SELECTIVITY comes as a surprise to many — selectivity
that increases as applications soar. “The combination of excellence
and affordability is a very powerful draw for our students,”
says Lifka. Two decades ago, 8,814 students applied and 63 percent
were admitted; 10 years ago, 24,986 applied and 46 percent gained
admission; in 2003, 44,971 applied and 23 percent were admitted.
UCLA’s numbers have become comparable to those of the nation’s
most elite universities.
of UCLA’s own faculty members find the heightened selectivity
to be a sticking point — especially when their own children
are unable to gain admission.
have to remember,” says Stolzenbach, “that in world
terms, the students who apply by and large are the top students
from across the entire state. They all look very good. At the school
where I used to teach [MIT], they called it ‘slicing the bologna.’
Because you’re taking this rarified group and then you are
slicing them even thinner.”
sticking point for some is the issue of “legacy” admissions
— or at UC, the lack thereof. Many private schools have wiggle
room within their admissions policies to admit the offspring of
alumni. Last year at Yale, for instance, 16 percent of the 1,300
new students enrolled were legacies. To the dismay of some, there
is no such tradition in the UC. Says Peter Hayashida ’88,
assistant vice chancellor for external affairs, “Information
on parental status as an alumnus or donor is neither solicited through
the admissions process nor considered in making a decision on the
the written policy of the UC further states that “admissions
motivated by concern for financial, political or other such benefit
to the university” are expressly prohibited.