Too Many Roadblocks for Local Students to Enter College?

The admission rates for 2012 are extremely low. And a decision by San Jose State made things worse for some.


For a lot of San Mateo County high school seniors - and seniors across the country - 2012 proved to be an extremely hard year to be accepted at an institute of higher learning.

Bay Area universities have been a part of the trend.

At Stanford, the admission rate was 6.6 percent for those applying, no matter where they lived. That was third worst in the nation. More than nine of ten kids who applied to wear Cardinal red got a rejection letter in the mail.

At Cal, the rate was three times better, at 22 percent, just ahead of UCLA (23 percent) and USC (24 percent). Yet, even those numbers suggest three of four seniors applying to college are being turned away.

Ivy league schools such as Harvard and Yale posted record-low admissions rates, 5.9% and 6.8% respectively.

Making the Bay Area situation more acute was the announcement this week that San Jose State University would no longer automatically accept any San Mateo County student who met the minimum California State University requirements, as had been done for many years.

What do you think? Are the admission standards too tough for our graduating seniors? What's the long-term result of fewer admissions? What can be done?

Take our poll, and leave us your comments.

Rex April 21, 2012 at 01:54 PM
When mom came to California in the 1940s, the state colleges and universities were free. Now we spend more on prisons than education. Seems like there'd be more money for education if we could figure out how to spend less on prisoners, or keep them out in the first place.
Andrew April 21, 2012 at 02:57 PM
commuter April 21, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I disagree that there are fewer admissions. Colleges are accepting the same number of students and colleges are full (even overloaded). Admission rates are going down because more students realize that a college education is important to their lives and applications are going up (especially from traditionally under served demographic groups). Loosening the admission requirements doesn't help anyone. The only way to expand admissions is to build more colleges (more facilities and more professors). Since tuition doesn't pay the full cost of a college education (even at expensive private colleges like Stanford) there is no way to expand admissions without greatly expanding outside college funding (one way or another). Some people are saying that colleges need to be more efficient with their resources (fewer electives, fewer facilities, fewer liberal arts programs, etc.). I don't know if I buy that.
Diane Brosin April 21, 2012 at 04:48 PM
What Rex says is so true. Maybe if we started out by prioritizing education and figuring out how much money we needed to adequately fund that priority, then look at what is left and figuring out reductions to prison budgets via decriminalizing victimless crimes, reevaluating and tweeking 3 strikes, etc.,
sister madly April 21, 2012 at 08:51 PM
i think what is missing here is a discussion of the fact that colleges at ALL levels are recruiting out of state, especially foreign students who pay huge out of state tuition fees. i also think at saying "stanford admitted 6.6% of those who applied" is meaningless without knowing how many applied...did they fill all of their undergraduate spaces??
sister madly April 21, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Heidi Beck April 21, 2012 at 09:56 PM
You bet they did: Stanford received 34,348 applications for its freshman class!
Anita Reimann April 22, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Another factor is that a lot of high school students are applying to way more colleges than used to be the norm. I'm in my 40s and applied to 5 or 6 schools. I talked to a mom yesterday whose senior applied to 25 schools, and I don't think this is terribly unusual. This alone will push the percentage of students admitted down.
Anita Reimann April 22, 2012 at 12:38 AM
By the way, the poll itself is a little silly, sorry, but the universities can't admit more students than they have space for. A lot of the public universities already have certain majors that are impacted (so many students want to major in biology, for instance, that it can be hard to get into the classes). As commuter above says, to expand admissions, you'd have to build more colleges.
Pretty Asian... April 23, 2012 at 10:26 PM
i believe students, like me, must have this passion to read and utilize public libraries.. instead of wasting time playing games, doing those social networking sites, and being a couch potato most of the time. my parents subscribed for Nat Geo, Reader's Digest, and Daily News to feed our minds. I still belong to the so-called "old school" amidst this modern age.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive April 23, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Right now, the United States, when you total the budgets for Federal, State and Local, spends 25 percent of all the money spent on education in the world for 4 percent of the world's students (UNESCO). The problem is not how much money is spent on education but how it is spent. UC Berkeley has a staff of more than 20 people for diversity programs that costs more than $2 million in salaries and benefits. That generally holds true for every UC and state university. I don't know if that is a necessary expense, but it does seem pretty extravagant.
Karen Ervin April 26, 2012 at 12:35 AM
CSU's have already reduced freshmen enrollment by 40,000 students and plan to reduce enrollment by 20,000 to 25,000 in 2013-2014 if Brown's tax plan doesn't pass. UC tuition has tripled in the past decade, and while the enrollment numbers have been a bit more stable, an increasing number of students are coming from out of state, reducing the number of California students enrolled. Interestingly, a report just released called "California's Economic Payback," concluded that "For every dollar California invests in students who go to college, it will receive a net return on investment of four dollars and fifty cents as the increased and higher earnings of graduates are taxed in ensuing years and the state saves money in social services and incarceration costs." If interested here is the link: http://www.collegecampaign.org/
CQ April 26, 2012 at 03:13 AM
@Dave Colby, is your statement correct?: ..."announcement this week that San Jose State University would no longer automatically accept any San Mateo County student who met the minimum California State University requirement... Our understanding is that they gave preference to Santa Clara County high school students but it is San Francisco State that gives preference to SF and San Mateo Co. students as their "home" school.
Dave Colby (Editor) April 26, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Hey CQ, Good question. I went back into the story we posted to try to clear up any confusion. The original news copy we used stated all "local" students would be affected at San Jose State. I just took a look at the San Jose State website, and I think your clarification is accurate. The SJSU website states: "...This means SJSU will no longer accept all CSU-eligible applicants, including some from Santa Clara County high schools and community colleges." I appreciate your note, and am glad to correct the ambiguity of the statement. Thanks!


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