eSlug Newsletter Spring 2016

Director of Admissions Michael McCawley. Photo by Jim MacKenzie.

Director of Admissions Michael McCawley. Photo by Jim MacKenzie.

Many people are familiar with the phrase, “beware the Ides of March,” and you don’t have to be Irish to wish people a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day,” but to us here at UC Santa Cruz March 15 and March 17 have a different significance – these are dates when we release our admissions decisions to first-year applicants and begin releasing our decisions to junior-level transfer applicants, respectively. This is a time of elation and angst for thousands and thousands of students and their families. For those students who have been offered admission, we congratulate them on that accomplishment, and we recognize that behind these newly admitted students are a host of individuals that play key roles in their success, especially high school and college counselors like you!

At midnight on March 15, we began releasing our decisions to first-year applicants, posting all of our decisions, both positive and negative. We were able to admit 24,704 freshmen (out of 49,135 applicants) in hopes of enrolling 4,300 students for fall 2016. Of the remaining applicants that were denied, we did offer nearly 10,000 to be placed on our waitlist. While our overall admit rate was just over 50%, fall 2016 represents our most selective admissions cycle since the opening of the campus over 50 years ago.

We share in the disappointment of the frosh applicants who were not offered admission to our campus, but in our messaging to them, we remind them that a UCSC degree is still possible, as a junior-level student. The transfer pathway through our California community colleges allows students to take UC-transferable coursework and prepare for their intended major, making the same progress they would have made had they begun their collegiate career at our campus; more importantly, they can stay on track for a four-year graduation from UC Santa Cruz.

The Office of Admissions provides a number of online resources for denied applicants, and one in particular can help them better understand how we selected our admitted students. This is an excellent resource for you too, and you can find that on our Admissions web site by accessing the document “Information for First-Year Students Not Offered Admission (March 15, 2016).” You’ll find an academic profile of our admitted frosh, and those figures represent all-time highs for our campus. You’ll also find information about how a denied student (including those offered a waitlist) can appeal our decision, if they truly feel an appeal is warranted. Since our selection process is very rigorous, recent history has shown us that very few appeals are providing us new (or compelling) information, so the vast majority of appeals are denied.

I also want to point out that we have posted our Conditions of Admissions Contract (for both frosh and transfer students) on our counselor web site. Please do check out these important documents which clearly articulate our expectations for newly admitted students in order for their admission offer to remain intact. As you know, all UC campuses' offers of admission are provisional, and each campus holds students to several “conditions” that outline what they must do for their admission to be finalized. I firmly believe that each of our admitted students is fully capable of meeting their Conditions of Admissions Contract, and to help them (and perhaps you) better understand each condition, we have an excellent FAQs document that is made available to them, and to you here.

For our transfer applicants, we did begin releasing our admission decisions on March 17, but this represents only a small portion of our total applicant pool. We have a document similar to the frosh document to help transfer applicants understand how we select our transfer students for admission, and you can access that by clicking here. The Conditions of Admission Contract for transfers, as you can imagine, is somewhat different from the frosh Contract, so be sure to check that out too. Since nearly half of our majors require specific courses/grades to be completed prior to enrolling at UCSC, you may also want to access the Major Preparation Selection Criteria 2016-17 to better understand those expectations that are part of condition #3 in our Contract.

To date, the majority of our transfer applicants have yet to be reviewed, and they should not read anything into not hearing at this point. We have a long way to go, but by April 30, all transfer applicants will know their decision; in the meantime, we ask for their patience while we continue our evaluations.

We can, however, celebrate the admission of over 1,000 transfer students to date – congratulations to them on that accomplishment! These earlier admits do include hundreds of our Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) students, which is my not-so-subtle plug for that program! If you don’t know about the TAG program, check out the information on our web site.

For all of our admitted students, a host of opportunities await them, not the least of which is our Spring Spotlight, and online Spotlight Monday, sessions. These events are designed for our admitted students and their families to help them make an informed decision if UC Santa Cruz is a good fit for them. We want students who accept their offer of admission to look forward to a rich educational experience that puts them on track to reach their goals. And their parents and guardians may be reassured to know of our commitment to a timely graduation for all of our undergraduates. Freshmen can graduate in four years or less, and junior-level transfers in two years. We admit thousands of successful applicants, but put another way, we admit thousands of future alums!

I hope to see many of you when I’m out on the road this spring, but if our paths don’t cross, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your important role in the successes of your students. Whether you’re advising high school students or transfer students, I know we couldn’t do our work without you and I thank you for all your efforts.