UC Berkeley seeks to change admission evaluation rules

The Associated Press
Saturday May 19, 2001


BERKELEY — The University of California, Berkeley, will seek permission next week to begin evaluating freshmen applicants on a combination of academic and personal factors. 

The school’s request is the first attempt to change admissions rules since the regents voted Wednesday to eliminate their 1995 policies banning racial preferences in admissions. 

The new policy would not reinstate racial preferences, which remain against state law. 

It would mean some students who might have been excluded from Berkeley in the past could get in, while others who might have been admitted under the current rules could be excluded. 

“We think we get better, more interesting, more talented students” by evaluating each applicant comprehensively as an individual, said Calvin Moore, chairman of Berkeley’s undergraduate admissions committee. 

Moore said Berkeley wants to move to a system similar to that used by Harvard, Stanford and Yale. 

Opponents say moving away from tiered admissions, where at least half of students are admitted based on academic performance alone, is a political act that by definition will produce a less academically qualified class. 

The proportion of Latino, black and American Indian students admitted to Berkeley and UCLA has dropped dramatically in the past six years. 

University of California policy requires that 50 percent to 75 percent of each freshman class be admitted based on academic achievement alone. The percentages vary from about 50 percent at Berkeley to nearly 75 percent at UC-Santa Barbara.