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Inside the admissions controversy

October 31, 2003

Who gets admitted?
• Beyond test scores: Profiles of freshmen with SATs 1000 or below
• Freshman selection criteria at UC Berkeley
• Apply to UC Berkeley

The number of applications for admission to UC Berkeley continues to grow every year. Last year, more than 37,000 high school students applied for fall 2003 admission. UC Berkeley was able to offer admission to only 8,900 applicants, eventually enrolling a fall freshman class of about 3,600 students.

Despite the large number of applications, each student who applies to UC Berkeley is evaluated on an individual basis in a comprehensive review process. This process is consistent with University of California Regents’ policy and similar to the process used by many elite private colleges and universities.

UC Berkeley's view
• Chancellor Berdahl answers published criticism of Berkeley admissions
• UC Berkeley responds to Regent Moores' report on admissions
• Report to the Berkeley Faculty on Undergraduate Admission and Comprehensive Review: Committee on Admissions, Enrollment, and Preparatory Education, May 2002

In recent weeks, news reports have focused on questions raised by UC Regent John Moores about Berkeley’s admissions process, based on his own analysis of SAT I test score data. Berkeley officials have stated that the analysis contains misleading data and draws incorrect conclusions about the UC Berkeley freshman admissions process.

The campus’s internal reviews and a University of California study issued this fall show that comprehensive review has produced freshman classes that are superior academically to previous classes, and that comprise students from a broad array of income levels, geographic regions, talents, experiences and interests.

Comprehensive review
• Update on comprehensive review: UC Office of the President
•  Measures of academic excellence rising under comprehensive review: UCOP news release
•  Comprehensive review progress report: Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, Sept. 2003 (PDF)
•  President Dynes appoints admissions study group

Berkeley’s faculty adopted comprehensive review for use starting in 1998 because they believe that detailed, individual analysis of each applicant’s full record of academic and personal achievement is the best way to identify and admit the most qualified students.

Admissions officials look at a number of factors, including SAT scores, grades, the type of courses taken, whether grades are improving or declining, the high school the student attended, personal challenges overcome, household income, and impressive personal attributes such as leadership, determination and commitment to community. Admission decisions are not based on any single factor.