Cohen particularly focuses on UCLA and UC Berkeley as examples of the new trend in college admissions:
Even colleges that shunned out-of-state students for years are showing a marked receptivity. The University of California’s top campuses–Berkeley and UCLA–have doubled and even tripled their rosters of out-of-state kids. At UCLA, the total percentage of out-of-state kids is still relatively low: only about 7 percent of last year’s entering class. But at Berkeley, it was a whopping 19 percent and will grow to 20 percent this year, according to Janet Gilmore, a university spokesperson. Five years ago, the percentage of out-of-state students at Berkeley was a mere 5 percent.
At most of these world-class universities, admission is still very selective. The acceptance rate for out-of-state students at UCLA was only 30 percent last year. But that was still better than what California residents experienced, which was a 21 percent acceptance rate. And it even got a tad easier for out-of-staters compared with previous years. Five years ago, out-of-staters applying to UCLA were admitted only 21 percent of the time, compared with their California counterparts, who saw a 23 percent admit rate.
My daughter was a beneficiary of this; she was accepted to both. I would not have thought she was competitive for either place as a pure out-of-stater even a few years ago. (It probably helps that very few private school kids in DC seem to apply to either UCLA or Cal; my daughter’s friends at Sidwell Friends, National Cathedral School, and St. Albans, where my wife teaches, went en masse to Michigan, but very few of them apply to the University of California.) When we visited the two UC schools, the admissions people were explicit in saying they were looking for out-of-state and international admissions, partly to keep their reputations up but mostly for the money.