What’s Wrong With the UCs?

As spring rolls around, college acceptances and denials come crashing–all at once–into a senior’s life.

For the past four years, students have labored determinedly over their studies with a number of dream colleges in mind. And although some achieved what they sought, several members of the 2014 senior class found themselves shocked by denials–particularly from UC’s.

“Initially, it made me very upset,” said senior Josh Pfeffer, in wake of being denied and wait listed by several UCs. “I expected to get into the majority of them, based on last year’s results and those in past years I’ve known to have gotten in.”

College denial is an especially troubling truth for many hardworking students today. Accompanied with ever-present academic, social and parental pressures, it’s no simple thing to accept.

“It seemed like a lot of overqualified people were either wait listed or denied from schools they should have easily gotten into,” senior Hannah Braidman said.

For years, UC acceptance rates have displayed a fluctuating ratio of out-of-state and international students. Of recent, there appears to be an increase in these admissions. As residents of California, a number of students hold concerns regarding in-state priority.

“California parents’ tax money go and help fund these UC schools, and I think, for that reason, in-state students should get more priority,” said Pfeffer. “The UC’s preach diversity. They get more money from out-of-state and international students. And it’s getting harder each year for white males who live in California to get into these schools.”

Does race play a significant part? Does money? Speculation is wide and varied, especially upon seeing the recent increase in admission of out-of-state students. But the problem could, just as well, be attributed to pure, cutthroat competition.

“I think people are becoming more aware as the generations go on,” senior Natalia Maverakis said. “For example, my dad–people in his high school just didn’t really pay much attention to college, but now, that generation knows the consequences of not going to college and the benefits of going to a great college. I think they’re pushing their children more towards reach schools, like UCs.”

In fact, the UCs altogether had a record number of applicants this year. With numbers high and rising, future applicants can only strive to do one ultimate thing: their best.

“What sets you apart is your standardized test scores. Study for your SAT, study for your ACT. And especially if you’re going into engineering or chemistry, study for your SAT subject tests–that’s something that I didn’t take seriously and I regret it now,” said Pfeffer.

In offering advice, many seniors stressed the importance of test scores above other things. And come time for the application process, students should pay mind to the abounding number of applicants.

“Apply everywhere. Don’t think that you’re too cool for CSU’s–apply there. Don’t think that you’re not good enough for UC’s–apply there. Apply to Ivy’s, apply to private schools–get a little bit of everything,” senior Kalina Klisz said.

Along with college denials come rumors, conjectures and frustration. The UC system is no less complicated now than it has been in past years, and will likely continue to be the topic of much discussion–especially among high school students. But although college denial may hurt us, it does not keep us from success.