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UC Berkeley Applications Leap 7.9%

UC Berkeley saw applications swell again for the upcoming year, leading all UC campuses except UCLA in the number of would-be students. More than 90,000 sought admission to Cal for the 2013-14 school year.

UC Berkeley students flock to Caltopia the annual college lifestyle event held at the beginning of the school year. Photo credit: Charles Burress, Aug. 26, 2013
UC Berkeley students flock to Caltopia the annual college lifestyle event held at the beginning of the school year. Photo credit: Charles Burress, Aug. 26, 2013
Applications to UC Berkeley for this coming school year shot up by 7.9 percent, topping the 6.2 percent average for the 9-campus UC system as a whole, UC officials reported.

Two campuses saw a larger percent rise – 8.7 percent for San Diego and 8.2 percent for Irvine – in the combined total of freshman and transfer applicants, according to preliminary UC figures released Friday.

Freshman applications at Berkeley totaled 73,711, while transfer applications amounted to 16,573.

Berkeley's total 90,284 applications for the 2013-14 school year were a distant second to the 105,824 who applied to get into UCLA and were barely ahead of UC San Diego's applicant pool of 89,537.

The newest campus, Merced, had the fewest applicants – 17,469 – while Riverside attracted the second lowest number of 43,395.

One perhaps surprising outcome was a 0.5 percent decrease in transfer applications systemwide, after having risen 1.1 percent the previous year.

Freshmen applications at all nine campuses rose 6.2 percent for the 2013-14 year, not as high as the 10.7 percent boost the year before.

At Berkeley, both freshman and transfer applications were up this year. Freshmen grew 8.9 percent from previous year, lower than the previous year's of 9.7 percent. Transfer applications at Berkeley rose 3.7 percent for 2013-14, a larger boost than the 1.7 percent rise of the previous year.

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Lou Judson January 21, 2014 at 12:08 PM
"Leap" and "shot up" are pretty livid words for a small increase. It would be cool if you could check out the average annual increase in applications over the past 100 and the past 10 years, and then tell us if it is a leap or a nomal progression. THAT could even be called Journalism! I look forward to the response...
Charles Burress January 24, 2014 at 03:13 AM
Thank you for your feedback. I am happy to offer a response. You raise a fair question. I agree that a “leap” can be defined by comparison to past distances that the subject has moved, but I also think there are other valid uses of the word. A daredevil who regularly leaps off a 50-foot high dive into a tub of water is moving the same distance every time, but each time is still a leap. Nevertheless, let’s use your standard for whether the word leap is justified in the case of a 7.9 percent increase in applicants compared to past increases in applicants. You ask what the growth rate in applications was for the past 10 years or 100 years at Cal. I don’t have those figures, but it so happens we recently published an article noting that the undergraduate enrollment at Cal was 2,516 in the 1906-07 school year, which is close to a century ago. If we make the reasonable assumption that at least a fourth of the students were freshmen, we get at least 629 students admitted in 1906. So we can reasonably assume that there were at least 629 applicants that year. If that number were to increase 7.9 percent a year for 108 years, the number of applicants for the 2014-15 school year would be 2,317,217, if my math is correct. And since the actual number of applicants for the 2014-15 school year is 73,711, then we can see that a 7.9 percent increase represents a substantial increase over the yearly average for the past century (which I think would be around 4.5 percent). I also did a quick scan of Los Angeles Times headlines to see when they used the word "Leap" and found it applied in many instances where the percentage increase was considerably smaller. The first hit in my search, for example, was "Dow Leaps 157," referring to a rise of 1.7 percent in the Dow Jones average.

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