Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Data is not everything. It might be a little bit ironic when this sentence comes from a data analyst, but this is how I’ve been feeling recently when talking to some students.

I also remember being told that “Ranking is important, but not that important” at the first focus group I attended at UC Davis. And I think it could be applied to our current situation, as well.

Consider that this year, UC Davis undergraduate admissions enrolled the following student populations: 2.2% African American; 27.5% Hispanic; and 0.2% Pacific Islander. And according to the latest QS USA University Rankings, UC Davis tied for the top spot with New York University in diversity. This convincing data and rankings should give us all the rights to be proud.

However, when you discuss campus life with prospective students, especially underrepresented minority, or URM students, data or numbers are never strong enough. They always want to hear from people with similar backgrounds — more vivid and authentic stories rather than just numbers.

I’ve learned that numbers and stories combined can help us deliver the right messages to our student audiences about why they want to be at UC Davis.

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