College admission has become ridiculously competitive. High school students are going to greater lengths to out-do their competition. In my parents generation it was enough just to get good grades. Now, not only do we need 4.0+ GPA’s, we need to stand out in ways that seem unnatural for most high school students.
Even if a student manages to do it all and then-some, he may not get into the school he desires. For example, my brother, last year, was ranked #1 in his senior class, was a leader in FVRR, took part in math competitions, was part of numerous clubs, volunteered many hours, started a volunteer musical performance group, had a super-high SAT score, was a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, and even conducted original research at a local university. He applied to Stanford and was flat out rejected. Anyone would think, “If he didn’t get in, why should I even try?”Elite school level students, like him, are then applying to the University of California. This means that all the rest of the students are now competing with these ultra-qualified candidates. This puts pressure on everyone desiring a University of California education.
When you look at the statistics of admitted students at, for example, UCLA, it seems completely out of reach for most students. The average SAT score is 2069 while the average GPA is 4.17. This isn’t even taking into account all the “extra activities” these admitted students had to do. Even at UC Merced, the average SAT score is hovering around 1800. Considering that the average SAT score of all students is 1497, you can see why there is little hope for most average and many above average students.
To make matters worse, most UC’s have increased enrollment of out-of-state students tremendously, leaving fewer openings for us Californians. They are doing this because the universities can charge more in tuition for these out-of-staters.
I know that the university system is struggling financially, but this is no way to make up for budget shortfalls. How about dealing with out of control pensions and “fluff” jobs that don’t benefit the students?
The bottom line is that too many very good students with great potential are being left out and we need to change that!
– Bryan Clements