UCSB’s admissions office received a staggering 58,992 prospective freshmen and transfer student applications for Fall 2010.

According to information released by the UC Office of the President, UCSB received 46,672 applications from prospective freshmen, an increase of nearly 4.5 percent from last year’s total. In addition, 12,320 prospective transfer students applied — a 22.2 percent increase from 2009 and an increase of almost 40 percent from two years ago. In total, UCSB saw over 4,000 more applications than last year.

Chancellor Henry T. Yang said he feels strongly that this year’s spike is no coincidence.

“The larger pool of applicants this year indicates that UC Santa Barbara is becoming an increasingly popular choice for prospective students,” Yang said in a press release. “Students want to come here to learn from and do research with faculty who are the forefront of their fields, and to be part of a vibrant intellectual community with their peers.”

According to UCOP, statistics for Fall 2010 also indicate that the number of applications submitted by minorities, low-income families and first-generation college students is rapidly growing.

Director of Admissions Christine Van Gieson attributes the increase in applications to UCSB’s extensive recruiting process. Last year, nearly 10,000 prospective students and families attended Spring Insight, UCSB’s annual open house that includes faculty lectures and various presentations about the university.

“Our goals are to attract the brightest, most diverse and best prepared applicants,” Van Gieson said. “[We want] to ensure that students and parents have the information they need to make the best choice of campus.”

UCSB’s soaring popularity may not be an attractive prospect to all, however. As the application count continues to swell, many current students are eyeing the numbers with concern.

Alex Hilber, an undeclared second year, said he cannot help but feel a little apprehensive.

“It’s great that Santa Barbara is finally getting itself on the map,” Hilber said. “We’re such a unique campus, but at the same time, a large increase in students means classes are getting fuller faster, which in addition to the budget cuts limiting the number of classes, could pose a big problem.”

Dr. Glenn Beltz, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, said things may get tight, but overcrowding shouldn’t be an issue, despite a 12-percent increase in applications from prospective engineering students.

“[Due to] the increase, we have been forced to ask admissions to be more strict,” Beltz said. “We [the College of Engineering] are confident that we can accommodate everyone by the time fall starts.”