You think the freeways are packed; try the colleges.
Search Pepperdine’s Acceptance Rate (by the way, never search acceptance rates - they are not remotely close to reality). You will find 38.1% (2015–16). Oh, the good ol’ days. First, that number was never correct - even in 2015-2016. Second, this year over 16,000 students applied to Pepperdine and less than 900 earned acceptance, which puts the acceptance rate around 6%.
That’s just the tip of the melting iceberg. USC’s acceptance rate dropped to 11% (https://dailytrojan.com/2019/03/28/usc-fall-acceptance-rate-drops-to-11-percent-record-low). The Claremont Colleges were so reticent to freak out high school students that only ONE of the schools actually let out their acceptance rates (https://tsl.news/early-decision-data-5cs-withold-do-not-release/). Stanford? You will need a microscope to see the acceptances.
That brings us to the UCs. People need to understand that the UCs are no longer sustainable, which is a painful independent clause for me to type as a UCSD graduate school alum. Despite me telling you not to search acceptance rates, you just did: you found that in 2015-16, the school reported 33.7%. HA! First, that is wrong. Second, that doesn’t include the fact that the UCs were taking in record numbers of out-of-state and international students because they needed the inflated tuitions. In 2019, UC San Diego announced that 118,372 prospective freshman and transfer students have applied to the university, breaking last year’s record of 116,452 applicants, and coming in second place as the UC school that was most applied to, after UCLA. Oh, these are also the most applied to schools in the world.
If you applied to the UCs for the class of 2019, you received a templated email saying, “If you're in the top 9 percent of California high school graduates and aren't admitted to any of the UC campuses you apply to, you'll be offered a spot at another campus if space is available. We use a formula — called an admissions index —to determine if you fall in that group.” Here is the problem: you have very little choice as to which UC you end up. In fact, yet another GPA student (who was forced to apply to UCs) was rejected at the few he applied and just received an acceptance to UC Merced. He didn’t apply to UC Merced; they chose it for him. So he has just been offered a chance to sit in lecture halls for two years in Merced, watch Powerpoint presentations, be taught by graduate students and graduate with a piece of paper that doesn’t help much in a rapidly changing economy. Don’t get me started on the dorming situation. If I may quote UCLA’s student-run newspaper The Daily Bruin: “UCLA is playing Jenga with students. And soon enough, it’ll all come crashing down.” There are too many students and not enough housing at all of the UCs.
We have to give our students options outside of California. We have to take advantage of amazing universities you may not have heard of. We have to allow private schools to use their endowments to help fund us well below what it costs to attend the UCs. We need to encourage our students to explore themselves and difference. Lastly, we must give our students more than just a piece of paper from a UC. If we don’t, keep their bedroom ready; they will be coming home after graduation (with debt).