UC Santa Cruz prepares to welcome new students for fall 2012

More than 52 percent of incoming freshmen are 'first generation' college students

Photo of student moving in with boxes, surfboard
An incoming student at Merrill College unloads boxes of possessions (and a surfboard) during last fall's "move-in" weekend. Photo: Jim MacKenzie

UC Santa Cruz students are scheduled to begin moving into university housing on Wednesday, September 19, in anticipation of the 2012-13 school year. The first day of instruction in the fall quarter is Thursday, September 27. The fall-quarter "move-in" for students living on campus is scheduled to continue through Sunday, September 23.

Here are some facts and figures about this year's new students.

Number of 'first generation' students continues to rise:
An estimated 5,100 new undergraduate students are expected when classes begin on September 27. UCSC is also expecting approximately 320 new graduate students this fall.

Of the expected 5,100 new undergraduate students, 3,850 will be new freshman and 1,250 new transfer students; nearly 93 percent of transfer students are coming directly from California's community colleges, with the largest number (153) coming from Cabrillo College.

Incoming freshman continue to become more ethnically diverse at UCSC. And a larger number of this year's freshmen are "first-generation students from families where neither parent has a four-year degree," says Michael McCawley, UCSC's director of admissions. These "first generation" freshmen are expected to make up more than 52 percent of the class; this is a large increase over last year's frosh class, of which 45 percent were "first-generation" incoming students.

Almost 40 percent of the freshman class is comprised of students from ethnic backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented (African-American/Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Hispanic ethnicities) within the UC system; the 39 percent is a jump from last fall's 34 percent. This fall's freshman class is also expected to comprise 28 percent students who are Asian American. Approximately 32 percent of the students identified themselves as White/Caucasian; another 1 percent of incoming freshmen declined to report an ethnicity.

"The fact that UCSC is more ethnically diverse means that the campus is evermore reflective of California's ethnic diversity," McCawley says. "And the fact that our first-generation numbers continue to climb reflects the fact that we are providing today's students with greater access and opportunities than their parents' generation."

Their academic interests:
Approximately one-quarter (25.7 percent) of the incoming freshman class has not yet declared a major.

Among the frosh who have declared:
• 27.7 percent have declared a major in the Physical & Biological Sciences (most popular: Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology);
• 25.5 percent, in the Social Sciences (most popular: Psychology);
• 11.5 percent, in Engineering (most popular: Computer Science);
• 4.7 percent, in the Arts Division (most popular: Film & Digital Media), and;
• 4.9 percent, in Humanities (most popular: Literature).

2012-13 projected enrollment for UCSC:
Enrollment for the fall quarter will not be known until after the third week of classes. But UCSC's three-quarter average enrollment for the 2012-13 academic year is projected to be 17,135 — approximately 400 students more than were enrolled on campus in the 2011-12 academic year.

Housing UCSC students:
Capacity in university housing has increased for 2012-13 to approximately 8,434 "bed spaces." That's approximately 500 more than this time last year.

UCSC is expecting to fill approximately 8,300 of those spaces when the fall quarter gets under way, reports Sue Matthews, associate vice chancellor for colleges, housing, and educational services. "In addition to providing housing to new UCSC students, we're excited that nearly 3,700 continuing students will be living in on-campus housing again this year," Matthews said.

New buildings, new spaces:
• Dead Central is open for its first fall: Over the summer, UCSC celebrated the public opening of the Grateful Dead Archive at the University Library.

• Biomedical Sciences Building is open for its first fall: Faculty members in biomedical research around campus began moving into this new building last spring. Designed to promote interdisciplinary interactions, the Biomedical Sciences Building houses faculty from the Departments of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology; Biomolecular Engineering; Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology; Physics; and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The building provides space for 24 biomedical research faculty members.

• Popular cafe to be renamed for alumnus: A dedication ceremony is set for 5-7 p.m. Thursday, September 20, for the Terry Freitas Cafe at Colleges Nine and Ten. The popular student cafe is being renamed to honor Crown College alumnus Terence (Terry) Freitas who was kidnapped and killed in 1999 at age 24 while working with the U'wa people in Colombia.

Move-in schedule:
For detailed information about move-in activities, which continue through Sunday, September 23, please go to: housing.ucsc.edu/move-in/

Welcome Week activities:
Once the new students are here, a large number of activities are planned to welcome them to campus, as well as welcome back returning students. Sessions include tours of the library and other campus resources, as well as academic advising.

Specific activities include the annual back-to-school trip to the Boardwalk (on Monday evening, September 24) and the OPERS Fall Festival (on Tuesday, September 25). For details on the many activities, go to: admissions.ucsc.edu/orientation/.

About UC Santa Cruz:
The University of California, Santa Cruz, which is renowned for the outstanding educational experience it provides to students, has earned national distinction as a major research university with an uncommon commitment to teaching and public service.

Undergraduates now pursue course work in 63 majors in the arts, engineering, humanities, physical and biological sciences, and social sciences. Graduate students work toward master's degrees, doctoral degrees, and graduate certificates in 34 academic fields.

On a campus with world-class facilities and one of the most visually spectacular settings in higher education, faculty and students continue to augment UCSC's impressive record of achievement. In fact, UCSC people, including about 85,000 alumni, are leaders in virtually every field; the campus is increasingly acknowledged for the positive impact it has on all aspects of society.