One of the University of California’s highest priorities is to ensure that a UC education remains accessible to all Californians who meet its admissions standards. This goal is articulated in California’s Master Plan for Higher Education, which calls for UC to admit all eligible freshmen and transfers, with freshman eligibility designed to capture the top 12.5 percent of California public high school graduates. It also calls for UC to admit all eligible transfer students from California Community Colleges (CCCs) who apply.
Of the over 215,000 applications for admission in fall 2020, about 172,000 students applied as freshmen and 43,000 as transfers. Campus admission decisions are based on a comprehensive review of qualifications and establish the incoming California resident class size based on State funding. Over the last five years, UC’s total undergraduate enrollment of California residents increased by more than 18,000: 1,500 in fall 2020, 2,500 in fall 2019, 3,000 in fall 2018, 4,000 in fall 2017, and 7,000 in fall 2016.
For 2020–21, UC is also estimated to have achieved its enrollment capacity goal of enrolling a 2:1 systemwide ratio of freshman to transfer California resident undergraduates, excluding Merced, for the fourth year in a row. The UC Transfer Pathways program supports this goal by helping community college students prepare for transfer admission to the most popular majors at UC campuses. Under a new agreement with the California Community Colleges, UC has created a Transfer Guarantee program, Pathways+, for community college students who meet certain criteria. This campus and major guarantee accompanies and is complimentary to UC's systemwide transfer guarantee program. The first cohort for the Pathways+ program is expected to enroll in fall 2021.
ADMISSIONS — FRESHMEN
UC utilizes a comprehensive review process to make admission decisions, considering not only completion of rigorous college preparatory courses and high school GPA, but also talents, special projects, accomplishments in light of life experiences and circumstances, extracurricular activities, and community service.
The rapid growth in freshman applications to UC over the past two decades demonstrates the increased demand for a college education, the growth of California’s population, and UC’s continued popularity. UC continues to reach its Master Plan goals by guaranteeing admission to California resident applicants who are either in the top nine percent of high school graduates statewide or the top nine percent of graduates from their own high schools. Qualified freshman applicants are offered an opportunity to be admitted to another UC campus if they do not receive an offer of admission from the UC campuses where they applied.
ADMISSIONS — TRANSFERS
Almost all transfer students enter UC as upper-division juniors. Campus enrollment targets are based on State funding as well as capacity in major programs at the upper-division level.
UC’s Transfer Pathways identify a common set of lower-division courses for each of 20 of the most popular majors among transfer applicants. The Transfer Pathways present a clear roadmap for prospective transfers to prepare for their majors and be well positioned to graduate in a timely fashion from any UC campus. In fall 2020, the third year of the Transfer Pathways, those indicating Pathway-based preparation represented 50 percent of all CCC admits and 51 percent of all CCC enrollees. Many of these students also participated in other preparatory programs such as Transfer Admissions Guaranteed (TAG) and Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC).
Transfer Pathways Majors
Anthropology Computer Science Molecular Biology
Biochemistry Economics Philosophy
Biology Electrical Engineering Physics
Business Administration English Political Science
Cell Biology History Psychology
Chemistry Mathematics Sociology
Communication Mechanical Engineering
In April 2018, UC signed an agreement with the California Community Colleges (CCCs) to guarantee a place within the UC system to students who complete one of the Transfer Pathways and achieve the requisite grade point average (GPA). The new Pathways+ program launched in August 2019.
The University enrolled over 226,000 undergraduates in fall 2020. The University enrolls freshman and transfer students from almost every county of California. UC’s Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) policy is designed to increase the overall geographic diversity of freshman entrants.
Undergraduate Enrollment, Fall 2020
New Freshmen 46,716
New Transfers/Other 21,960
Continuing Students 157,773
As academic qualifications have improved over the last decade, UC has maintained access for populations historically underserved by higher education. In fall 2020, 34 percent of new undergraduates received Pell Grants, a marker for low-income status. About 41 percent of UC’s entering students are first-generation, meaning neither parent graduated from a four-year college. These students are more likely to be from an underrepresented group (URG, African American, Hispanic/Latinx and Native American/Alaska Native students), to have a first language other than English, to enter as a transfer student, to be female, and/or to have a lower income than students with at least one parent who graduated from a four-year college (1.2.1).
The share of all undergraduates who are nonresident domestic and international students has increased in recent years, though their proportion is still much lower than at comparable public research universities. In 2019–20, the share of new undergraduates paying nonresident tuition went down slightly while the share of all undergraduates paying nonresident tuition went up slightly (1.4.4). In May 2017, UC adopted a policy affirming that nonresident undergraduates “will continue to be enrolled in addition to, rather than in place of, funded California undergraduates at each campus.” The policy also capped nonresident enrollment at 18 percent for five UC campuses (Davis, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz) and, for the remaining four campuses (Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego), at the proportion each campus enrolled in 2017–18. The policy went into effect for the 2018–19 academic year.
Having California students learn and live alongside students from backgrounds and cultures different from their own is part of a world-class educational experience. California students also benefit from the extra tuition paid by nonresident undergraduates, which is about $30,000 more per year than the amount paid by residents. That tuition helps to fund faculty hires, instructional technology, student advising, and other services that directly benefit California students.
 Other types of new students include those enrolling for a second baccalaureate or with limited status (not seeking a bachelor’s degree).
Regents Policy 2109: Policy on Nonresident Student Enrollment: regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/governance/policies/2109.html.
ADMISSIONS AND ENROLLMENT TRENDS
Freshman applicants have gone up from 68,000 to 172,000 over the past two decades, averaging four percent growth per year. In fall 2020, the number of applicants decreased two percent compared to the previous year, while the number of students admitted went up ten percent and the number of enrollees went up two percent (1.1.1). While the fall 2020 incoming cohort applied to UC before the COVID-19 pandemic, they made choices about whether and where to attend college during the start of the pandemic, and entered UC during a time of distance learning. Application numbers are about the same as the year before but admitted students were deciding to come to UC at a lower rate, leading campuses to admit a higher proportion of applicants in order to meet enrollment goals.
Fall transfer applicants nearly doubled over the last 20 years, with average annual growth of four percent. In fall 2020, transfer applicants and admits both increased by five percent compared to the previous year, while enrollees went up eight percent (1.1.2).
The Master Plan specifies that the University maintain a 60:40 ratio of upper-division to lower-division students, which corresponds to a 2:1 ratio of new California resident freshmen to new California resident transfers. UC has moved from 2.3:1 in 2016–17, to an estimated 1.9:1 in 2020–21 (Universitywide). The Universitywide ratio excluding Merced is also estimated to be 1.9:1 for 2020–21, achieving the systemwide goal for this metric for a fourth year. The University continues to work toward achieving this ratio for each campus (except Merced) (1.1.3). Overall undergraduate enrollment (new and continuing students) continued to grow in fall 2020. Total enrollment was over 226,000 in fall 2020, up less than half a percent from the year before. This includes an increase in California residents of over 1,500, following increases of over 7,000 in fall 2016, over 4,000 in fall 2017, over 3,000 in fall 2018, and over 2,500 in fall 2019 (1.1.4).ACADEMIC PREPARATION
Freshmen entering UC are increasingly well prepared, as shown by changes in the number of college preparatory courses and high school GPA over time (1.3.1). Transfer students are also increasingly well prepared, as measured by college GPA over time (1.3.2).
