A record 39,935 students applied for admission to UCSB for Fall Quarter 2001, an 8.8 percent increase over last year that mirrors a systemwide trend of bolstered applications.

Overall, 91,904 prospective freshmen and transfer students applied to the University of California this year. UC officials said they were pleased with the 7.1 percent increase over last year, and also by the record number of applications from underrepresented minority students.

Close to 12,000 underrepresented minorities – African Americans, American Indians, Chicanos and Latinos – applied systemwide, and for every group except American Indians, the number of applicants was at a record high.

"It’s a very encouraging sign, and it certainly was welcomed by all of us. I don’t know that people had a specific numerical expectation in mind, but it is a very healthy jump in applications, and it was certainly a welcome development," UC Spokesperson Brad Hayward said.

Applications from prospective freshman of every ethnic group increased at UCSB. Although the number of applicants was dominated by whites at 41 percent (13,888 students), the greatest percentage increase came from Chicanos, who showed a 21.4 percent increase over last year (from 2,863 applications to 3,476). Filipino Americans also have shown greater interest in UCSB, as applications increased 18.2 percent this year (from 1,034 to 1,222) and have increased 49.9 percent over the last two years – the highest percentage increase of any ethnic group at UCSB.

The difficulty for Santa Barbara administrators lies in getting students from underrepresented minority groups to come to UCSB after they have been accepted. The school will begin outreach efforts to those students in March.

Chancellor Henry Yang and his wife, Dilling, along with faculty, staff, students and alumni, will tour the state to host a series of receptions next month to meet many of these students.

"As we meet with diverse groups of quality scholars, all of whom have already been admitted, our purpose is to help them make the decision to come to UCSB," Yang wrote in a statement.

The outreach efforts come only after applications are sorted, processed and approximately 15,000 of the applicants receive acceptance letters. UCSB accepts far more students than it can enroll, because those students who are admitted will also have the option of attending other schools. Former Admissions Director Bill Villa, who now works as an admissions adviser to the chancellor, said the actual freshmen enrollment will be around 3,500 to 3,600.

"Our ability to predict the right number of admissions offers that will translate into the right numbers in the entering class is the most challenging part of the job," Villa said.

The admissions office has about 50 employees looking at applications. Roughly 50-75 percent of applicants are picked based on an eligibility index, which is a composite of GPA multiplied by 1,000, SAT I and three SAT II scores. The other selections are based on a "comprehensive assessment of the whole applicant file," Villa said.

Last year, the office slightly overestimated the demand, and accepted too few freshmen. The entering freshmen class for Fall 2000 was under 3,400, and admissions had planned for closer to 3,800. To compensate this year, they will admit an extra thousand freshmen, Villa said.

The office is still scrambling to wade through the 39,000 applications it received this time. "Overall our applicant pool increased just above the systemwide average, and at the transfer level we had a significant increase as well," Villa said. "It’s just a lot of effort."