UC changes application rules

Hannah Lee , News Editor

The college application season is quickly descending upon the hundreds of rising seniors at Diamond Bar High School, and for many, numbers may seem like everything for admission.

However, some may now have a chance to present the UCs a more comprehensive look at their application with more personal information aside from just their personal insight essays.

On July 12, the University of California Regents approved a policy that will allow all UC campuses to ask for additional information from freshmen applicants that are “in the margins for admission but whose initial application presents a specific gap in the picture of their qualification or presents extraordinary circumstances that call for further comment,” according to the policy document.

Taking a more holistic approach on admissions, UCs can now request up to two letters of recommendation from up to 15 percent of applicants.

In addition, the same applicants pulled for “augmented review” can also be asked to send an updated transcript with first semester grades of their senior year and fill out a questionnaire regarding their talents, activities and other circumstances.

Though the policy has been approved for all nine campuses, the two most competitive universities, UC Berkeley and UCLA, have opposing views on the subject. Although both schools put more weight on the personal insight essays than the other seven campuses, UCLA strongly disagrees with accepting letters of recommendation from applicants, while UC Berkeley has already been requesting letters from a small percentage of applicants every year.

A major concern that rises as the policy is put into place is the quality of letters, which depends on the type of schools students attend.  For instance, in an overcrowded public high school, students are less likely to have a personalized letter, while students at a well-funded private high school will more likely have a counselor or teacher with more time and skill to write a quality letter.

Despite the controversy, the UC Regents board stated that this new policy is not intended to hurt students’ chances of admission, but instead to give admissions officers a sharper view of applicants to assure that they are not rejected merely because of lack of favorable data and information.