GEOGRAPHIC ORIGINS AND NONRESIDENTS
UC has a lower proportion of out-of-state undergraduates than other public AAU universities. In fall 2020, only 17.2 percent of UC’s enrollees were out-of-state or international, compared with 30.5 percent for other AAU public institutions (1.4.1).
About 36 percent of freshmen and 49 percent of transfer students entering UC campuses come from within 50 miles of campus. These numbers are relatively stable and have risen only slightly over the past few years (1.4.2, 1.4.3).
The percentage of all undergraduates paying nonresident tuition and the percentage of new undergraduate students paying nonresident tuition went up slightly in 2019–2020 (1.4.4).
The University of California Board of Regents at its May 2020 meeting unanimously approved the suspension of the standardized test requirement for all California freshman applicants until fall 2024, providing time for the University to create a new test that better aligns with A–G curricular standards. However, if a new test does not meet specified criteria in time for fall 2025 admission, UC will eliminate the standardized testing requirement for California students.
Enrollment of new freshman and transfer students has been fairly steady for the last few years, but will need to grow for UC to meet its goal of awarding an additional 200,000 degrees (for a total of 1.2 million) by 2030. State funding is crucial for reaching this goal. UC also continues to work to close equity gaps. In 2020, 61 percent of California public high school graduates were from underrepresented groups (URGs) while 38 percent of new freshman enrollees at UC were from these groups, for a 23-percentage point gap.
Although unduplicated freshman applicants went down by two percent in 2020 compared to 2019, they remained above the levels for all years prior to 2018. From 2011 to 2018, applicants increased 71 percent (or about eight percent per year), from about 106,000 to about 182,000, compared to a 42 percent increase in the seven-year period between 2004 and 2011 (or about five percent per year), from about 75,000 to 106,000. The 71 percent growth represents about 76,000 applicants, including about 35,000 California residents.
Most campuses admit less than half of freshman applicants. Many applicants apply to more than one UC campus; in fall 2020, UC applicants applied to an average of 3.9 campuses. Freshman applications increased at Berkeley, Irvine, Merced, and San Diego, and decreased for all other campuses in fall 2020. For data tables on UC freshman applicants, admits, and enrollees by campus over time, see: universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/admissions-residency-and-ethnicity.
Transfer applicants, admits, and enrollees are higher than ever.
1.1.2 Transfer applicants, admits, and enrollees, Universitywide and UC campuses, Fall 1994 to 2020
Transfer applications and admits increased by five percent, and enrollees increased by eight percent in fall 2020. Over 43,000 transfer students applied, over 30,000 were admitted, and almost 22,000 enrolled in fall 2020. Consistent with UC’s commitment to transfer students from California Community Colleges (CCCs), fall enrollment of new CCC California resident transfers has more than doubled since 1994, from 8,400 to 18,100. The average transfer applicant applies to 3.7 UC campuses, compared to 3.9 for the average freshman applicant.
For data tables on UC transfer applicants, admits, and enrollees by campus see:
UC has met the systemwide goal of a 2:1 ratio of California resident freshmen to transfer students and is on track to meet the goal at all campuses.
1.1.3 New California resident freshmen and transfer students, Universitywide, 2008–09 to 2020–21
The California Master Plan calls for UC to accommodate all qualified resident California Community College (CCC) transfer students. It specifies that the University maintain at least a 60:40 ratio of upper-division (junior and senior) to lower-division (freshman and sophomore) students to ensure adequate upper-division spaces for CCC transfers. To do so, UC aims to enroll one new California resident transfer student for every two new California resident freshmen, or 67 percent new resident freshmen to 33 percent new resident transfer students.2 UC has moved from 2.3:1 in 2016–17 to an estimated 1.9 in 2020–21 (Universitywide). Excluding Merced, the ratio for 2020–21 is also estimated to be 1.9:1, meeting the systemwide goal four years in a row.3 San Diego met it in 2019–20 and Riverside was estimated to meet it in 2020–21. Santa Cruz met the goal in 2018–19 and 2019–20, but in 2020–21 did not meet the goal primarily due to an unusually large freshman class.
UC’s fall undergraduate headcount grew slightly between fall 2019 and fall 2020, including over 1,500 additional California residents.
1.1.4 Undergraduate headcount enrollment, Universitywide and UC campuses, Fall 2008 to 2020
The University and the state share the goal of expanding access to a UC education. The University enrolled over 1,500 additional California residents in fall 2020 compared to fall 2019, following increases of 2,500, 3,000, 4,000 and 7,000 in the four prior years, for a total of over 18,500 over five years.
1.2 DEMOGRAPHIC OUTCOMES
UC’s entering first-generation students are more likely to be from an underrepresented group (URG), to enter as transfer students, and/or to be Pell Grant recipients.
1.2.1 Entering students by first generation status, race/ethnicity, first language spoken at home, entry level, Pell Grant status, and gender, Universitywide, Fall 2020
A little over half (50 percent) of entering first-generation students in fall 2020 are from URGs, compared to 16 percent of not-first-generation students. Almost two-fifths (39 percent) of first-generation students’ first language was not English, versus 30 percent for others. Over one-third (37 percent) of first-generation students entered as transfers, versus 27 percent for others. Three-fifths (60 percent) of first-generation students are lower-income Pell Grant recipients, versus 16 percent for others. And nearly three-fifths (58 percent) of first-generation students are female, compared to just over half (52 percent) of others.
1.3 PREPARATION OUTCOMES
Freshmen entering UC are increasingly well-prepared.
1.3.1 A–G (college preparatory)1 courses and weighted, capped high school grade point average (GPA)2 of entering freshmen, as share of class, Universitywide, Fall 2008 to Fall 2020
The academic indicators of UC’s entering freshmen have improved over time, as reflected by an increase in the share of students completing 25 or more college-preparatory courses and having a 3.8 or higher high school GPA. Despite slight downturns in 2020, from 2008 to 2020, the first indicator went up from 33 percent to 48 percent, while the second went up from 54 percent to 76 percent.
1.3 PREPARATION OUTCOMES
UC transfer students in fall 2020 were better prepared academically than their counterparts a decade ago, as measured by their grades.
1.3.2 College grade point average (GPA)1 of entering transfer students, as share of class, Fall 2008 to Fall 2020, Universitywide
The academic qualifications of transfer students entering UC have improved over time, as reflected by an increase in the share of students having a 3.6 or higher college GPA, from 37 percent in fall 2008 to 49 percent in fall 2020.
