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Record number of students apply to Berkeley

Annual growth rate in volume slows

| 05 February 2009

More than 48,600 high-school students have applied for admission to Berkeley's fall 2009 freshman class, reflecting another record year for the number of applications filed.

However, administrators here and at other campuses in the UC system have noticed a slowdown in the rate of increase of freshman applications for this fall when compared to fall 2008 applications filed. Across the UC system, among California residents applying for admission, fall 2009 applications collectively increased just 1.6 percent between 2008 and 2009, compared to 7.7 percent between 2007 and 2008, according to systemwide officials.

At Berkeley, 48,627 California residents, non-residents, and international students applied for fall 2009 freshman admission, up just slightly from the 48,416 students who applied for fall 2008 freshman admission, a difference of 0.4 percent. In comparison, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of applications filed between fall 2007 and fall 2008.

Campus admissions officials say the cause of the slowdown is unclear, but they note that the current economic downturn could be a factor. Walter Robinson, the campus's director of undergraduate admissions, points out that students with family household incomes of $60,000 to $99,999 represent the largest drop in applications, a decrease of more than 300 applications compared to fall 2008 applications for that income group. Most other fall 2009 applicant income groups had an increase or relatively small decrease in applications when compared to the previous year.

On the academic front, Berkeley's fall 2009 applicant group remains as strong as or stronger than the fall 2008 applicant group in terms of grade-point averages and SAT scores. The pool remains diverse, showing a 3 percent increase in applications from underrepresented minority students (African Americans, American Indians, and Chicano/Latinos).

Berkeley plans to offer fall admission to approximately 4,300 new freshmen, the same enrollment target as in fall 2008. Students are evaluated based on a combination of factors including grades, coursework, test scores, how they have handled challenges and opportunities, and indicators of personal characteristics, including leadership, motivation, and persistence. Freshman admission decisions will be announced in late March.

Additional and detailed data on Berkeley freshman applicants, as well as on transfer applicants, is posted online — along with comparable data from other UC campuses.