The University of California, Los Angeles consistently receives more undergraduate applications than any university in the United States. In the fall of 2016, 97,121 incoming freshmen applied—more than double the number from just ten years ago.
How does UCLA manage this rapidly increasing amount of applications, and how does IT Services support the university in this process?
It all starts in Oakland each July, when the University of California and the UCLA Undergraduate Admission Office send the IT Services Student Applications team a set of “conditions” to program into the Student Information Systems (SIS) suite’s admissions database. These conditions are often related to changes on the UC online application or new policies or rules that the UC has adopted, such as vaccination requirements. The Student Applications team makes the necessary changes and tests them over the next few months, often in coordination with other departments on campus, including the Registrar’s Office and the Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center.
In August, incoming freshmen begin to apply to one or more UC campuses through the University of California’s online application system. Most freshmen applicants have until the end of November to complete their applications, at which time the UC finalizes all data and transmits it to the appropriate campuses.
In early December, IT Services receives all freshmen applicant information from UCOP, validates it, assigns each student a UCLA ID, and consolidates this data into the SIS admissions database. This final step creates the “golden copy,” or the official, master version of the data. The golden copy is a perfect set of records that all other departments will use.
The Student Applications team releases the golden copy to Undergraduate Admission, which takes over from there, evaluating each application and sending eagerly awaited decisions to applicants in mid-March. Applicants can also check MyUCLA, a collaborative effort among IT Services and several central IT units on campus, to learn about their admissions decisions, state their intention to pursue their education at UCLA, and access their records while they are enrolled.
What about Graduate and Professional School Applications?
There are many admissions offices on campus: Undergraduate, Graduate, the Anderson School of Management, the David Geffen School of Medicine, the UCLA School of Dentistry, and the UCLA School of Law. Each office has its own way of receiving applicant data:
- Undergraduate Admission, the focus of this article, receives its applications from UCOP;
- Graduate Admissions receives information directly from applicants;
- The Anderson School of Management receives information directly from applicants;
- The David Geffen School of Medicine receives its applications from the American Medical College Application Services (AMCAS);
- The School of Dentistry receives its applications from the Associated American Dental Schools Application Services (AADSAS); and
- The School of Law receives its applications from the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC).
IT Services works with IT staff in each office to produce a golden copy for use.
As Applications Continue to Increase, are There Plans for System Enhancement?
When the Student Applications team isn’t busy processing application data, it works to streamline and further automate its systems. Over the next several years, IT Services will be upgrading its Student Information Systems suite. This suite will include processes for student applications, along with other key functions such as financial aid, student billing and receivables, and student records.
Check the #UCLAbound hashtag on Twitter to hear from all of our happy new students!
- IT Services Student Applications
- UCLA Academic Planning and Budget, Admissions Statistics
- UCLA Undergraduate Admission Office
- University of California’s Online Application System
- U.S. News & World Report, “10 Colleges that Receive the Most Applications” (9/27/2016)