Archie Williams seniors receive University of California decisions amid historically high application rates


Courtesy of ASUCLA

An exterior view of the UC Los Angeles store. Since 2011, admission to the school has fallen from 23 percent to 9 percent in 2023.

Throughout the month of March, the University of California (UC) school system released their admissions decisions for their 2027 Class. In total, UC received 245,768 applications for their freshman class, with 132,226 applications from in-state students and 39,363 from transfer students. While less than total applications for UC’s Class of 2026 (251,179), total applications to UC have spiked within the past decade, nearly tripling since 2017. 

Despite a 2.2 percent decrease in total applications in 2023, applications to UC Irvine, Riverside, and Santa Cruz increased (Santa Cruz by 2,422, Riverside by 1,255, and Irvine by 1,153). Applications to UC Berkeley, Davis, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Merced decreased.

As a result of increased applications, acceptance rates for UC Berkeley, Los Angeles, Davis, Irvine, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz have plummeted. Since 2011, acceptance rates for in-state students to UC San Diego fell from 32 percent to 24 percent in 2022. In that same time frame, acceptance rates to UC Irvine fell from 45 percent to 18 percent.

Lisa Neumaier, Archie Williams College and Career Specialist, attributes this change to UC’s decision to eliminate standardized testing scores as an admission requirement. According to Neumaier, this encouraged more students to apply to the UC system.

“When you take away [standardized] testing, you’re going to have more people jump down into that pool and see if they can get in, and if [UC has] no more spots to give you, [UC] will only get more and more competitive,” Neumaier said. 

Total Applications to Individual UC’s for the Class of 2026 and 2027. (Henry Pratt)

While applicants can complete the UC application on their own, Neumaier says help from College and Career Specialists at Archie Williams can boost a prospective applicant’s chance of admission to UC. Although this will not guarantee admission to a student’s UC of choice, Neumaier says specialists can provide advice and assistance to UC applicants, especially with Personal Insight Question (PIQ) essays.

“[Archie Williams College and Career Specialists] are all really skilled and confident about giving advice to kids with those pieces… All of us have been here long enough and have read so many [PIQs] and we just feel confident. We know what good writing is,” Neumaier said.

Neumaier recommends students who did not get into the UC of their choice to consider attending a community college such as College of Marin. According to Neumaier, it is easier to transfer into the UC system from a community college rather than applying as a senior in high school.

“I know our seniors don’t want to hear this, but you could go to College of Marin or any other California community college…and get into [UC] Berkeley, or you would need a GPA over a 4.0 coming out of high school…You would still need to be an involved student, but the GPA piece [of your application] doesn’t need to be as high,” Neumaier said.

In-State Acceptance Rates to UC Schools in Comparison to Acceptance Rates Among Archie Williams Students (Class of 2026) (Henry Pratt)

Barnett (B.T.) Salle-Widelock, a senior at Archie Williams, applied to three schools within the UC system (Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara), all of which accepted him for their 2027 Class. In an effort to thoughtfully respond to the application, B.T. began planning his essay responses during the summer before his senior year.

“I would recommend getting a start on the essays early, during the summer. It’s good to at least have some idea of the questions you want to answer and your topics,” B.T. said.

Similar to Neumaier, B.T. believes that the considerable number of applications UC received this year made acceptance rates more competitive. While it is unknown exactly how many Archie Williams applicants UC accepted for their 2027 Class, B.T. knows many students who were not accepted by their UC of choice.

“I have heard many people have gotten rejected from their top UC, lots of dissatisfaction all around. It seems like the applicant pool was very large this year and more competitive,” B.T. said.

I would recommend getting a start on the essays early, during the summer. It’s good to at least have some idea of the questions you want to answer and your topics.

— B.T. Salle-Widelock

UC schools will require prospective freshmen to decide where they will attend college by May 1. According to Neumaier, Archie Williams College and Career Specialists will survey current seniors to gauge their admissions decisions to individual colleges shortly thereafter. 

While the Class of 2026 remains UC’s largest applicant pool to date, admissions are still highly competitive.