1.4 GEOGRAPHIC ORIGINS AND NONRESIDENTS
UC has a substantially lower proportion of out-of-state undergraduates than other AAU universities. In fall 2020, only 17.2 percent of UC’s enrollees were out-of-state or international, compared with 30.5 percent for other AAU Public institutions.
1.4.1 Residency of undergraduate students, Universitywide and comparison institutions, Fall 2020
UC’s priority is to enroll California residents. Campuses enroll nonresident students based on available physical and instructional capacity and the campus’ ability to attract qualified nonresident students.
Nonresidents provide geographic and cultural diversity to the student body. They also pay the full cost of their education. In 2019–2020, systemwide tuition and fees for a nonresident undergraduate were $42,324, compared to $12,570 for California resident students.
Nonresident applicants must meet higher criteria to be considered for admission. The minimum high school GPA for nonresident freshmen is 3.4, compared to 3.0 for California freshmen. The minimum college GPA for nonresident transfer students is 2.8, compared to 2.4 for California residents.
1.4 GEOGRAPHIC ORIGINS AND NONRESIDENTS
UC campuses attract freshmen from nearby regions and the major urban areas of California, with a systemwide local attendance rate of 36 percent.
1.4.2 Percentage of new CA resident freshman enrollees whose home is within a 50-mile radius of their campus, UC campuses, Fall 202
1.4 GEOGRAPHIC ORIGINS AND NONRESIDENTS
Local enrollment rates for transfers are higher than for freshmen, with 49 percent enrolling at a UC campus within 50 miles of their homes.
1.4.3 Percentage of new CA resident transfer enrollees whose home is within a 50-mile radius of their campus, UC campuses, Fall 2020
1.4 GEOGRAPHIC ORIGINS AND NONRESIDENTS
The proportion of undergraduate students paying nonresident tuition declined slightly in 2020–2021.
1.4.4 Percentage of undergraduate enrollees paying nonresident tuition by academic year1, Universitywide, 2008–2009 to 2020–2021
.Systemwide, the share of all undergraduates paying nonresident tuition rose from five percent to 17.6 percent between 2009–2010 and 2019–2200. From 2009–2010 to 2015–2016, the proportion of undergraduates paying nonresident tuition went up from five percent to 15.3 percent, this increase in this period coincides with a period of reductions in State funding for UC due to the Great Recession. Starting in 2016–2017 as enrollment of new California residents increased, the proportion of undergraduates paying nonresident tuition leveled off to 17.5 percent between 2017–2018 to 2019–2020 During the COVID-19 pandemic, the estimated percentage dropped to 16.8 in 2020-2021.
The proportion of nonresident students at individual campuses varies depending on a campus’ capacity, and its ability to attract nonresident students, as well as its nonresident cap under a policy approved in May 2017, which applies to total undergraduate numbers. Under the policy, effective in 2018–2019, nonresident enrollment is limited to 18 percent at five UC campuses. At the other four campuses where the proportion of nonresidents already exceeded 18 percent — UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCLA, and UC San Diego — nonresident enrollment is capped at the proportion that each campus enrolled in 2017–2018
Source: Accountability Report 2021 from University of California.
UC admissions reach record highs for California freshmen, underrepresented students and community college transfers
Following an unprecedented year marked by the coronavirus pandemic, hybrid instruction and travel restrictions, the University of California announced today (July 19) that its campuses made record-breaking admission offers to a new class of undergraduates for fall 2021.
Systemwide freshman admissions jumped 11 percent over 2020, rising to 132,353 from 119,054. Admission of California freshmen reached an all-time high this year with 84,223 students, an increase of 5.34 percent over the 79,953 from 2020. Students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups comprise 43 percent of admitted California freshmen, the highest proportion of an incoming undergraduate class and the greatest number in UC history at 36,462.
The University also admitted the largest-ever class of California Community College transfer students, notching up to 28,453 from 28,074, a year-over-year increase of 1.35 percent. The vast majority of these transfer students are California residents (25,700). Notably, 53 percent will be the first in their family to earn a four-year college degree.
“These remarkable numbers are a testament to the hard work and resiliency of students and their families across California,” said President Michael V. Drake, M.D. “I am particularly heartened by the social and economic diversity of those offered a place at UC. Fall will be an exciting time on our campuses.”
Other highlights include Latinx students comprising the largest ethnic group (37 percent) of admitted California freshmen for a second time, up nearly 9 percent to 31,220 from 28,662, following the previous record in 2020. Systemwide, admissions of African-American students grew by 15.6 percent, rising to 4,608 from 3,987 in 2020. Meanwhile, admission of California freshmen who would be first-generation college students held steady at 45 percent.
There are also remarkable achievements across campuses. The locations with the greatest annual overall year-over-year freshman admission gains include UC Davis up 19.2 percent (42,726 from 35,838), UC Irvine up 6.9 percent (31,261 from 29,245) and UC San Diego up 6 percent (40,616 from 38,305). UC Merced had the highest percentage of first-generation resident freshman admissions (59 percent) with a total of 13,136. UC San Diego had the highest number of community college transfers (11,358), an increase of nearly 4 percent.
“As the data make clear, UC is continuing to honor its commitment to guarantee admission to high-performing California high school students and providing a clear pathway for talented community college students to join us,” said Han Mi Yoon-Wu, executive director of Undergraduate Admissions at UC. “We are proud to be able to welcome so many exceptional young people to UC.”
Several factors may explain the rise in admissions. Fall 2021 applications from California freshmen were up more than 13 percent, rising to 128,266 from 113,471 in 2020. Campuses made efforts to admit as many qualified California students as space could allow given the expanded pool of highly qualified, hardworking students this year. The end of UC’s standardized testing requirement may have also encouraged more students to apply.
Additionally, in recognition of the many challenges COVID-19 posed for prospective students and their families, the University made temporary adjustments to admission requirements, including suspending the letter-grade requirement for high school classes taken in winter, spring or summer terms of 2020 and the full 2020–21 academic year. UC also provided flexibility for students who needed more time to meet registration, deposit and transcript deadlines last year. UC hoped these changes would further support students who faced barriers during a challenging year marked by cancelled classes and schools that switched to pass/fail grading.
The preliminary admission figures released today include applicants admitted from waitlists and freshman and transfer referral pools. The data are subject to change as campuses verify that conditions of admission are met.
Data tables with campus-specific information for both freshmen and transfer students are available here.
Source: University of California
UC’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions Initiative releases report on systemwide efforts to increase number of Latinx students, ways to strengthen outcomes
The University of California’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Initiative recently released a report titled “La Lucha Sigue: The University of California’s Role as a Hispanic-Serving Research Institution System.” With an eye on the Latinx communities’ future in-state growth and vital contributions to California’s economy, the HSI Initiative gives UC leaders a window into the Latinx student experience, while highlighting California’s looming economic challenges.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the state faces a shortage of 1.1 million college graduates by 2030. In order to address this shortfall, the report details how Latinx communities will make up an even larger share of UC campus populations and offers a blueprint for UC leaders on how to foster Latinx student success in the years ahead.
