UCLA reports a record 119,000 applicants for fall 2016

Students go about their business at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Students go about their business at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
David McNew/Getty Images

UCLA is currently reviewing a record 119,000 applications for its fall 2016 class, making it the most applied-to four-year university in the nation, according to the school.

Applications for freshman admission increased by 4.7 percent, while transfer applications increased by 4.2 percent, according to a statement from UCLA.

“UCLA has a rich history of attracting a very diverse applicant pool and enrolling a diverse group of students each year, and this applicant pool is no different,” said Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, UCLA’s associate vice chancellor for enrollment management.

Forty-one percent of the applications come from first-generation students, and 39 percent are from students from low-income families, according to the university's statement.

UCLA also saw increases in racial diversity with applications from African-American students rising by 5 percent, Latinos rising by 8 percent and Native Americans by 3 percent compared to last year.

“You can have a place that has that kind of rich diversity and provides an incredible academic experience that results in our graduates doing amazing things,” Copeland-Morgan told KPCC. “We are a great example that excellence and diversity coincide, and in fact, you can’t have excellence without diversity."

Copeland-Morgan said that she attributes the successful application season to the way that UCLA reaches out to underrepresented populations in non-traditional ways. For example, the institution collaborates with churches in the Inland Empire and Los Angeles areas to try to reach students.

While the large applicant pool is great news for the university, it may have high school seniors feeling a bit anxious. The College Board reports that UCLA admits only about 19 percent of applicants, based on the 2014 admission data, and a higher number of applicants could mean an even lower acceptance rate overall. But Copeland-Morgan said the University of California is making room for 5,000 more California residents at its institutions in the fall.

“I really want our students to know that we are going to review every single application at least twice. That is our commitment to students who take the time to apply to UCLA," Copeland-Morgan said.

Last summer, KPCC reported that acceptance numbers for fall 2015 showed that the UC system had admitted fewer California residents, and more out-of-state and international students, than it had in previous years. UC President Janet Napolitano's request for an increase in the number of California residents enrolled throughout the system was revealed in November.

California universities dominate U.S. News and World Report's rankings of most-applied to colleges; nine out of the top 10 are golden state schools, and UCLA is first on the list.