It looks to be the most competitive year for UC campuses.
Last month, the UCs released detailed enrollment data for last year's high school seniors, the class of 2021. Many high schools saw significant jumps in average admitted GPA to UC campuses that were typically more attainable.
Take University High School in Irvine for example:
Average Admitted GPAs:
UC Santa Cruz: 4.09 (2021) vs. 3.91 (2020)
UC Riverside: 4.03 (2021) vs. 3.9 (2020)
From what I have seen so far with UC decisions, I suspect the average admitted GPA to be even higher for this year's seniors across all campuses, but unfortunately, we most likely won't have that data until early 2023 after next years seniors apply.
I just had a IB diploma student with a 4.7 GPA get waitlisted at UC Santa Cruz. I was shocked. Granted, they probably thought she wouldn't go, waitlisting her only to see if she would opt in. Since she already has great options with strong merit scholarships, she probably won't choose UC Santa Cruz. But I don't recall UC campuses playing these enrollment games in the past.
1. If you have a kid applying to the UCs next fall, make sure they apply broadly, meaning they should apply to as many campuses as they will realistically consider. The UCs do not talk to one another, so applying to one campus does not affect your kid's chances at another campus.
2. Make sure they apply to several favorable schools outside of the UC system.
3. If your kid really has their heart set on a UC campus and doesn't get in, think about doing the TAG (Transfer Admissions Guarantee) at your local CA community campus.
MARCH 2022 University of CA Counselor Bulletin
"Systemwide applications climb to highest number ever in UC's 154-year history
The University of California recently announced that its campuses received a record-breaking number of applications for fall 2022, underscoring UC’s position as one of the most sought-after higher education systems in the world.
“The University of California remains an institution of choice for so many hardworking prospective undergraduates,” said President Michael V. Drake, M.D. “This diverse group of students has shown their commitment to pursuing higher education and we are thrilled they want to join us at UC.”
Systemwide freshman applications rose 3.5 percent, including a 3.3 percent growth for California freshman applicants. The university also saw an increase in the socioeconomic diversity of its California applicant pool for fall 2022. Systemwide, the proportion of California freshman applicants and California Community College (CCC) transfer applicants from low-income families grew to 46 percent and 56 percent respectively for the 2022 application period.
Community college enrollment declined nationally for fall 2021 due to the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This trend was especially true for CCCs, where enrollment declined by roughly 15 percent for fall 2020. That dramatic drop decreased the available pipeline of students applying to transfer to UC from CCCs for fall 2022. Systemwide, transfer applications decreased 12.6 percent. “UC is aware of the decrease in transfer applications and California Community College students across the system and is working to ensure that this critical group is supported in their efforts to apply at our campuses,” said Han Mi Yoon-Wu, executive director of Undergraduate Admissions at UC. “We are committed to having a strong and diverse pipeline of students.”
Chicano/Latino students comprised the largest ethnic group of the pool of California freshman applicants (38.1 percent) for the third year in a row, a 4.1 percent increase over the past year. Similarly, Chicano/Latino students comprised the largest ethnic group of the pool of CCC applicants (31.8 percent) for the fifth year in a row. In addition, important gains were made in systemwide freshman applications for fall 2022 from American Indian students (32.8 percent increase over the past year), African American students (2.8 percent increase over the past year) and Asian American students (5.8 percent increase over the past year).
Additional details about the fall 2022 applicants to the university can be found here, along with preliminary campus-by-campus breakdowns."