More students applied for admission to UC Davis for fall 2013 than the city has residents — a record 69,642. That’s an increase of 11.4 percent from a year ago.
The UC system also topped an all-time high with 174,767 applications, an 8.6 percent increase, according to numbers released Friday.
UCD received applications from 55,877 prospective freshmen (a 13.1 percent increase) and 13,765 transfer hopefuls (a 4.9 percent increase).
Among the freshman applicants, 45,746 were Californians (up 7.6 percent), 3,384 were from out of state (up 21.5 percent) and 6,747 were international students (up 65.9 percent). All were record highs.
Walter Robinson, UCD’s director of undergraduate admissions, said a new strategic recruiting plan that saw “lots of folks working out in the field putting forth great effort” and a greater online presence was in part responsible for Davis’ larger numbers.
Those numbers still need crunching, but Robinson that he believed a more balanced approach to recruiting across California and a more aggressive strategy abroad paid dividends.
In California, recruiters reached out to students in some areas of the state that had gone neglected by UCD in the past, including the northern part, Imperial Valley and central San Joaquin Valley.
“We tried to be as even-handed as we possibly could to make sure all regions of the state are touched equally,” Robinson said.
That’s not easy.
“For example, we now have a recruiter who lives in the Central Valley, which is an area with its own culture and geography,” Robinson. “That’s helpful. Otherwise, you could just be overwhelmed by the vast space.”
UCD expanded its recruiting beyond the Pacific Rim and Latin America with new efforts in Africa, the Middle East, Eurasia and Russia. The majority of that outreach was online.
“Our goal is for us to become a globally diverse campus, and to be truly globally diverse you have to have students from all regions of the world,” Robinson said.
This year, UCD’s percentage increase in applicants ranks fourth among UC campuses. A year ago, UCD stood dead last, at 5.3 percent.
At the time, Robinson speculated that the negative publicity surrounding the pepper-spraying of student protesters could have had a negative impact on the 2012 numbers. Further investigation showed no evidence that was the case, he said on Friday.
This fall, the Davis campus saw rises in the number of applicants in most racial and ethnic groups.
Students of Asian descent comprised 37.2 percent of freshman applicants, followed by white students at 27.9 percent, Chicano/Latino students at 24.4 percent and African-American students at 5.9 percent. Applicants of American Indian and Pacific Island heritage slipped by seven students total.
Asian-Americans accounted for 30.9 percent of community college transfer applicants, whites 29.1 percent and Chicano/Latinos 18.9 percent. The number of Asian and white transfer applicants has dropped by 638 over two years; the number of Chicano/Latino students has climbed by 311.
International students made up 13.1 percent of transfer applicants. Their numbers have climbed by 216 over two years.
Among Californians applying for freshman status at UCD, 40.9 percent are first-generation college students, 35.8 percent come from low-income homes and 20.7 percent graduated from high schools with low Academic Performance Index scores.
This year marks the second that UCD will be using a holistic admissions process aimed at looking beyond students’ test scores.
It will take 105 people to complete the task. Of those, 35 to 40 are admissions staff. Others include local high school counselors, community members and retired staff who have undergone 30 hours worth of training.
“This whole issue of access and equity and the university being an engine of social mobility — we take that to heart,” Robinson said. “We know each and every student who applies to us has hopes, dreams and aspirations. Having more students apply, especially within our state, is in line with why we exist. It’s a lot of work, but it’s well worth it.”
Across the UC system, Chicano/Latino students for the first time made up the largest ethnic group among applicants: 32.1 percent. Applications for students increased across all ethnic groups.
The number of Californians who applied for admission as freshmen grew by 6.2 percent (99,129 total). On average, they applied to about four UC campuses each.
A total of 21,970 domestic non-resident students applied (a 14.9 percent increase). They were joined by 18,659 international students (a 34.5 percent increase).
— Reach Cory Golden at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden