Record Number Apply for Undergraduate Studies at UC Davis

Chancellor Gary S. May accompanies students and their families on a tour
Chancellor Gary S. May, wearing a baseball cap in the center of the photo, poses as the father of a prospective student before revealing to a tour group that he is the university chancellor. The ruse is staged for the filming of an episode about tour guides for That May Be the Chancellor. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo)

A record high of 115,349 students applied to the University of California, Davis, for undergraduate studies in fall 2024.

The applications represented a 4.7% increase over the previous record of 110,189 applications for fall 2022 and 5.5% over last year’s 109,350. There was even higher growth in applications from groups historically underrepresented in higher education, as well as students seeking to transfer from California Community Colleges.

The UC Office of the President released preliminary systemwide and campus application statistics today (March 6). For year-over-year comparison, UC Davis is using preliminary application statistics for 2023.

Among the UC Davis applicants for fall 2024, a record 98,834 applied for first-year admission, representing a 4.3% increase over the previous high of 94,725 for fall 2022 and 4.4% over last year’s 94,609.

Transfer applications numbered 16,515, up 12% from last year.

Robert Penman, executive director of Undergraduate Admissions, said UC Davis is a leader in transfer education and remains committed to the UC systemwide goal of enrolling one new resident transfer student for every two new resident freshmen.

“The team has been working really hard to recover the loss of transfer applications during the pandemic, and we’re thrilled to see that work come to fruition,” he said.

Thanks in part to additional state funding to support transfer outreach, Penman said, UC Davis has more than doubled to 42 the community colleges that participate in the Transfer Opportunity Program, which helps students prepare to transfer to UC Davis.

The campus also extended the application period for transfer students to ensure that every prospective transfer student had ample opportunity to apply.

Penman said the campus aims to enroll an entering class of about 9,600 new undergraduates, up about 370 from the number that enrolled in fall 2023.

Chancellor Gary S. May among a tour group
When a tour guide purposefully says Chancellor Gary S. May is a Star Wars fan, that's his cue to correct them — it's Star Trek — and identify himself as the university chancellor. It is a ploy for filming an episode about tour guides for That May Be the Chancellor. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

California residents and other demographics

California residents accounted for 68.7% of all first-year applicants and 86.8% of all transfer applicants.

The proportions of applicants from historically underrepresented groups (African American, American Indian, Chicano/Latino and Pacific Islander) increased slightly compared to last fall. Among California residents who applied for first-year status, these groups represented 37%; among U.S. domestic applicants from California Community Colleges, they accounted for 34%. For both first-year and transfer applicants, the number of

  • American Indians increased 7.5% from 2023 to 555
  • African Americans increased 7.2% to 4,618
  • Chicanx/Latinx increased 6% to 23,856

Among California first-year applicants, 34% were from low-income families, and 36% would be in the first generation of their family to graduate from a four-year college.

Among transfer applicants from California Community Colleges, 50% were from low-income families, and 46% would be in the first generation of their family to graduate from a four-year college.

Overall, applications from U.S. states other than California grew 8.0% to 12,640, while international applications numbered 20,465, a 4.8% increase from last year.

Admissions process

Undergraduate Admissions is now evaluating applications and plans to notify applicants of admissions decisions for first-year status in mid-March and for transfer status in mid- to late April. Students admitted for first-year studies will have until May 15 to accept offers of admission, and admitted transfer students will have until June 1.

Students are encouraged to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, or California Dream Act Application by April 2.

The university will offer admission to fewer students than those who applied, and a smaller number of students will accept those offers and join the fall 2024 entering class.

Chancellor Gary S. May laughs with members of a tour group.
Chancellor Gary S. May laughs with members of a tour group after taking off his dad disguise and identifying himself as the university chancellor. It is staged for filming an episode about tour guides for That May Be the Chancellor. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Fall 2023 numbers

Last year, the campus received a final total of 94,638 first-year applications and 14,755 transfer applications. UC Davis offered admission to 39,400 first-year and 9,489 transfer applicants. The fall 2023 entering class that enrolled numbered 9,234, including 6,577 new first-years, 2,635 transfer students and 22 others seeking a second undergraduate degree.

While most students are associated with the campus in Davis, some of the total fall 2023 enrollment of 40,848 students — including undergraduate, graduate and professional students as well as veterinary and medical residents and interns — were enrolled in programs at locations outside of Davis, such as the Sacramento campus.

UC Davis also tracks student population averaged over the three quarters of an academic year for implementing the 2018 Long Range Development Plan, or LRDP, capacity of 39,000 students at the Davis campus. In keeping with the last few years, the LRDP three-quarter average is estimated to be just under 37,000 for 2023-24.

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