UCSB has admitted 22,168 incoming freshmen for the 2007-08 academic year – an applicant pool that is slightly smarter but also a bit less selective than in years past.

Of the accepted class, 20,690 hail from California high schools. The average GPA for the admits rose from 3.97 last year to 3.98, while the combined average SAT score rose from 1864 last year to 1866. The university ultimately expects 4,200 to accept, which is a record high for class size.

“UCSB’s entering class is the biggest ever with 54 percent admitted, just a tick less selective then last year’s 53.4 percent,” Director of Admissions Christine Van Gieson said.

The University of California offered admission to the largest amount of students ever, over 50,000, which is up 3.8 percent from last year, said Susan Wilbur, director of UC undergraduate admissions. The number of underrepresented minority groups is 22.9 percent, compared to 21.7 percent from 2006. The academic quality of incoming freshmen for all UCs continues to excel with an average GPA of 3.79, and a score of above 590 on each SAT test.

A factor that may have contributed to the increased diversity of admits at UCLA and UC Berkeley is their recent shift to a holistic review admissions approach, rather than a comprehensive review. Wilbur said the holistic approach still takes GPA and test scores into account like the comprehensive review does, but it also recognizes the “context of a student’s learning experience.”

“Holistic review is very sophisticated form of comprehensive review and is very sensitive to individual students’ circumstances,” Wilbur said. “We feel that this is a very good way of looking at the applicants and understanding accomplishments and achievements, as well as circumstances.”

She said the UC is very encouraged by the admissions numbers this year and may consider using the holistic approach for other schools. UCLA’s numbers of admitted underrepresented minorities increased 218 from last year after decreasing 93 from 2005.

Van Gieson said next year’s entering freshman class is not only the largest ever, but also the most diverse. A total 4,444 admitted students identified themselves as members of an ethnic minority on their applications, representing an increase of 383 students.

“[There is a] stronger application pool and students of underrepresented minority groups [have become] more admissible than in previous years,” Van Gieson said. “The goals of admission [are to admit] the most talented and most diverse students.”

Van Gieson credited UCSB’s early academic outreach programs, which work with junior high and high school students, with being the reason behind the university’s increase in minority admissions.

Fourth-year sociology and Chicana and Chicano studies major Annette Toscano works with the Hermanas Unidas’ Making Educational Networks That Open Roads program to help high school students be admitted to the university. She said she feels UCSB’s increasing popularity is attributable to its strong academics and desirable location.

However, in her interactions with the students, Toscano said she has noticed that the first question they ask is about UCSB’s party reputation.

“I can’t say that for sure that our reputation as a party school is someone’s top priority when selecting to come here,” Toscano said. “I do know that every time I do a high school presentation or visit with younger students it is the first question they ask is, ‘Is it really a party school like everyone says?'”
-Allison Bailey and Lindsey Miller contributed to this article.