The University of California system is known as one of the premier public college systems the world has to offer. Acceptance into schools such as UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, and others is competitive.
Here in Wildcat Nation, there is a cohort of students who have worked since their freshman year to get the grade, accolades, and experiences that would make them ideal applicants for these prestigious schools.
Application season is over and next month these students will being to receive their college acceptance letters. Years of hard work will come down to a letter received in the mail.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently published an analysis of UC Admission Rates across the state of California. Data researchers tracked the rate of 12th graders being accepted into UCs across California’s 58 counties and the hundreds of public high schools.
The data shows that Ukiah High School is seeing rates of UC acceptance equal to and better than high schools in Sonoma and Marin County.
In Mendocino County, the school with the highest rate of UC acceptance is actually Willits High, followed by Mendocino High on the coast, and Ukiah High has the third highest rate of students being accepted to UC schools
Senior Joey Reynolds is not surprised by this data. In his experience, “lots of UHS seniors work hard to make a better life for themselves.”
Of 315 seniors that graduated from Ukiah High in 2021, only 56 applied to UC schools. This low percentage rate of seniors applying does surprise Reynolds, “because lots of people are capable of being accepted into at least one UC that don’t even bother to apply,”
Joey Reynolds applied to UC Davis, Berkeley, Merced, and UC Santa Cruz. The overall process was pretty easy for Reynolds. He said the hardest part was “writing and polishing the personal insight questions but the overall application is user-friendly” Reynolds believes that she will get accepted to Merced, and hopes to get accepted to UC Davis. Reynolds hopes to attend Davis if she can get in or “probably one of the CSUs I applied to including Humboldt, Sonoma, Monterey, Sacramento, and Chico.”
In Mendocino County, the school with the highest acceptance rate is Willits High School where 13% of seniors applied (13 out of 98 seniors), and 12 of them were admitted.
The data indicates the most competitive schools within the UC system are UC Berkeley and UCLA with the lowest acceptance rates of 17% and 10%.
Naomi Rhodes, a counselor at Ukiah High school thinks that “The UC schools can be a great choice for those who want to pursue post-secondary education.” These campuses are very competitive and are becoming harder for students to be accepted, Rhodes told us.
Rhodes critiqued the rising costs of tuition at these schools but gave ground that programs like Blue and Gold Opportunity and the Native American Opportunity Program can help decrease the cost for Ukiah High students.
“If a student is interested in a UC campus, they should apply,” Rhodes explained that UCs look more at just Grades and GPAs. If you have a story to share such as contributing to your community or activities and awards those experiences might be “more impressive than grades.”
If a student does not get into the UC of their choice, Rhodes said, “they can do two years at a community college (like Mendocino College) and then transfer” to the UC of their choice.”
Rhodes suggested that students begin their UC applications no later than the spring of their junior year. The personal insight questions (PIQ) responses can take time and having others proofread is advised. There are also activities and award sections that require detailed documentation. “Start this process early so that this section isn’t rushed once the application is available.”
Upon hearing of the rates of Ukiah High’s rate of UC acceptance, Rhodes said “We have many stellar students here at UHS, so I’m not surprised that of those who apply to the UC campuses, a majority are accepted.”
For those interested in going the UC route, Rhodes recommended students take one of many “rigorous courses” that help students prepare for the college level.
Athletic and extracurricular activities are also offered at UHS, as well as “support and guidance to complete the application process”. “I’m confident that the UC applications coming out of UHS represent students who make excellent candidates for the UC systems.”
Another senior at UHS Isabel Van Sant applied to UC Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbra. To her, the application was “pretty extensive but I wouldn’t say hard.” Other schools Vansant got into include San Diego State University, Cal Poly Humboldt, and California State University Monterey Bay. Van Zant would like to attend a school in Boston or New York,” but for UCs, Santa Barbara is my top choice.” Van Sant has yet to hear back from the UCs but hopes to soon and has not committed to any schools yet.