In the midst of the 2023 college application season, a number of affinity groups on campus have hosted a variety of UC application workshops to provide support for high school and community college students — specifically students of color — with their UC application.
Whether it’s financial aid, scholarships, the application and the UC personal insight questions, or PIQs, these affinity groups hope to provide as much support as possible to prospective students to increase their chances of getting into a UC school.
“We want to focus on them as a person, and how we can help bring their story and present it in the best way possible for the PIQs,” said Sanaiyah Garcia, a second year and the K-12 outreach director for Mixed at Berkeley. “Just (help them) be as prepared as they possibly can for the application process.”
Mixed at Berkeley is hosting an application workshop Nov. 18 to provide students with resources for essays and application support, as well as one-on-one assistance.
Dionne Teasley, campus assistant director of undergraduate admissions, said campus as a whole has been trying to increase diversity efforts through their outreach and implementation of “holistic” admission practices.
Over the last three application cycles, however, there has been little change in the number of admits from underrepresented minorities, or URM.
For first-time college entrants, for example, URM admissions did not differ significantly from previous years, with a marginal increase from 24.6% to 27% between 2021 and 2023. The URM subtotal for transfer students reflects a similar stagnancy, with the number of underrepresented minorities dropping from 29.6% to 27.4% between 2021 and 2023.
“(Holistic admission) allows each student to have the opportunity to stand out based on the resources available, so that is one of the cool aspects of it but it is just a great opportunity for us to capture excellence that may look different in many ways,” Teasley said.
Teasley was a guest speaker at a workshop hosted by the Black Recruitment and Retention Center, where she spoke on applying to UC Berkeley specifically, discussing opportunities for prospective students on campus and the UC application process.
Teasley said she hopes her presentation encourages students to apply for college and frames the university pathway as one that is available and attainable.
Noah Surti, a campus senior and Muslim Student Association, or MSA, internal vice president noted how their workshop, hosted Nov. 5, included Q&A panels by campus students and mentorships for prospective applicants.
MSA’s workshop was hosted by their Youth Outreach Committee and campus Threads magazine.
Echoing Teasley, Surti hopes high school and community college students are aware of the resources available for applicants to pay and study on campus. He did, however, emphasize accessibility for first generation students and refugees — something MSA will be addressing in future application-oriented workshops and sessions this month.
“The feedback we’ve received in the past about these events has included that they were a crucial factor for whether the students applied for college or not,” Surti said. “That just makes the work that we do feel really meaningful.”