The school with the most storied program in NCAA basketball history has set a new benchmark. And while UCLA’s basketball team has returned to top form this year, this particular benchmark has nothing to do with basketball. UCLA received over 100,000 applications for undergraduate admission this college admissions cycle. The figure is significant. UCLA has now become the first university in history to report six-figure applications for first-year undergraduate admission in just one cycle. In a business — yes, college admissions is a business — in which schools compete against one another to score as many applicants as possible (to invariably lower their acceptance rates), UCLA is doing something right.
As reported by Nick Anderson for “The Washington Post” in a piece entitled “UCLA is the first school to receive 100,000 freshman applications,” “UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said the university is not trying to gin up demand. ‘We have no active effort to try to increase the numbers,’ he said. Block said the totals show the multidimensional appeal of a public research university with strong academic and athletic traditions in one of the world’s most vibrant cultural centers. ‘It’s a brand,’ he said. ‘There’s a lot of pieces to that brand.'” Regular readers of our college admissions blog likely have a sense of what we think when we read about college chancellors claiming to be essentially apathetic to their increases in applications. Just smile and nod. Every single university in America wants more students to apply and every single university in America, including UCLA, makes active efforts to try to get these students to submit applications. Indeed universities across America even try to recruit unqualified students to apply. After all, the more students who submit applications, invariably the lower the admission rate will be and the higher the school will rank in the all-important “US News & World Report” ranking.
While colleges across America will tell you they don’t pay much attention to their “US News & World Report” ranking, we suspect our readers already know this simply isn’t the case. They all care. They all care a whole lot. A dean of admissions at a highly selective university won’t be in the job long if the school’s “US News & World Report” ranking keeps dropping. And one very important factor influencing the “US News & World Report” ranking is the admission rate. Simple math tells us that the admission rate is directly linked to the number of applications a university receives.
Congratulations is due to the folks in Westwood on the 100,000 applications at UCLA. Go Bruins!