With record applications, UC Santa Cruz poised to build exceptional, diverse fall class

With more than 74,000 undergraduate applicants, UC Santa Cruz is reviewing students who are poised to contribute to and benefit from the opportunities of a major research university

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UC Santa Cruz shares the distinction of being the youngest member of the esteemed 65-member American Association of Universities and is one of only four members that is also a Hispanic-serving institution. Additionally, for the second year in a row, UC Santa Cruz was ranked among the top-five universities nationally for student social mobility. (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

UC Santa Cruz has begun thoughtfully building an excellent and diverse cohort of students who would begin their college journey in fall 2021.

“We take great pride in working with our faculty to identify students who have maximized the academic and social opportunities within their communities and demonstrated their ability to contribute to and benefit from the opportunities available at a major research university,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Michelle Whittingham.

At UC Santa Cruz, the pairing of high-impact research with 10 tight-knit residential colleges offers undergraduate students the experience of a small liberal arts college with the depth and rigor of a major research university. Even in the midst of remote learning and operations, our colleges have developed and supported each student’s transition to university study.

Since opening in 1965, UC Santa Cruz has been on an unprecedented trajectory, with faculty conducting transformative research and scholarship that serves the world. UC Santa Cruz joined the American Association of Universities (AAU) in 2019 and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities in 2020, a remarkable achievement for a university not even 60 years old, underscoring the impact and quality of the campus’ research as well as graduate and undergraduate teaching.

UC Santa Cruz shares the distinction of being the youngest member of the esteemed 65-member AAU and is one of only four members that is also a Hispanic-serving institution. Additionally, for the second year in a row, UC Santa Cruz was ranked among the top-five universities nationally for student social mobility.

The competition to earn a spot at UC Santa Cruz will increase this year, with the campus receiving a record number of applications and nearly 200 students approved last year to defer their enrollment to fall 2021.

The campus received more than 74,000 applications from first-year and transfer students, an 11 percent increase from the previous year’s applications, according to preliminary data released today by the UC Office of the President. The campus received more than 49,000 applications from California high school students, a 12 percent increase over the previous year, and more than 11,000 applications from students studying primarily at California community colleges, an 8 percent increase.

UC Santa Cruz received 24,690 applications from California students who will be the first person in their family to earn a four-year degree, and 22,822 applications from California students with families with low incomes.

Applications from first-year and transfer students outside of California, both domestic and international, increased by 10 percent.

UC Santa Cruz continued to see interest from ethnically diverse California students with this year’s figures.

Of California first-year applicants, 6 percent identify as African American; 32 percent as Asian American; 34 percent as Chicanx/Latinx; 0.5 percent as American Indian and 25 percent as white. Of the California community college applicants who are domestic students, 6 percent identify as African American; 28 percent as Asian American; 1 percent as American Indian; 32 percent as Chicanx/Latinx; and 32 percent as White.

First-year undergraduate applicants will be notified of admission decisions beginning late-February, with most notifications in mid-March. Transfer decisions will begin to be released in mid-March. Admitted first-year students have until May 1 to indicate their intent to enroll and transfer students have until June 1.

Excitement building for fall

UC Santa Cruz is planning to return to primarily in-person instruction for fall 2021, after transitioning to mostly remote instruction because of the global pandemic. With a successful testing and vaccination program, UC Santa Cruz leaders believe the campus will be able to have the majority of its on-campus experiences return in the fall.

Though the global pandemic prevented in-person outreach this admissions cycle, Whittingham said the campus successfully mounted a series of online events and virtual campus tours to showcase all the opportunities that define a UC Santa Cruz education.

This cohort of future alumni, the Class of 2023 and the Class of 2025, will join more than 120,000 alumni who are making their own contributions locally, regionally, and globally.