As “La Lucha Sigue: The University of California’s Role as a Hispanic-Serving Research Institution System” states, this document “provides recent, foundational information grounded in data to provide readers an understanding of the changing California demographics that have led to UC’s high Latinx enrollment numbers. In an effort to move conversations beyond access and enrollment, this report also showcases academic outcomes for Latinxs enrolled at UC over time.” It goes on to state, “Ultimately, as the authors of this report, we perceive an ongoing need to focus on Latinx students and their experiences at UC. We contend that by leveraging UC’s role as an [Hispanic-Serving Research Institution] HSRI system, the university is well-positioned to make significant contributions to research, policy, and practice across the nation.”
UC has seen exponential growth in its Latinx student populations. In 1992, UC’s Latino Eligibility Taskforce found that just 4 percent of California Latinx high school graduates were eligible for admission to UC. Now, 45 percent of Latinx public high school graduates are UC-eligible. This growth has propelled five out of nine undergraduate UC campuses to secure federal designations as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz. The remaining four undergraduate campuses, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA and UC San Diego, are emerging HSIs, deemed as institutions with 15 to 24 percent Latinx undergraduate enrollment, as defined by Excelencia in Education, a national nonprofit dedicated to Latinx student success in higher education.
As an HSRI system, UC is now poised to build on the tremendous progress already made.
“UC-HSI provides us with a progress report for UC to better understand how our efforts have borne fruit, and a blueprint for transformational leadership for us to become the model Hispanic-Serving Research Institution system in support of Latinx and other students from underrepresented groups,” said Dr. Yvette Gullatt, vice president for Graduate and Undergraduate Affairs and vice provost for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
As the report demonstrates, enrollment numbers for Latinx students at UC are surging. From 2009-19, UC saw an 89.8 percent increase in enrolled Latinx students with the greatest increases in Latinx enrollment occurring at UC’s now-designated Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. Collectively, these five campuses increased their Latinx student enrollment by over 90 percent during the same period. The report also finds areas for additional growth and strategic improvement at UC including in Latinx student graduation rates, in fostering greater Latinx student postgraduate enrollment, and in recruiting additional Latinx faculty.
In its study, the UC-HSI Initiative identifies key findings for UC to consider. Some of them include leveraging the University’s HSI status to expand efforts beyond the recruitment and enrollment of Latinx students to the retention, timely graduation, and post-baccalaureate pathways for these students. As the authors highlight, “by increasing the number of Latinx graduate students and retaining and graduating them, UC can foster the next generation of faculty, leaders, and critical thinkers who are representative of the demographics of the state.” The authors also suggest that by creating a definition of “serving” for individual campuses and the UC system as a whole, a conversation can begin on creating new indicators for academic success that better encompass the holistic experiences of Latinx students at UC. Additionally, the report urges the University to consider opportunities for creating a statewide learning community between UC, the California State University (CSU) system, and California Community Colleges (CCC) to share knowledge, expertise, and best practices for Latinx student success as this population becomes an even greater share of California’s college student population.
The University of California Hispanic-Serving Institutions Initiative plans to release additional reports in this series exploring UC’s unique position as a doctoral-granting, research-intensive, public HSRI and further detailing how Latinx UC students experience campus climate. You may find further information on the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Initiative here.
Source: University of California Website
Taking the following courses will prepare you to major in mechanical engineering at any UC campus.
Use ASSIST to find the specific classes offered at your community college that will satisfy the expected coursework at a particular UC campus. In addition to the coursework above, you will need to fulfill minimum requirements expected of all transfer applicants to UC. In particular, students are required to complete two English reading and composition courses no later than the spring term prior to transfer. If you’re interested in transferring to the Berkeley campus, be sure that these two transferable English reading and composition courses articulate to Berkeley’s required courses.
If you're working on an Associate Degree in mechanical engineering at your community college, there's a lot of overlap with UC Transfer Pathway coursework. When you have options, try to select courses for your Associate Degree that meet both your community college and UC requirements. The difference between what UC expects and what some community colleges require is linear algebra, a full sequence of chemistry with lab and circuits with lab; however, UC does not expect materials science and engineering.
The Mechanical Engineering Pathway applies to the degree programs listed below. More degree programs may be added in the future so you should check back periodically to see if your major has joined this list.
Admission to different UC campuses and majors varies in competitiveness depending on how many students apply and how many slots are available. As a result, the minimum GPA and grade requirements for particular courses may vary from campus to campus. Make sure to look on the campus admissions websites to find minimum expected grade point averages for the major you are interested in.
Source: University of California Website.
Getting to UC takes time. So we’ve created a range of tools to help you plan. These tools will keep you on track, and let you check your progress whenever you need to.
ASSIST helps you find the courses you need to meet your transfer requirements.
UC TAP tracks your progress toward meeting those requirements.
Transfer Pathways Guide tells you which courses work with a specific Transfer Pathway.
The ASSIST tool lets you know which of your community college classes will count toward your UC degree. That helps you take the right courses from the get-go, and transfer as smoothly as possible.
The Transfer Admissions Planner (UC TAP) helps you plan your coursework and map your progress. So you always know how close you are to meeting UC’s minimum requirements, and what’s left to do.
You can use UC TAP for any community college transfer process, including a Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) with one of our six participating campuses.
Transfer Pathways Guide
The Transfer Pathways Guide lets you check if your community college courses fulfill the specific requirements of your chosen Transfer Pathway. It’s more focused than ASSIST, in that it's targeting the particular courses that make up each of the 20 Transfer Pathways. (So if you want to keep your options more open, ASSIST is better for you.)
Transfer Pathways Guide
Source: University of California Website
There are a few different ways to get into the UC. To make it easier, we’ve created three guided options. One of these will help you move through the process in the best way for you. You don’t have to choose one of these options but many people do, as it’s much simpler.
Let’s find the right option for you.
If you know your major – follow Transfer Pathways.
If you have a dream campus – use TAG.
If you’ve decided on both – try Pathways+
You have a major in mind.Decided on a major but want to keep your campus options open? The UC Transfer Pathway program may be right for you.
This means you take a single set of courses to get ready for your major—and you can choose from any of our nine undergraduate campuses.
You’ll get clear guidance on what classes you need to take, which hugely increases your chances of studying at a UC campus. Plus, you’ll be in a great position to succeed once you get here.
Keep in mind that Pathways is designed for our most sought-after majors. That might not include yours—so please check!
Find everything you need to know about Transfer Pathways »
You know where you want to study.If you have your eye on a particular campus, then good news: six UC campuses offer our Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program.
When we say guarantee, we mean guarantee. You submit a separate TAG application to your chosen campus, and if you meet the course and GPA requirements, then you’re in. You have a 100% guaranteed place in your major at your chosen campus.
Learn more about TAG »
You picked your major, and it’s included in the Transfer Pathways program. You found your campus, and it offers a TAG.Pathways+ is a great option if your major is covered by Pathways, and you want the freedom to explore multiple campuses while ensuring a spot at one of our six TAG campuses.
