The entering 2003-04 freshman class may be the largest ever to enroll at UCSB. Out of the 18,788 applicants who were admitted, 4,283 signed a statement of intent to register (S.I.R.). This is an increase from last year’s 4,100.

Each year the number of students who actually enroll is smaller than the number of students who sign a S.I.R. The enrollment of the freshman class will not be finalized until after classes have started. On the 15th day of class the Office of Budget and Planning will conduct a survey that will produce the final number of the enrolled freshman.

UCSB received 3,000 more applications this year than in the past two years. Director of Admissions Christine Van Gieson attributes this to the national trend of increasing numbers of people applying to college.

“All UC campuses received more applications. I think it’s due to the demographic upswing of more and more high school students applying to college. Also, more applicants applied to multiple campuses to ensure that they would be accepted to at least one,” Van Gieson said.

Van Gieson said the level of competition among applicants was similar to last year. Due to the increased number of applications, 50 percent of applicants were admitted this year, compared to 51 percent last year.

“More people are applying to college as a way to get a better chance to get a job,” undeclared freshman Mary Elliot said. “At least at my high school a lot of people saw college as the only way to get a good job, and so they applied. I guess it has always been like that, though.”

The academic performance of this year’s entering class is higher than last year’s, with a mean SAT score of 1186, compared to last year’s 1172, and a mean high school GPA of 3.72 compared to last year’s 3.71. However, the academic performance of the entering class of 2001 was slightly better than the two subsequent freshman classes, 2002 and 2003.

There has been a 3 percent drop in the number of students whose parents’ highest level of education was in post-graduate studies, going from 44 percent in 2002 to 41 percent in 2003. Forty-one percent of the freshman class comes from a household with a $100,000 or more income, an increase from the last two years.

Ethnically, the class is 60 percent Caucasian, 14 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, 14 percent Chicano, 4 percent Latino, 3 percent African-American, 3 percent Filipino, 2 percent other, and 1 percent American Indian. The percentage of students from underrepresented minorities (American Indian, African American, Chicano, Latino) rose by less than one percent from last year.

One out of every three freshmen has not officially declared a major. Among those who have declared a major, engineering/computer sciences is the most popular, with 12 percent of the admitted class claiming that field.