Campanile tower at UC Berkeley.

M-A 2023 UC Admission Rate Differs from State Average

2 mins read

The University of California (UC) schools are notoriously difficult to get into, with schools like UCLA boasting acceptance rates as low as 9%. According to recently released public data from the SF Chronicle for the 22-23 admissions season, students from M-A may have a particularly difficult time being accepted into these universities compared to applicants from other California high schools. This data is surprising, given that M-A ranks in the top 10% of California public schools.

UC Berkeley, located just across the Bay, is one of the most selective schools in California. While the state average rate for acceptance into UC Berkeley is 15%, the admission rate for M-A students is 14%, with 25 out of 179 applicants being admitted. These 179 students who applied comprise 34% of the total class of 2023. 19% of the Asian students and 16% of the white students who applied got in, while there is too little publicly available data for other ethnic groups. The average GPA of M-A applicants to the school was a flat 4.0, but those who were admitted had an average GPA of 4.24. In San Mateo County as a whole, M-A ranks 17th out of 34 private and public high schools for admissions to UC Berkeley.

Local private schools Menlo and Sacred Heart Prep have acceptance rates to UC Berkeley of 20% and 25% respectively. Both Woodside and Sequoia have a 13% rate. The school with the highest rate of admission to UC Berkeley within California is Mission High in San Francisco, which boasts a staggering 43% of students admitted, of the 30% of the total class that applies. Mission High is behind state benchmark assessments in standardized testing, and UC Berkeley’s perceived favoritism towards the school’s applicants has an unclear cause.

M-A is exactly on par for admission to UCLA, matching the state’s average of 9%. The average student profile was widely comparable to those interested in UC Berkeley, with the average GPA of applicants being 4.02 and of admits being 4.24. 

M-A is even slightly above the mean for UC Santa Cruz, which has a 60% acceptance rate but 62% for M-A students. The average GPA of applicants was 3.91, while the average of those who were accepted was 4.06. 

UC San Diego’s admit data presents a sharp contrast: while the school’s overall in-state acceptance rate is 24%, they only admit 13% of M-A applicants—or 21 out of 168. A similar below-the-mean issue exists for other schools within the district, with Sequoia having a rate of 17%, Carlmont at 14%, and Woodside at 8%. Even private schools, which typically have advantages in admissions, are noticeably behind: Menlo School is at 14% and Sacred Heart is at 17%. 

A similar deviation exists for UC Irvine, which has a 20% acceptance rate overall but a startlingly low 9% rate for M-A students.

35% of M-A’s class of 2023 applied to UC Santa Barbara, seemingly the most popular out of all of the UCs. However, despite the school’s overall acceptance rate being 28%, only 22% of M-A applicants get in. Similarly, UC Davis has a 36% acceptance rate but admits 33% of M-A applicants.

Abnormally low acceptance rates despite exemplary academic profiles are a growing trend in the current college admissions world. Colleges now tend to reject more than qualified applicants for reasons beyond not having enough space, such as for yield protection, which is when schools reject overly competitive applicants who they believe are likely to commit to a different institution. M-A’s admission to various UC schools fluctuates from rates floating slightly above the state mean to dropping dramatically beneath it, showing just how uncertain admissions have become.

Allegra Hoddie is a junior in her first year of journalism. She enjoys covering current events and the arts. She also makes Instagram posts, drinks lattes, and copyedits.

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