October 04, 2003

UC Berkeley admissions policies

UC Berkeley Admissions Scrutinized. The Los Angeles Times reports on a confidential report on UC Berkeley admissions. According to the Times the study found that hundreds of highly qualified applicants were rejected in favor of freshmen who were 'marginally academically qualified'. It is apparently a preliminary analysis:

The report was prepared at the request of regents Chairman John J. Moores. It is based on university data, but contains extensive analysis that primarily was written by Moores. The report does not attempt to explain the reasons for UC Berkeley's admissions patterns. It does not break down admissions by race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, nor does it measure changes over time.

We take note of that disclaimer. The study nevertheless finds that overall, the admissions process at UC Berkeley "might not be compatible with [the school's] goal of maintaining academic excellence." For defence of the process the LA Times article quotes the head of admissions committee, an education professor, who says that the campus is in full compliance with the regents' stated policy on admissions. The admissions office finds other indicators of academic strength, notably high grades.

The study relies primarily on SAT data for its conclusions, and UC Berkeley certainly does well to look much beyond the SAT (the SAT-I, that is) in assessing its applicants. But I think that if they really mean to look for academic strength then a better measure than school grades would be performance on some collection of high quality standardized tests. Please see also my July 18, 2003, Blog entry UC Regents approve new admissions test policy.

Posted by Bas Braams at October 4, 2003 08:41 AM


These are comments I posted over at joannejacobs.com.

It was reported in today's Oakland Tribune and
Daily Cal that out of the students with SATs above 1400 who were rejected, the vast majority (80%)
were out-of-state students, or international students, or students who withdrew their applications, or were students who applied to the ultra-competitive College of Engineering (which is usually tied with Stanford as the second best school of engineering in the country, behind only MIT).

What that means is, if you are an in-state student with a score over 1400, you have an excellent chance of getting admitted to Berkeley unless you apply to the College of Engineering...

Less than 5% of admitted students had scores under 1000... and I bet a high percentage of those were recruited athletes...

Berkeley still has the highest SAT average of any large public research university...

So am I concerned that some of these kids are not quite ready for the academic challenge? absolutely... I hope they get the needed extra resources to help them catch up...
I'm not just saying that... as I'm a grad student here, and have also been a lecturer here as well.
But please, let us dispense with this ridiculous hyperbole of Berkeley rejecting hordes of superqualified whites and asians and being overrun by mediocre black and latinos... it just a'int true.

Posted by jab at October 7, 2003 02:48 PM