UC Santa Cruz welcomes vibrant and talented incoming class

Students benefit from a rich and immersive educational journey, enriched by the vibrant intellectual exchange within the diverse residential colleges.

The University of California, Santa Cruz is preparing to welcome more than 5,500 new Banana Slugs to campus this fall, reflecting its commitment to providing equitable access and a transformational experience. 

Selected from a highly competitive pool of 79,000 applicants, this cohort of incoming students are poised to bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the campus community.

"We are excited to welcome such a talented and diverse group of first year and transfer students to UC Santa Cruz," said Chancellor Cynthia Larive. "Their passion for learning and commitment to making a positive impact on society aligns perfectly with our university's values and mission."

With a steadfast commitment to excellence, inclusivity, and diversity, UC Santa Cruz employs a holistic approach to recruit, evaluate, and support applicants throughout the decision-making journey. The campus is dedicated to fostering equity and promoting excellence in higher education, and embraces holistic application review as a means to admit a diverse student body that will thrive and enrich its vibrant academic community.

Academic excellence and diversity

The admitted cohort of first-year and transfer students stands out for its remarkable academic achievements, boasting a mean weighted high school GPA of 4.01 and a mean transfer college GPA of 3.48. Among these exceptional students, approximately 34 percent will be the first in their families to attend a university, a 27 percent increase over last year's admitted cohort, and 37 percent are from low income families. UC Santa Cruz extended admissions offers to 1,723 African American high school and transfer students from California, 11,206 Chicanx/Latinx California high school and transfer students, and 304 American Indian high school and transfer students from California.

The campus extended offers of admission to 35 percent more students from underrepresented groups this year than last year, including 33 percent more Black students, 65 percent more American Indian and Alaskan Native students, and 34 percent more Chicanx/Latinx students. 

California students at the forefront

The campus’s commitment to serving California students remains a top priority, and UC Santa Cruz has extended offers of admission to 33,128 California high school seniors and 6,727 transfer students from California community colleges. This dedication to providing access to a high-quality and affordable education ensures that the campus community remains diverse and inclusive.

"We are proud to serve as a destination for transfer and first-year California students seeking a transformative educational experience," said Michelle Whittingham, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment. "Our ongoing outreach and recruitment efforts in high schools and community colleges have resulted in increased interest from talented scholars across the state. The resilience, perseverance and passion of our applicants and admitted students continues to impress me each year.”  

In an effort to maximize access to a quality experience for California students, the campus for the first time made several hundred first-year admission offers for winter quarter when additional campus housing capacity will become available because of December graduations. “While we have historically brought in transfer students in January, we are very excited to ensure a quality winter start for first-year students as well,” Whittingham said.

Opportunities and impact

UC Santa Cruz has garnered prestigious recognition for its commitment to undergraduate teaching and social mobility among national public universities, as highlighted by U.S. News and World Report in 2022. 

For the second consecutive year, UC Santa Cruz earned the title of the No. 2 university for students focused on making a tangible impact on society, reflecting an unwavering commitment to effecting positive change. As a member of both the Association of American Universities and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, UC Santa Cruz showcases the quality and impact of its research, as well as a dedication to excellence in graduate and undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

UC Santa Cruz offers a distinctive academic experience –– a small liberal arts college environment through the residential college system, coupled with the depth and rigor of a major research university. Students benefit from a rich and immersive educational journey, enriched by the vibrant intellectual exchange within the diverse residential colleges.

At UC Santa Cruz, students are empowered to explore their passions, engage in transformative research, and contribute meaningfully to their communities and the world. The university's commitment to fostering intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and social responsibility is a testament to its unwavering dedication to educational excellence and positive societal impact.

Preparing for fall quarter

As fall quarter approaches, the campus will be providing on-campus housing for more than 9,200 students, more than half of the undergraduate class. The first phase of new construction at Kresge College will be wrapping up this summer, which includes three residence halls and a 35,000-square-foot academic center. Campus leaders are continuing to pursue all opportunities to provide more housing for current and future students. 

Welcome and orientation

Incoming students have already begun embarking on their academic journey through UC Santa Cruz's innovative Slug Orientation course, an award-winning course that helps to ensure a seamless transition to university life. The one-credit course is designed to connect new students to academic and social resources, to meet critical campus deadlines, to provide guidance and support for enrolling in first-quarter classes, and to assist with navigating campus processes.

The Summer Sessions' Summer Edge program is working with nearly 500 new frosh and transfer students as they begin their UC Santa Cruz education, contributing to the university's commitment of timely degree completion. 

Welcome Week, a continuation of Slug Orientation, is designed to foster connections among incoming students and introduce them to vital resources supporting their academic and social transition to the university.

Fall instruction begins on September 28 with move-in starting September 21. 

The campus is eager to welcome the incoming cohort of Banana Slugs and looks forward to nurturing their academic and personal growth as they contribute to the university's tradition of excellence and impact on society.