (UC) schools came out Thursday, March 29 and students on campus had mixed reactions. While some students learned that they got into their dream schools, some got rejected from schools they believed they would cruise into.

“I was expecting to get into UCLA; it was pretty crushing to be rejected,” senior Evan Timmerman said. “Just based on average GPAs and test scores, I thought I had an edge over most other people, but there were just so many people applying that not everybody who expected to get in got in.”

Other students who didn’t get into the school of their choice are now considering two-year options. Santa Monica College (SMC), the closest community college to BHHS, is a viable option for many. Senior Michael Huang, who did not get into any of the UCs he applied to, hopes to use SMC as a launching pad to a UC.

“SMC is my backup and it has always been a backup plan for me. After a year, I can easily transfer,” Huang said.

However, Huang has not settled on SMC. One option available to students involved in band, like Huang, is to send in a band appeal. While most schools do not offer this type of appeal, UCLA does and it is a viable option for those who were not accepted through the normal admissions process. If a band appeal is accepted, the student is offered admission to the school.

“Through the appeal, I play four scales as well as select a piece that shows my ability in my trumpet playing,” Huang said.

Some students who did not get into the UC of their choice found out-of-state options for their college education. Senior Gabe Arye, who was not admitted into three of the four UCs he applied to, was accepted by Brandeis University in Massachusetts. However, getting rejected by his dream schools still took a toll on Arye.

“UCLA was one of the first schools to get back to me and to see them reject me was a little heartbreaking, especially since my father went there and knowing I will not go there hurts. It made me a little depressed but then I kept looking forward to getting the rest of my decisions from other schools,” Arye said.

Even though many students had complaints that admission rates have been dropping over the years, college counselor Casey Rowley believes that this is only partially true.

“While the national four-year acceptance rate is 66 percent, the selective institutions’ acceptance rates have gone down,” Rowley said.

While most schools have released decisions, the college admissions process is not quite over.

“We’re still hearing, the [students] who have come back with good news, we’re really excited for them, especially when you look at early action and decision students, we’ve done very well. We do have waitlist offers from students which can be really tough,” Rowley said. “I don’t think it’s any more than it has been in the past but it’s a big pool, especially the UCs tend to use [waitlist offers] a lot.”Infographic by: Priscilla Hopper media manager.

Although many seniors applied to UC schools, Rowley brought up the diversity of many students’ applications pools, stating that many seniors have been applying to schools nationally and internationally. She noted that a diverse application pool like this is one way to help prevent disappointment during application season. According to Rowley, not having a balanced college pool was also one of the biggest mistakes a student could make when applying to colleges.

“It’s really hard as a senior to add a less selective school that could be a really good fit for you if you haven’t had enough time to fall in love with it. The biggest mistake is not starting earlier in the research process of building a balanced college list,” Rowley said.

While seniors must commit to their college by May 1, Rowley has been looking forward to what the college center can do for students who apply in future years. One of these programs being offered is a college admission case study.

“We are pulling universities in and they will walk students through a mock college application review. So the students and parents will get to admit, deny and waitlist an applicant,” Rowley said. “So they will learn from an admission officer how they review applications.”

The college admission case study will take place on May 14 in the Salter Theatre.

OPINION: The practicality of college is rapidly decreasing as difficulty to apply inflates

Catherine Gagulashvili culture editor

Students applying to four-year universities can only hope they receive a large envelope from their dream school. For some, the fascination with getting accepted into an admired university began when they crossed the high school threshold. For others, it started as early as elementary school. Yet, with the increasing difficulty and the rising expectation to attend a “good” four-year university, many students’ hopes are getting crushed. It’s only getting more difficult, and that’s not okay.

Recently, it has become more difficult to be admitted into a selective university, yet the expectations of going to one, as well as receiving any real or perceived benefits from doing so, have skyrocketed. Nationwide, a small percentage of universities attain an elite status, and nothing has helped them more in achieving that status than continuously rejecting an ever-increasing cohort of overqualified high school applicants.

For prior generations, being admitted into a top school was a less stressful act, one that could be accomplished by applying to only one school. Now, a high schooler thinking about going to a college listed among the top-50 national universities will apply to anywhere between six to 20 schools, all with the hopes of being accepted to at least one. The heightened competition has created a perverse Catch-22 situation: the higher the perceived benefits of attending an “it” school, the more students try to get admitted; the more students try to get in, the more selective the schools’ admissions office become.

Going to any college has become less of an accomplishment: now societal honors and tributes are reserved only for those “elite” applicants who are deemed worthy by the “elite” schools. This, however, wouldn’t be problematic if so many students weren’t being arbitrarily turned away by these colleges. With tens of thousands of highly accomplished students competing for a few thousand spots at the top-branded universities, the admissions process has deteriorated into an enigmatic game of chance. Each top university claims that it has a logical, holistic system through which its admissions office accepts and rejects applicants. However, as many admissions insiders attest, the difficulty of distinguishing between thousands of nearly identical, well-qualified applicants have turned the admissions system into a true lottery.   

As individuals, we are responsible for creating an environment in which we all have a fair opportunity in becoming productive and contributing members to society. Rather than being obsessed as a society with getting into the “top” college, we should concentrate on less glamorous but more useful pursuits, such as making college attendance more affordable for all students and ensuring that every member of society has the fair opportunity to receive a top-tier level of education.

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