Surge of applications to California universities may extend to 2022

Michael Loren

In 2021, universities in California state saw a surge in the number of applications for admission. The University of California received 203,700 applications for prospective incoming freshman who hoped to begin their studies in the fall of 2021. This was 32,000 more applications than those received in 2020.

Similarly, Chapman University received a record number of 2021 applications as well. The Orange, California university reviewed more than 15,000 applicants, a 13.5% increase over the number of applicants as recently as four years ago.

Many attribute that the rise in applications to California colleges is due to the number of students who took a "pandemic gap year" when many colleges and universities turned to virtual learning instead of in-person instruction. Another theory is that students were anxious to begin to socialize after a long year at home and chose to apply to college to experience the social benefits of a connected collegiate community.

However, there might be another reason for the surge of applications to California universities. And it lies in the application contents.

Because so many testing dates for SAT and ACT standardized tests were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide shutdowns, many colleges did not require these test scores for their applications. These two tests, usually required for admittance to universities and colleges, are extensive, laborious, and often are the source of stress for young students hoping to be admitted to college.

Notable colleges that did not require standardized test scores for their most recent applications are: University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, California Polytechnic State University, Chapman University, Stanford University, Point Loma Nazarene University, and the California Institute of Technology.

Almost a year after the Covid-19 pandemic forced colleges and universities around the country to slash budgets, it is possible that colleges might consider continuing to refrain from requiring standardized tests on admissions applications. By one estimate in the New York Times, the pandemic had cost colleges $120 billion in 2020. After a year of deficits, these institutions might be looking for ways in the coming years to recoup their losses.

Of the 737 colleges and universities in the state of California, 192 are public schools and 545 are private schools. A large portion of these institutions chose to refrain from requiring standardized scores. And with a surge of applications to these colleges and universities in 2021, a number of these might be wise to choose to extend this practice into the coming years.

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Professional writer and journalist with concentration in data analysis. I specialize in interpreting data to give you unbiased, understandable information related to the state of California.

Los Angeles, CA

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