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9,000 Students Apply for Admission in UC Merced's Opening Year

January 19, 2005
Campus Officials Say Overall Student Response Even Stronger than Expected

MERCED, CA — More than 9,000 students have applied to the University of California, Merced for admission to undergraduate and graduate programs in fall 2005, according to preliminary numbers released today (Jan. 19, 2005). For the opening year, projections have called for UC Merced to enroll 1,000 students.

Initial results show strong interest from San Joaquin Valley students and many more applicants than expected from other parts of California.

“We are thrilled with this response from students and pleased to say the number of applicants has even exceeded our expectations,” says Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. “These results are a clear validation of the UC Regents' decision in 1988 to plan for a new UC campus in the San Joaquin Valley. The student response also is a tribute to the efforts of so many people in this community and throughout the state who have supported the development of UC Merced over the years.”

Based on preliminary reports, UC Merced's first undergraduate application period has resulted in approximately 8,000 applications for freshman admission. In addition, the campus has received 900 applications for transfer admission and 170 applications for graduate study for the 2005-06 academic year.

“It is exciting to see such strong interest among California students in the new opportunities at UC Merced,” says UC President Robert C. Dynes. “The campus clearly is drawing applicants not only from its home base in the San Joaquin Valley, but from communities across the state of California. With these applications, the University of California's 10th campus has taken another dramatic step from dream to reality.”

According to initial calculations, UC Merced's applicant pool for fall 2005 includes approximately 1,100 students from the San Joaquin Valley, defined as the region between Bakersfield and Stockton along with the Sierra foothill communities.

“With these initial numbers we know that valley students definitely are interested in UC Merced, and we anticipate that a higher percentage of these applicants will likely enroll,” Director of Admissions Encarnación Ruíz says. “Ideally, we want the valley to be well represented in UC Merced's student population.”

Traditionally, San Joaquin Valley students have enrolled at UC campuses at about half the rate of the state average. In recent years, however, the number of regional students applying to the UC system has increased steadily.

Last year, for example, about 3,000 students from the valley applied to UC's eight general education campuses for freshman admission. This year, with the addition of UC Merced, preliminary statistics indicate that the number has grown to approximately 3,500 applications from the region. The presence of UC Merced in the heart of the region and the impact of campus academic preparation programs have contributed to this increase.

“The opening of UC Merced is as exciting as a new birth and offers just as much potential for the lives of our San Joaquin Valley young people,” says Merced Union High School District Superintendent Robert H. Fore.

After completing the application review process, the UC Merced Office of Admissions will begin to notify students of their admission decisions. Freshman applicants will receive notification of their admission decision by March 31, 2005, while transfer applicants can expect to learn their admission decision no later than April 30, 2005.

The preliminary numbers also indicate that UC Merced has strong appeal for students statewide. A notable response has come from the San Francisco Bay Area, with nearly 2,500 applications, and Los Angeles, with about 2,600 applications.

Of the freshman applicants, most applied to one of nine undergraduate degree programs, with interest spread among programs offered through the Schools of Engineering; Natural Sciences; and Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. Other prospective freshmen applied to one of the three schools or to the campus at large with an undeclared major.

The application period for graduate admission continues through Feb. 1. Additional information about graduate study at UC Merced is available online at

While these figures offer an initial look at applicants to UC Merced, more extensive information regarding applications both to the 10th UC campus and the other UC campuses will be available when the UC Office of the President releases its data in the coming days. The complete set of systemwide data is still being compiled at this time.

Important Dates for Students Applying to UC Merced for 2005-06

  • Through March 2, 2005 — Financial aid priority application filing period for students applying for fall or spring semester admission to submit Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a GPA Verification Form
  • February 1, 2005 — Application deadline for graduate student admission to fall semester
  • March 1-31, 2005 — On-time applicants for freshman admission to fall semester notified of admission decision
  • March 1-April 30, 2005 — On-time applicants for transfer admission to fall semester notified of admission decision
  • May 1, 2005 — Deadline for freshman applicants for fall semester to submit Statement of Intent to Register
  • June 1, 2005 — Deadline for transfer applicants for fall semester to submit Statement of Intent to Register
  • July 31, 2005 — Priority application filing deadline for undergraduate admission to spring semester