Minority Students Post Modest Gains In Admissions
By Jesus Mena and Janet Gilmore, Public Affairs
Offers of admission for the 1999-2000 school year have been extended by Berkeley to about 10,700 high school seniors who hail from nearly every county in California.
Of the record 31,051 students who applied, 8,197 students -- or roughly one of four -- were offered fall 1999 admission, administrators announced April 2. Another 2,491 students were offered admission for the spring 2000 term.
The individuals admitted for the fall 1999 class live in 53 of the state's 58 counties. About 25 percent come from families with annual incomes of less than $35,000. The percentage of African American, American Indian, Chicano and Latino students admitted has increased.
The number of underrepresented minority students admitted to the fall 1999 class is 29.1 percent higher than last year, rising from 818 a year ago to 1,056 as of April 1. Collectively, this group of students represents 13.2 percent of the admitted fall 1999 freshman class, compared to 10.5 percent last year.
Those admitted to the fall 1999 freshman class also include more white students, whose numbers increased from 2,674 at this time last year to 2,871 as of April 1. Asian Americans also increased, from 2,998 last year to 3,196 this year.
The group of students accepted for the fall 1999 freshman class breaks down as follows: Asian American, 40 percent; white, 35.9 percent; Chicano/Latino, 9.3 percent; African American, 3.5 percent; and American Indian, 0.5 percent. The remainder, including students who declined to state their ethnicity or described themselves as "other," comprises 10.8 percent of the admitted population. International students are not included in these figures.
"Our goal is to admit a class of exceptional students who represent the best of California, and I am delighted with what we have achieved this year," said Chancellor Berdahl. "I am also heartened by the modest increase in underrepresented minority students."
Berdahl credited this increase in part to the hard work of Berkeley students who volunteered to recruit the incoming class.
"I want to express my thanks to the Cal students who have shown incredible commitment to our recruitment efforts," Berdahl said. "Many of our students are volunteering their time, sharing with applicants their personal thoughts and observations about academic life and social life on the Berkeley campus."
This year's admissions readers had access to more information on the opportunities, or lack of opportunities, that applicants had at their particular schools. The campus has now built a comprehensive database that includes a broad range of academic and socio-economic indicators for each high school. This information on the accomplishments of each applicant, relative to his or her peers within the same high school, is provided to readers along with each applicant file.
"I am extremely pleased with this year's admissions process," said math professor Calvin Moore, chair of the Admissions, Enrollment & Preparatory Education committee. "Our faculty worked very closely with admissions officials, application readers and others to ensure that the process would offer a full, comprehensive assessment of each applicant. We look forward to teaching this remarkable group of students."
In this year's recruitment efforts, numerous student volunteers logged long hours calling financially disadvantaged applicants, offering assistance with financial aid applications and answering questions about student life at Berkeley.
With increased funding from the state Legislature, campus also broadened its efforts to help urban K-12 schools students master college-preparatory courses and subject matter. Berkeley students, working as tutors and as teachers, are an important part of this effort.
Admissions letters were mailed to accepted students March 31. Students have until May 1 to sign and return an intent-to-register letter. Officials estimate that roughly 3,700 students ultimately will register for the fall freshman 1999 class. An additional 860 students are expected to enroll for spring 2000.
Transfer student applicants are still being reviewed. Admissions expects to send acceptance letters to 2,450 community college transfer students by April 30.
All students admitted to the fall and spring freshman 1999 classes are being invited to a series of statewide receptions. Many also plan to attend Cal Day, April 17, which will include a number of special programs for admitted students.
Genaro Padilla, vice chancellor for undergraduate affairs, said the campus's goal is to admit a socially diverse student body in order to foster a rich undergraduate experience.
"We're doing everything we can to welcome each and every student, " said Padilla. "We want all students to know that Cal offers not only a world class education, but a supportive environment where students succeed and thrive."