Crossing their fingers as they open an email from UCLA, a straight-A student with an SAT score of 1540 feels a tear roll down their cheek as they see the dreaded words “We cannot offer you admission at this time, your application will be reconsidered at a later time.”
Students throughout California are being rejected from a lot of UC’s. Though the UC system hasn’t publicized the reason for crushing these students’ dreams, there have been many theories as to why this is happening.
The first of these reasons being standardized test requirements. As all UC’s are test-blind as of 2021, students are no longer defined by their SAT/ACT scores. In the past, if two students are equally well-rounded but one has an SAT score of 1290 and the other has a score of 1470, the second student is accepted. Now, everything is up to the subjective decisions of UC admissions. Therefore, students are competing to be involved in as many extracurriculars as they can, and admissions has to decide which of these activities is most attractive. Adding on to the overwhelmingly increasing number of applicants, spots are limited to the top students.
The pandemic also affected acceptances. Because the past years have been hard on everyone, the UC system was more forgiving last year, and accepted more undergraduates than they usually did. That means in the next four years, until this class graduates, the acceptance rates will be lower simply due to the lack of dorms, lecture halls, and classes.
Lastly, because universities want their campus to maintain its diversity, students’ race, gender, and location is also looked at in addition to their academics and extracurriculars. This makes the playing field extremely uneven: a talented student from downtown Los Angeles might be rejected, but an average senior from El Monte might get accepted just because the college wants students from different areas of the state.
Unfortunately, the UC system cannot do anything about the first few reasons for their selectiveness this year. The last factor they use to determine acceptance, however, should not be used. It puts deserving students at a disadvantage just because the school has too many students from one city and they don’t want to accept too many students from the same area.
Additionally, the average students that live in a favored area will most likely be the ones who drop out because they cannot catch up with the rigorous UC curriculum, especially in higher ranked UC’s such as Berkeley and LA.
While there will always be flaws to every system, the University of California should consider giving every student a fair chance of attending its schools to reduce students’ stress.