For the first time in the history of the University of California school system, the leading demographic of students accepted into the freshman class for Fall 2020 are Latinx, making up 36 percent of the 79,953 students offered admission, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
According to the data shared by the University of California, Asians made up 35 percent, whites 21 percent and Black students 5 percent. “This has been an incredibly challenging time as many students have been making their college decision in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “UC continues to see increased admissions of underrepresented students as we seek to educate a diverse student body of future leaders. The incoming class will be one of our most talented and diverse yet, and UC is proud to invite them to join us.”
In a lapse of thirty years, admission offers to underrepresented minorities have increased 40 percent, showing how UC is committed to open its doors to diversity and inclusion. “These numbers are an important and gratifying indication that our efforts to advance and expand the diversity of our undergraduate student body are beginning to bear fruit,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said as reported by the Times. “But now, more than ever, we must not be complacent, and remain focused on building a campus community that truly represents the state we serve and allows every student to experience a true sense of belonging.”
Roberto Salazar, an immigrant from El Salvador and one of the Latino students admitted to UC, said his teachers encouraged him to pursue higher education. “My teachers really inspired me and told me what opportunities would open for me if I went to college,” said Salazar, who graduated from high school with a 3.98 GPA and as the class valedictorian. “I felt I would be letting them down if I didn’t do my best.”
As reported by the newspaper, the average GPA for this year is 3.91, while the average ACT score was 29 and the average SAT score was 1415. “We are showing that you can admit a diverse class that is excellent,” Olufemi “Femi” Ogundele, Berkeley’s assistant vice chancellor and director of undergraduate admissions said. “There are stars everywhere. It is just a matter of finding those stars.”
Stars like Raven Gatson, who graduated high school with a perfect 4.0 GPA and earned an $8,000 annual scholarship funded through Berkeley’s African American Initiative. “Being admitted to Berkeley means everything to me,” Gatson said. “Berkeley is special for its history of activism and it being an elite academic institution … a public Ivy.”