FIRST PERSON | As a mom and educator living in the college town of Davis, California, the recent report of record enrollment at our UC campus caught my eye. While I still worry that my students will not be prepared to endure the rigorous admissions process of the UC system, the article "Record enrollment this fall at UC Davis" brought a small relief to my anxiety.
UC Davis, ranked eighth among public US universities (according to U.S. News and World Report and despite enduring public scrutiny after the pepper-spraying incident in November 2011) is coming out with positive numbers for fall 2012 enrollment. This means good news for historically underrepresented groups; its 33,300 students are comprised of record numbers of African-American, American Indian and Chicano/Latino students.
As a local AVID teacher, this news gives me hope that the students I teach will be able to join in on the momentum of these numbers by the time they apply for admission in 2016. AVID, a nationwide program to ensure college readiness for underrepresented students, strives to create school programs to serve those for whom college admissions will be challenging. Many of my current freshman fall into these underrepresented groups. Not only does this report provide data showing increasing rates of admission, more importantly, it provides the emotional confirmation many students need to see that they, too, will have opportunity for college entrance. Overall, UCD has over 20 percent of its students from such underrepresented groups.
Although AVID focuses on four-year college preparation upon graduation from high school, the data for transfer students into UCD is encouraging. New transfer students, mainly from community colleges, saw a 4 percent increase. For my AVID students, lack of finances prohibits many from entering a four-year college, even if they meet the qualifications. These transfer rate numbers will boost their spirits about having to spend two years at a community college.
For my daughter, the overall enrollment increase of California versus international is positive. Although designed to educate our state, the lack of education funding has forced the UC system to look for larger dollars from out-of-state and foreign students, leaving many Californians wondering if there would be room left for them. At UC Davis, 4,808 Californians gained admission against 309 international students.
Overall, the increased enrollment numbers at UC Davis is an optimistic view for all California kids working hard in high school today. With the recent passage of Proposition 30, hopefully all students who are qualified and desire a UC education will gain admission to the college of their choice.
Jennifer is a middle school English, Yearbook and AVID teacher and mom to a tween and a teen. When not teaching or mothering, Jennifer enjoys writing, blogging, volunteering, traveling, skiing and reading.