It gives you the best of both worlds: a guaranteed spot at UC, and the support you need to hit the ground running when you get here.
Get started with Pathways+»
Source: University of California Website
So, you want to transfer to UC. Great! We know the process can be a little intimidating, so we’ve broken it down. These are the three things you need to do:
Plan what you want to study, and where
Prepare ahead of time with your goals in mind
Track your progress until it’s time to transfer
When you’re planning to transfer, keep three things in mind:
Use the Transfer Admission Planner (UC TAP)
If you're enrolled at a California community college, our UC Transfer Admission Planner (UC TAP) helps you track your progress towards our admission requirements. It can also serve as your application for the UC Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG).
Use the Transfer Admission Planner to enter your coursework (or plan upcoming terms).
Talk to a transfer advisor
Your community college will have a Counseling Center, including a transfer center with transfer advisors. You should definitely seek out their advice. You may even be able to meet with a UC admissions representative in the transfer center to discuss your transfer options.
Join us at a transfer event
We host them year-round, all across the state. They’re a great place to ask questions and meet people on the same path as you.
you’ve worked out your plan, it’s time to put it into action. Here are the four things you’ll need to work toward as you go through your transfer process.
1. The basics: math and English
There’s a good chance you’ve already done math and English assessments to enroll in your college. Just make sure that whatever courses you're doing, you’re working toward passing math and English classes that are UC-transferable. Use our ASSIST tool to help you choose eligible courses.
We recommend you start taking these courses early. They'll help you build the skills you need for university classes. And some UC campuses need you to complete English and math by the end of the fall term the year before enrolling.
Starting early also gives you time to pass all the classes you need to in order to transfer.
For example: Your college has placed you in Intermediate Algebra. But your UC campus needs you to pass Pre-calculus. You’ll want to take Intermediate Algebra as soon as possible, so you’ll also have time to complete Pre-calculus before you transfer.
2. Preparing for your major
Once you’ve got a sense of what you want to major in, make sure it’s right for you. Get to know the coursework for that major at your preferred UC campuses. Wherever you plan to apply, check your major in their course catalogs.
Do the classes seem interesting? Are you excited about the introductory courses, as well as the advanced courses?
It’s important to think carefully about these things now. There’s no point going to all this effort, only to end up doing something you don’t enjoy.
Laying the groundwork
When it comes to getting into your major, there are two more things to consider: required courses, and recommended courses.
Your major probably has specific requirements before you can transfer. So make sure you’re enrolled in those classes.
Plus, there’s a range of recommended courses. And we would—you guessed it—recommend taking some of these. Completing them before you transfer boosts your chances of getting into the major you want, and graduating on time.
Courses for any campus
Decided on a major, but want to keep your campus options open? Try following a UC Transfer Pathway. The Pathways cover our most sought-after majors, and give you a single set of courses that let you transfer to any UC campus.
About Transfer Pathways »
3. Picking general education classes
It’s great to be dedicated to one subject, but a broad base of knowledge is important too. That’s why we have general education requirements, which can vary across UC. Depending on your major and campus, you may want to start taking these classes at your community college.
About general education requirements »
4. UC's minimum admission requirements
Whatever your chosen major and campus, you’ll need to meet UC’s minimum requirements for transfer admissions.
Your major preparation and general education courses will count toward these. But there may still be a few gaps to fill in, so check regularly to make sure you’re on track for transfer. You (and your advisors) can use the UC TAP tool to plan and track your progress.
For example: If you're a STEM major, you'll be taking lots of science and math courses. But don't forget—you also need to take humanities and/or social sciences courses to fulfill UC minimum requirements.
We know the transfer process can be complicated. That’s why we have guided transfer paths to help you get to UC in a way that works for you.
Whether your heart’s set on a specific campus, or you’re passionate about a certain major, we’ll get you on the right path.
Once you’ve chosen that path, we have a range of tools to help you stay on track:
The possibility of another big wave of growth is causing its own set of problems
As an elite school that educates the masses and pumps money into the economy, UC San Diego is rarely the target of strong criticism. But a lawmaker unloaded last week, accusing UCSD and its sister campuses at Berkeley and Los Angeles of betraying Californians.
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) told the Union-Tribune that the UC system — and those three campus in particular — “focused on admitting out-of-state students at the expense of in-state students. They deny that. But if you just look at the numbers it’s pretty clear.”
Over the past decade, the La Jolla campus added 10,400 students, more than half of whom came from outside of California, notably China.
Education experts say UCSD and other schools made the move to offset an erosion in state funding for the UC system. They were forced to try to pay bills and bankroll growth by greatly increasing the number of students they admit from other states and nations. Those students pay more than twice as much in tuition.
Pradeep Khosla, who has been UCSD chancellor since 2012, denies that California students were put at a disadvantage. “No out-of-state (student) ever, during my time here, displaced a Californian,” he said in an interview. “Not once.”
But facing mounting pressure from parents and students unable to secure UC berths, the Legislature adopted a budget on June 28 that orders UCSD, UCLA and UC Berkeley to make a roughly 4 percent cut in the number of undergraduates who come from outside of California. That will collectively free up 4,500 slots for California residents at those campuses over the next five years.
The state will pay $184 million to cover the higher tuition money that would have come from out-of-state students.
“We’re doing it in the fastest way possible, which is to buy out the out-of-state students and replace them with California students,” said Ting, chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.
The state is dealing with a big target.
At UCSD, international enrollment hit a record 8,451 in 2020 — or 21 percent of the student body. It’s the highest figure in the UC and one of the highest in the U.S.
The figure will drop to at least 18 percent, and maybe to 17 percent, under the new state budget.
UCSD has huge programs in science, technology, engineering and the life sciences. The cut probably won’t hurt, because research in those areas is largely done by graduate students, not undergrads.
But the cuts will be disruptive. And a second, potentially bigger challenge, could be coming for UCSD, which is nearing capacity.
The new budget also proposes to expand undergraduate enrollment in the UC system by 6,230 in 2022-23. The plan, which has yet to be funded, specifies that all of those students must be California residents.
The UC system says this is the largest proposed increase in California-resident undergraduates since 2003-04.
Those 6,230 students would be spread among the UC’s nine undergraduate campuses. But a disproportionate number would likely go to La Jolla because the campus has more room to grow.
For financial reasons, all of this is causing unease at UCSD, whose nearly 40,000 students make it bigger than the community of Rancho Bernardo.
The campus raised a record $365 million in private donations during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. But the pandemic cost the campus about $270 million in everything from lost dorm and dining fees to patient service billings at its hospitals and clinics.
And Khosla says the school didn’t receive full funding for about 2,000 of its students last year due to the way the UC system allocates money.
All of this has occurred during breakneck growth. Even during the pandemic, enrollment jumped by 840.
“I’m trying to have my infrastructure catch up with the students,” said Khosla, an engineer. “Student growth is easy. It happens instantaneously. Infrastructure takes three to five years to build.”
