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  • Swati Chopra

Decisions for Class of 2023

When we moved into the new school year, I honestly thought the worst was behind us. The Class of 2021 and 2022 had faced the pandemic head on and were nicely tucked away at some of the best colleges in the country. Schools were back in-person, SATs were kept at an arm's length, and we had two year's worth of data to better understand college acceptances. With the information we had in our hands, Class of 2023 should've been clearer if not easier to guide.

It turns out that the ripple effect of the pandemic might stay with us for a few more years. The waitlists this year were insane (and I don't use that word often). One of my strongest students was waitlisted at every UC she applied to and then on March 30th was admitted to Berkeley. It just doesn't get crazier than that.

Regardless of how things went down, the University of California system still aims to fill their freshman class with approximately 80% in-state students. As the table below shows, the applications fell slightly at many of the campuses, not a lot but still there was a decrease in numbers. It'll be interesting to see how enrollment numbers pan out later in the year.

The Common App which is the application platform to apply to over 1,000 public and private universities saw an increase of 30% between the 2019-2020 cycle and today. The degree of selectivity in admissions did not appear to affect the increase in applications. Regardless of whether they were highly, moderately or less selective, institutions saw application increases hovering between 28-32%. Applications to public institutions increased by 39% and by 24% to private institutions.

For our CA students, casting a wider net and researching colleges far and wide, definitely helped in the end. Even for those who wanted to stay in California, applying to in-state private schools as well as California State Schools helped achieve our goals. I know there's a tendency to only count certain UC campuses and to shrug off the other schools in the UC and CSU system but after proper research families do come to realize how lucky we are to have these public schools, with their world class research opportunities, especially at the price that they are offered.

Total applications Fall 2023

Total applications Fall 2022

Percentage of change

Total admits for Fall 2022

Total in-state applications Fall 2023







UC San Diego






UC Berkeley






UC Irvine






UC Santa Barbara






UC Davis






UC Santa Cruz






UC Riverside






UC Merced






(While looking at this table, keep in mind that most of the UC campuses have less than 8,000 freshman seats). The number of students who were admitted this year will be known in the fall)

My students also fared well when they kept an open mind and applied to out of state public schools. Many of these state schools are not impacted and getting into competitive majors is easier. The bottom line is that they want our California kids and sometimes offer attractive packages like Honors Colleges and/or a decent amount of merit aid.

When it comes to flagships and highly selective private schools, the scene is quite different. These schools, similar to the UCs, are receiving a lot more applications and at the end of the day it's just a numbers game. Too many applications + not enough seats -> low admit rate.

Here are some other schools which are popular among my students, and a few of them have only a fraction of the total applications the UCs receive:

  • Northeastern received 96,327 applications this year, up from 91,100 in 2022, 75,233 in 2021 and 64,428 in 2020. That’s an increase of 49.5%, over four years. Their ED applicants also increased 30% from last year.

  • Boston University Total applications 80,484 and 8,612 admitted for an admit rate of 11%.

  • USC’s acceptance rate for the 2022-23 year was 9.9%, setting another record for the lowest acceptance rate in the school’s history. This year, USC received 80,790 applications and accepted 8,032 of them for the Fall 2023 semester. An additional 1,245 applicants were accepted for Spring 2024 admission.

  • University of Georgia aims to enroll 80% in-state. 15,340+ were accepted out of roughly 43,700+ total applicants.

  • University of VA - Total applications: 56,439 (50,962 last year). Total number of VA apps: 15,169 (14,305 last year). Total number of out of state apps: 41,377 (36,657 last year). Overall accepted: 9,184, Total VA accepted: 4,074 (27% admit rate), Total out of state accepted: 5,110 (12% admit rate).

  • Santa Clara University received 18,839 applications for the Class of 2027, a 13 percent increase from last year, and the highest volume in its history. The overall admit rate for the class was 42 percent.

  • NYU - 120,000 applications came in and 9,600 were accepted. The admit rate was 8% and NYU hopes to enroll and create a class of 5,700.

  • Johns Hopkins received 38,200 applications and offered admission to 2,411 students, resulting in a 6% admit rate.

  • Georgetown University admitted 3,263 students out of 25,519 total applicants, which is 1,151 fewer applicants than last year. Their admit rate increased to 13%.

What do we take away with this year's decisions? A balanced college list is key, majors play a huge role and can move the needle either way, and lastly, everyone didn't get waitlisted even though it felt like they did. We categorized colleges - likely, target, unlikely, and reach - and the acceptances that came in were pretty much on the mark. With a few exceptions, the waitlists were at schools that we knew were unlikely and reach schools anyway.

Class of 2023: Congratulations! Take your time and decide which school is right for you. Enjoy the rest of the school year and have a wonderful summer!

Class of 2024: Good luck as you finish up your school year. It's time to get started on your college list and research majors. I cap my seniors so if you are interested in signing up for senior year, please reach out to me soon. Once I'm full, I will only be able to take students on a need by need basis.

Class of 2025: Make the most of your summer. If you haven't planned anything yet, there's still time to do so. Let's talk about what works best for you; whether it's test prep, passion projects, volunteering, or classes. Personal growth should be your goal.

Class of 2026 and beyond: I take a certain number of students every year and every year I get full sooner than the previous year. If you are interested in counseling packages please plan to meet once in the fall and once in the spring so that we can make sure you are on the right track. The earlier we start, the fewer surprises we face!


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