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Summer 2003
Getting In
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“I get letters from alumni or engage in discussions about why UCLA doesn’t have legacy admissions,” says Keith Brant ’83, M.A. ’88, Ph.D. ’95, assistant vice chancellor of alumni relations and executive director of the UCLA Alumni Association. “Many alumni feel that if UCLA is going to be competitive with the top-level private universities, then we should play by the same rules.”

While it’s important for alumni to know they are valued as part of the UCLA family, “as a public institution we have an obligation to all the people of California,” Brant says. “Once alumni understand all sides of the issue — their interest in solid alumni relations balanced with good public policy — they generally accept the rationale for the regents’ policy.”

The same can be said of comprehensive review; those who know the most about this detailed approach to freshman admissions are its staunchest advocates. Yet the complexity of the process — the need to fairly and equitably select from among a pool of applicants that is not only replete with well-prepared, high-achieving, UC-eligible students, but also is 10 times the size of the freshman class itself — along with the privacy issues inherent in any admissions policy, make it difficult to share with those not directly involved.

“To me, the biggest disadvantage of all of this is how multifaceted it is, and how difficult it is to explain to people,” says Lifka. Nevertheless, “A public institution has an obligation to make the process transparent,” he says.

Adds Tran: “You can only make good judgments based on what you know. When I share information with those who question the process, at least they understand where we’re coming from.”

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