The college acceptance process through COVID-19

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Photo by Sophia Weis

University of California Santa Barbara’s welcome flag on campus

Anya Keast, Reporter

This year college acceptance looked a little different. SAT and ACT tests were waived by most schools for the first time ever though this new change will not be permanent at most schools.. The rise of applicants also made this year very competitive.

The number of applicants accepted to University of California, Santa Barbara rose to 32% in 2021. Senior Cassie Cruz applied to UCSB this year and got accepted.

“UCSB has been my dream school since forever and it was my first choice. When I visited the campus a few years ago I completely fell in love,” Cruz said. “I’m super excited that I got in this year due to how competitive it was and I was still able to get into my top schools.”

Cruz has been accepted into California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, UC Davis, UCSD, UCSC, SDSU and the University of Hawaii. She had visited the UC Santa Barbara campus when she was little and fell in love with the idea of going to the school. Extracurriculars are a huge part in making yourself stand out in a competitive year. Cruz had a 4.0 unweighted GPA through high school, and she had also taken a handful of weighted courses.

“I spent a lot of time attending webinars hosted by the UC schools, specifically UCSB’s PIQ webinars on what they were looking for in new students,” Cruz said. “Some extracurriculars I did include being on class council all four years, being a member and president of Spanish Club, being a member of ASB, Dance commissioner and class cup commissioner and volunteering at the San Diego Humane Society.”

Extracurricular activities such as sports may also help you get into college. Senior Zach Knudsen got accepted into NYU and will play volleyball for the NYU team.

“The trick with NYU was the coach couldn’t guarantee my admission into [NYU’s Stern School of Business], but he could ensure my admission to the general school,” Knudsen said. “So I applied to Stern as my first choice major but put a second choice as well, and thankfully it ended up working out and I got into Stern on my own.”

A strong theme in your application can immediately put you above other applicants. It can offer a good and clear story to the college.

“To start my theme, I made a point to mention that I lived in a foreign country,” Knudsen said. “Then I mentioned all the extracurriculars I did, including starting a global citizen club outside of school. Over COVID-19 I started a virtual exchange with students from other countries to tie into my mention of how I lived in a foreign country. We discussed global issues we all face and how we can address and solve them. I had also taken seven AP classes and I earned a score of five in three of the five classes I took.”

Although this year was very competitive for college admissions, students are excited to begin their journey into college.

“I’m definitely super excited to start college and that in such a competitive year I was still able to get into my top schools” Cruz said.