With all the excitement building for graduation and summer, it seems Fall semester is in the distant future—but for freshmen entering the University in August, it is a different story. After receiving acceptance letters earlier this year, they are anticipating the beginning of the year. However, not many realize that they underwent an increasingly selective admissions process to attend UC Merced.
The applicants for the Class of 2016 consist of 15,054 students, according to the Sacramento Bee. By the third week of the fall semester, UCM’s student body is predicted at 5,600 students.
One of the reasons for the decrease in accepted students is stricter eligibility requirements, such as extracurricular activities and academic expectations. A second reason is space limitation. The campus cannot create space quickly enough to accommodate increasing number of applicants. A third reason is statewide budget cuts in education.
Despite the decrease in size of the incoming Fall 2012 freshmen class, UCM currently has a total student population of almost 5,200. This total figure is less than the number of incoming freshman alone.
UCM is not the only university that is cutting back on the number of incoming students. Other University of California campuses are limiting their acceptance rates as well. According to J. M. Brown, from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, “It was more difficult to get into UC overall this year. Although UC admitted a record 80,289 California resident freshmen for terms starting in August, the number did not keep pace with the increase in applications. As a result, all but three of the nine undergraduate campuses became more selective.”
The admission cuts have brought up discussion among concerned and hopeful Class of 2015 students. These UC Merced students want to ensure a balance remains between the number of available classes and students.
Student Rebecca Laurin said, “I'm not for limiting acceptance rates for prestige, but for the betterment of us, the current students. The less people, the more room in classes.”
Students Thomas Lintner and Jason Lei agree. Lintner said, “Classes are too full and registration is a nightmare; therefore, an offset of more students graduating than coming in would be a miracle for our current crowded classroom state of being.” Jason adds, “With the current size of the school, the decrease in acceptance isn't a bad idea. It might seem bad to decrease the acceptance rate, but the main issue is the limited buildings we have on campus.”
Anderson Silva says, “I personally believe that limiting incoming freshmen here at the university is a very bad idea. We need more students to attend college here in the Central Valley, and not allowing these kids to come to this school contradicts the main reason why this school is here in the first place. We should not be focused on the prestige of this university, it will come on its own; rather, we should focus on increasing the population of people attending college here in the Central Valley.”
The fact remains that as continuing students return to campus this Fall, they can expect to see a noticeable increase of students, even though the overall enrollment of new students has decreased.