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June 28, 2022

Seniors facing UC, CSU deadlines

Although graduation is seven months away, high school seniors
are facing deadlines for applications to colleges next fall.
Although graduation is seven months away, high school seniors throughout the country are facing deadlines for applications to colleges next fall.

Students in California who want to attend a University of California or California State University have just two weeks to get everything in order.

However, with the competition to attend top colleges becoming more intense and college enrollment increasing throughout California, not all eligible students get into the campus they want.

“The students really have to try to stay on track all four years so they have the choice at the one college they are really interested in,” said Jeanie Churchill, career counselor at San Benito High School. “A lot of hopes and dreams fly out the window when you’re not on target.”

The CSU system reached its largest-ever enrollment this fall with 406,896 students on opening day. CSU, Monterey Bay increased its enrollment by 15 percent, the largest percentage increase of any of the CSUs, and San Francisco State University began turning some qualified applicants away last year for the first time.

But for students intent on attending a four-year college immediately after high school, good grades are still one of the primary evaluations colleges use to consider a potential applicant said Churchill.

“Senioritis” – the case of seniors who slack off during their senior year and whose academic performance drops – can be detrimental to a student who applies to universities, Churchill said.

“It’s called ‘senioritis.’ They start slacking off and feel like they don’t have to keep up in schools,” she said. “So we try to remind them to stay on track.”

Although colleges typically look at students’ grades from their sophomore and junior years, they also look at grades from senior year after a student has been accepted.

In one case, a student was accepted to the University of California, Santa Cruz, but their acceptance was rescinded because of poor grades in their senior year at high school, Churchill said.

Until last fall, campuses selected 50 to 75 percent of freshmen on academic criteria alone, such as grades and SAT scores.

The UC system requires an essay to go along with the application, which can be an important tool to separate a student from others with similar qualifications.

Colleges also look at out-of-classroom activities, leadership abilities, educational disadvantage, family income and hardships that were overcome, and how involved a student is in school activities.

“They want to look at the whole student and want to see a student who is well-rounded and what they can bring to the university,” Churchill said.

Honesty in the application process is also important. Students applying for financial aid are spot-checked to see if they qualify. Also, for students who are now applying for 2003, the UC system will begin spot-checking claims about accomplishments and personal circumstances to discourage embellishment or lying on the application to enhance their admission chances.

The verification program will check an undetermined number of freshman applicants who will be asked to provide support for claims about activities outside the classroom, personal achievements and obstacles that were overcome. It is believed to be the first such formal effort in the nation.

Historically, the UC system has admitted all students who meet basic eligibility requirements – essentially the top 12.5 percent of the state’s high school graduates – and that hasn’t changed. However, with the competition to attend top campuses becoming more intense, not all eligible students get into the campus they want. Last year UCLA received 43,000 applications for 10,000 spots.

Many colleges are now excepting online applications, Churchill said, and Cal Poly accepts only online applications. These allow a student to fill in their grades, which will be checked by the college at a later date, post an essay if necessary and pay the application fee.

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