The campus opened a 2,000-bed residential complex last year. But UCSD’s housing stock dropped by 2,000 due to the pandemic, which forced the school to reduce the number of students it puts in many rooms.
Another 2,000-bed complex is under construction. But it won’t be ready until 2023, by which time UCSD could easily have an additional 1,000 students.
The UC has been experiencing extraordinary enrollment pressures — partly because of its lofty reputation and partly because the state has reasonably good high school graduation rates. Many students meet the system’s tough entrance requirements.
Interest rose further in May 2020, when the UC system announced that it will not longer consider SAT or ACT scores while making admission and scholarship decisions. The UCs ended up receiving a record 249,855 applications from students seeking to enroll in fall 2021 as freshmen or transfers.
The number of prospective freshmen who applied to UCSD — a top-10 research school — increased by 18,326, pushing to a record 118,360.
It won’t be known until October how many of the students who were accepted actually enrolled, and how many of them are from other states or nations. But analysts say that lots of California students who qualified for a spot won’t get one — something that makes many taxpayers and parents angry.
“I know many well-qualified students who got denied from the University of California but got admission in highly selective private schools such as Carnegie Mellon, UPenn, and such universities...” Justin Thomas of Rancho Bernardo said in an email to the U-T, speaking as a taxpayer.
“Why should a parent need to be double-taxed — income tax for California, and private tuition for their children!”
Mick Soriano, a UCSD graduate who lives in Rancho Penasquitos said, “I would have little problem with shutting out-of-state students out entirely. But to be reasonable I’d be OK with a maximum acceptance rate of 5 percent.
“Driving around UCSD, you see non-stop construction of new facilities ... Because of this and other reasons, I don’t believe that the UC system needs the out-of-state money that they claim they need.”
Assemblyman Ting gets annoyed when people suggest that the Legislature has been stingy when it comes to the UC.
“We have increased the UC’s budget every single year since I’ve been in the Legislature, starting in 2012,” he said. “There are clearly ways that the university could have become more efficient.”
Over a longer period, state support is down. In the mid-1970s, about 18 percent of the state’s budget was spent on higher education. By 2016-17, the figure was 12 percent, and the UC system had taken the big hits, with funding per full-time equivalent student dropping from $23,000 to $8,000, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
There’s also tension over the way the UC has handled public funds. Ting pointed to a 2017 state audit that concluded the UC Office of the President had “amassed substantial reserve funds, used misleading budgeting practices, provided its employees with generous salaries and atypical benefits, and failed to satisfactorily justify its spending on systemwide initiatives.”
That outraged lawmakers, some of whom also became upset by complaints from the parents of high school students that the UC system was overlooking their children in favor of out-of-staters who could pay higher tuition.
Some of the attention inevitably focused on UCSD, with its high international enrollment.
“Will we find enough Californians to replace the non-residents? The short answer is yes,” Khosla said. “We will certainly find enough Californians. I am not losing sleep over that.
“They could be on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) side. They could be on the non-STEM side. I want my school to be more balanced and holistic.”
Source: The San Diego Union - Tribune
UCLA, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego are set to reduce international student intake in favour of admitting more Californians, backed by a state-funded budget to deal with the anticipated revenue loss. Within five years beginning fall 2022, these three campuses are set to reduce non-resident student enrolment by 7% to make room for approximately 4,500 Californians.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the UC system wants to admit 6,230 more local freshmen in 2022. This comes after receiving a record number of applications for fall 2021, “in a year of high emotion and myriad questions over the admissions process and frustration over the lack of seats for qualified students.” This will come at the cost of 900 international students annually across the three UC campuses.
International students are advised to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to UC campuses this fall
It is expected to accommodate UC admission reforms, thus reangling the public research university system as one that prioritises qualified Californian applications. This budget support should help cover the financial losses from reduced international student intake — around US$30,000 per student and US$1.3 billion collectively each year. Chancellors say the UC system stands to lose much more latent benefits.
“As state funding declined, the enrolment of non-resident students helped offset tuition costs for California students and provided revenue that enabled us to improve educational programmes for all students,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. He maintained that non-resident students are enrolled only in addition to qualified California students, not in place of them. Their tuition — which is significantly higher than what domestic students pay — helps cover faculty recruitment, library collections, instructional equipment, and additional courses, which keeps classes small and focused.
Lower international student intake, lower revenue.
Under this budget plan, California is set to fund the admission of more local freshmen in fall 2022 — that’s US$180 million to cover the UC and Cal State enrolment expansion. The state will also provide US$154 million for 133,000 community college students in fall 2021. On top of that, a US$2 billion fund will be created exclusively for student housing.
From 2017 onwards, international student intake at UC universities has been capped at 18% — except for UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, and UC Irvine. UCLA Academic Senate chair Shane White calls for this rule to be analysed, along with other fundamental issues on international student intake within the state university system.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ added that the current state allocation does not cover the actual cost of instruction. “Replacing out-of-state students with Californians thus creates a budget gap that needs to be filled,” she explained. “Even more important, out-of-state and international students contribute significantly to the diversity of the student experience, and the majority of these students remain in California after they graduate.”
The UC network includes ten campuses, five medical centres and three national labs. Californian universities have the highest international student intake in US. Over 160,000 are enrolled in the state’s institutions, with over 8,000 in UC San Diego. An estimated 20% to 25% are studying remotely from overseas during the pandemic, but not all may be returning.
Though international student intake may soon drop in these universities, foreign interest is still at a high. According to the Keystone Academic Solutions’ State of Student Recruitment USA 2021 report, 36% of international students choose California as their preferred US study destination. This suggests that international students will soon face stiffer competition when applying for their preferred UC university.
In May, the UC system proposed that every student returning from overseas must first receive a vaccine approved by the World Health Organisation. This includes Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India, Janssen, Moderna, and Sinopharm. “We understand that there may be some remote instructions available as well because we do have learners from all over the world whose circumstances continue to evolve, but the intention is to highlight and continue to return to in-person learning as many ways as we possibly can,” added Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Alysson Satterlund.
Source: Study International.
Thousands of California high school graduates didn’t go to college last year due to the pandemic. The drop, which mostly affected community colleges, might be temporary, but it showed the need to provide more support for students going from high school to college. A new counseling program in Riverside County aims to do just that.
In early June, 19-year-old Brian Cruz was on a break from his warehouse job at Amazon, listening to music. He scrolled through the messages on his phone and saw an email from the college and career center at his old high school in Hemet, a high desert town in Southern California.
Even though Cruz graduated from Tahquitz High School last year, the email invited him to make an appointment with a school counselor. Last spring, Cruz decided to put off college and work while he waited out the pandemic.
But a year of packing boxes at Amazon and a lifetime of seeing family members work manual labor made him anxious to go back to school as soon as possible. “I was happy to get that email, because I really didn’t know what to do,” he said.
Cruz is one of the first students to participate in College Comeback, a counseling program launched by the Riverside County Office of Education at the end of May. A team of six spends 25 hours a week reaching out to the high school class of 2020 after data revealed that 2,300 fewer students — a decline of around 8% — went to college in fall 2020 compared to the year before.
The numbers from Riverside County mirror trends in other parts of the state and the country. Nationally, college going rates for students straight out of high school were down 13% overall and 22% at community colleges in fall 2020, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a non-profit that tracks enrollment data. Experts attribute the enrollment decline to the COVID-19 pandemic and aren’t sure how soon — or whether — those numbers will bounce back.
“That’s one in five freshmen who would have been expected to go to a community college this fall that simply didn’t show up,” said Doug Shapiro, executive research director at the Clearinghouse, during a presentation for the Education Writers Association in May.
A few days after getting the email from the school counselor, Cruz logged onto a Zoom appointment with counselor Yuri Nava. He told her he’d been accepted to University of California Riverside last year, but didn’t enroll after he found out classes would be online.
Nava informed him he’d missed the Nov. 30 deadline for the upcoming school year, so he’d have to wait until fall 2022 to start at UC Riverside. No one had told Cruz that he had the option to defer his admission a year, he said.
Nava then walked Cruz through his options, encouraging him to think about community college.
College going rates
Five of California's most populous public school districts provided data for college-going seniors for 2019 vs. 2020.
Source: National Student Clearinghouse data provided by each school district. • Percentages refer to enrollment during first fall immediately after high school, except San Bernardino which includes students who enrolled anytime during the year.
She worked with Cruz on filling out his financial aid application, also known as the FAFSA, and booked another appointment to complete his application and select classes at Riverside City College.
“I don’t know where I even have to begin,” he said. “I’ve been talking to people from (colleges) and they haven’t really been very clear on what I actually have to do to get into the school and choose the classes. I mean I tried it, but I really couldn’t do it myself.”
College Comeback has been a boon to students like Cruz, but time will tell how many students the program will be able to reach. Outreach to students last summer showed how challenging it can be to get large numbers of students to reengage in higher education, but also how effective one-on-one counseling can be for individual students.
How it works
After they graduate, students lose the support they’d normally get from their high school counselors. College Comeback is the first program of its kind in California, specifically targeting recent graduates who want to go to college but don’t know how.
Students who graduated from Riverside County high schools last year can sign onto a booking website to make different types of appointments to explore postsecondary options, fill out a FAFSA or California Dream Act form for undocumented students, fill out a college application and learn about career and technical programs or military service.
The county has paid counselors like Nava a stipend to take on the extra workload via money previously allocated to things like travel. Whereas high school counseling often involves group workshops, the alumni program focuses on individual appointments, said Catalina Cifuentes, director of college and career counseling for Riverside County.
Because counselors are also trained mental health professionals, they also provide social and emotional support for students who might be facing challenges that impact their educational choices, Nava said.
College Comeback also collaborates with colleges and universities and stays in touch until the student has registered for classes. “We don’t want the students to get a run around,” Cifuentes said.
The program got off to a slow start because district leaders were worried about diverting attention from the current class of seniors, but currently has approval to continue for the foreseeable future, according to Cifuentes. Education experts say there’s ongoing need for postsecondary support for all graduates that will persist beyond the pandemic.
Statewide, almost 22,000 fewer seniors from the class of 2021 have filled out the FAFSA compared to this time last year. This summer, Riverside counselors will also be working with 2021 graduates to make sure they complete all the steps necessary to go to college this fall.
A big problem
Clearinghouse’s Shapiro said the college-going data is alarming.
“It continues to get worse when you drill down into some of the demographics within that,” he said of the national data. “For Black students, Latinx and Indigenous students, in particular, the declines were almost twice as steep.”
San Diego County, for example, saw a drop in college-going seniors by around 11% with around 16,000 of the county’s 26,500 graduates headed to college in 2020. The drop was even more “catastrophic” for some groups: 17% for low income students, 24% for Native American students and 33% for English language learners, according to Shannon Coulter, director of research and evaluation at San Diego County Office of Education.
San Diego County college going ratesBoth 4-year and 2-year institutions experienced a drop in enrollment. Graduated high school seniors who were economically disadvantaged were slightly less likely to enroll in college than other students.
Source: National Student Clearinghouse data provided by San Diego County Office of Education
Both private and public colleges are included in the 2-year and 4-year college going data. Economically disadvantaged students include those who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, are in households receiving food or cash assistance, are homeless, are migrant, or are in foster care. The Clearinghouse is missing data on economic disadvantage for some students.
While experts hoped students who disappeared in the fall would return in the spring, so far that’s not the case. Recent spring enrollment data from the Clearinghouse show similar declines in enrollment between this year and last spring.
“The effect has been that this pandemic has been exposing and widening existing inequities in our society, even to the extent of reversing the progress that we’ve made in recent years around closing the equity gaps in terms of access to college,” Shapiro said.
That has borne out in Riverside County, which had one of the worst college-going rates in California back in 2013 at around 54% percent, according to Cifuentes, the Riverside County counseling director. Through concerted efforts aimed at improving college going, including professional development for counselors and a huge push for FAFSA completion, the county had been able to boost college enrollment rates to more than 60% as of 2019.
But between 2020 and 2019, the enrollment rate dropped almost back down to the 2013 levels. Cifuentes said the pandemic “erased all of the progress we’ve made in the last seven years.”
Shapiro said that colleges need to figure out how to reach not only current high school seniors but also those who graduated last year. “They’re disconnected now from education,” he said. “These are students that if they don’t make it back, they’ll be disadvantaged in terms of their skills, their employability, their earning potential. Not just themselves, but their families, their communities, and our whole country… will suffer from that.”
While statewide data isn’t available, the number of California high school graduates from the class of 2020 who went to college dropped in several of the state’s most populous districts compared to the year before, according to Clearinghouse data provided to CalMatters. All eight districts and four counties for which CalMatters viewed data saw a decline in graduates going directly to college, ranging from 2.5% in San Mateo Unified to 13.1% in Fresno Unified. Districts with a higher share of low-income students or students enrolling at community college saw bigger drops. That translates into thousands of California students who didn’t go to college last year.
In Los Angeles Unified, the largest school district in California, college-going rates decreased from 68% to 59% between 2019 to 2020, a drop of more than 2,600 students, according to Clearinghouse data. Oakland Unified dropped 11% with around 46% of its 2020 grads headed to college, while San Francisco Unified reported a 6% decline.
Andres Martin, who graduated from Skyline High School in 2020, took a gap year to study computer science and figure out what he wanted to study before enrolling at UC Santa Cruz for fall 2021.
The decline in college going rates has significant implications for students, colleges and California. Following national trends, California has made significant progress over the last several years in improving college going rates, especially for groups that are historically underrepresented in higher education, so the recent declines are troubling, said Hans Johnson, director of the Higher Education Center at the Public Policy Institute of California.
“We know that going to college is one of the most important ways that we continue to achieve economic mobility in our state,” he said.
Johnson said the question is how many high school graduates who didn’t go to college because of the pandemic will eventually go back. “Anytime a student stops out, for whatever reason, they’re less likely to ever return [to college], even if they have good intentions,” he said.
Struggling and juggling
Students and counselors cite a number of reasons for the decline. Many, like Cruz, wanted to avoid online learning or didn’t have reliable Internet access, while others became primary wage earners in their households, or took on care responsibilities. Some students who tried to enroll in the fall ended up dropping their classes because they struggled with online classes. Colleges have also reported increases in students who are only attending part time.
Some members of the class of 2020 are taking the more traditional “gap year,” where they’ve been admitted and defer a year. At Stanford, for example, 378 first-year students — or around 20 percent of the incoming class — opted to wait until fall 2021.
One of them was Langston Buddenhagen, a 2020 grad from Oakland Tech High School. He wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of spending his first year of college sitting in front of his computer. “The main goal [of my gap year was] to avoid the COVID disruptions and try and wait out as much of it as I could,” he said.
He started his own business tutoring younger students and volunteered with a task force in Oakland working on police reform in the wake of the George Floyd murder. He also interned with the San Francisco district attorney’s office.
“The main goal [of my gap year was] to avoid the COVID disruptions and try and wait out as much of it as I could.”
LANGSTON BUDDENHAGEN, OAKLAND TECH HIGH SCHOOL 2020 GRAD
Nineteen-year-old Andres Martin, a graduate of Skyline High School in Oakland, had applied and been accepted to several out-of-state colleges and other institutions in Southern California. But when the pandemic hit, his flight attendant mother was unable to work and his dad, an electrician, had a hard time finding jobs.
As a result, Martin had to reconsider where, and whether, he wanted to go to college. He got into UC Riverside, but decided it would be too expensive to move so far away from home. “It didn’t seem like I had much of a choice of where I could go,” he said.
Like many students, Martin also worried about his ability to be academically successful with remote learning. “I knew that I would keep struggling since in the pandemic, it was really hard to stay motivated, stay focused, stay on task, just not being in a classroom situation,” he said.
Martin considered community college, but realized he’d have to study there for two years and transfer. He decided to instead focus on community service and a fellowship program where he learned how to code in order to strengthen his college applications. He applied again for fall 2021 with support from College Track, a non-profit he’d worked with throughout high school that helps students apply to and transition to college.
Now, he’s planning to study computer science next fall at UC Santa Cruz. “I’m pretty excited to be able to get back on campus,” he said.
Impact on colleges
For fall 2020, overall enrollment across the University of California’s nine undergraduate campuses remained relatively flat, but the system also enrolled a record number of in-state residents. The California State University system also had its largest-ever student body for the fall 2020 term, collectively enrolling 485,549 students.
But COVID-19 ravaged California’s community colleges in California — which vastly outnumber UC and CSU campuses — to the tune of an 11% drop in students, according to system data.
This has been especially problematic in regions where most students go to community college. Santa Cruz County, on the central coast, had a drop of 7% in college going and Shasta County, in Northern California, reported a decline of 8%. In Shasta, all of that drop was at a single place, Shasta College, which is the only higher education in a 75-mile radius.
Johnson of PPIC said it’s good news that the UC and CSU systems have fared relatively well so far, but the decline in community college enrollment could have knock-on effects a few years down the road.
“If those students aren’t coming in as a front end, then we’re not going to see them in that transfer pool either,” Johnson said.
Proof of concept
Educators in Riverside County realized the need for the College Comeback program last summer after working with students like Ariel Jennings, who had just graduated from La Quinta High School near Palm Desert. The 19-year-old had been admitted to UC Riverside, but didn’t accept the school’s offer because she was unsure of how much financial aid she was getting. “I missed the deadline, like, twice,” she said. “And I didn’t understand financial aid or the paperwork or anything like that.”
Jennings didn’t know where to turn. “At that point, we weren’t in school anymore so I couldn’t go to a high school counselor for help either,” she said. “My parents and I just felt really alone in the process.”
Riverside County college going rates
Riverside County saw a sharp decline in college-going seniors from 2019 to 2020, although community colleges bore most of that drop.
Source: National Student Clearinghouse data provided by Riverside County Office of Education
Both private and public colleges are included in the 2-year and 4-year college going data.
She tried to contact UC Riverside herself, but “it’s really frustrating sending emails and then getting a reply two weeks later, and no one actually talking to you,” she said.
The responses Jennings did get were vague, telling her to email other departments on campus. So she decided to enroll at College of the Desert, “since classes were going to be online anyway.”
And then later in the summer, Jennings got a phone call. “I thought it was just one of those spam calls or something,” she said. “But I answered anyway.”
The voice on the other end of the line was counselor Yuri Nava, who told Jennings she could help her. Nava explained Jennings’ financial aid award and told her it wasn’t too late to go to UC Riverside after all.
Jennings was one of around 1,100 recent high school graduates from Riverside County who had been admitted to UC Riverside last year but had not accepted their offer or enrolled at another UC. County counselors and college admissions officers split the list and started reaching out in early July. Around 20 of those students who were contacted by the county ended up enrolling at UC Riverside, with several more getting help to go to community college.
With the pandemic in full swing, last year’s admission season was confusing for colleges, students, and parents, said UC Riverside Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions Alex Ruiz. He said the university worked with the county to increase outreach for what he characterized as an anomalous year, and that this year should be a return to relative normalcy.
Last week, Jennings just finished her first year at UC Riverside as a political science major. “I’m a first generation [student], so the process was kind of hard, and I really needed the extra help that I got,” she said.
Breaking the chainIn Riverside, Cifuentes hopes that College Comeback will show the need for ongoing postsecondary counseling that helps bridge the gap between the K-12 system and higher education.
Her dream would be to have a designated counselor in each district who works with graduates. Alumni counselors are not a new concept; it’s a common position in private schools and some public charter schools like the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, network.
“If I can show the impact of how many students we served, [the program] pays for itself” in terms of return for the community, she said.
Brian Cruz with his mother, Rossy Diaz, and sister Karime Cruz, photographed at Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District in San Jacinto on June 13, 2021.
Since May, around 30 students have had appointments, but several others have gotten assistance via text and email. Cifeuntes expects the number to pick up as more alumni hear about the program.
As for Cruz, he’s said he’s excited to start at Riverside City College this fall. He wants to study entrepreneurship and accounting so he can start his own business in the future.
His mom, Rossy Elizabeth Diaz, is equally excited. She’s been encouraging Cruz to go back to school, and is looking forward to Cruz’ 16-year-old sister heading to college in a few years.
Diaz appreciates the support Cruz got through College Comeback. “I feel really proud, really happy because I had my first kid when I was 17, so I didn’t have the chance to go to school,” she said. But “I had the chance to help them break that chain, for them to do something different from…their parents.”
Source: Charlotte West Author - posted on CalMatters College News
Photo by Nalani Hernandez-Melo for CalMatters