A sea of wannabe Bruins from across the state, nation and world have applied to become UCLA freshman. A record 102,000 high school seniors have applied for admission to the Westwood institution, according to a university statement. It's likely the largest number of hopefuls yet for any school in the nation, said spokeswoman Rebecca Kendall.

The demand is about value. University of California campuses offer world-class educations — earlier this year UCLA was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the 10th best school in the world — at a public school price. In fact, another top U.S. institution for high school applicants was UC Berkeley (ranked fourth in the world for academics, according to U.S. News), which received 85,000 freshman applications, a 3 percent increase compared with this time last year, according to that university.

UCLA, too, is getting more popular. The school saw its largest ever annual application increase, 7.8 percent, from Californians, according to the institution. The overall annual increase in freshman applicants from inside and outside the state was 5.3 percent. Out-of-state applications rose 1 percent and international applications were up 1.8 percent.

Minorities represented the biggest increase in Bruin hopefuls this year, school officials said. The percentage of Pacific Islander students knocking on the door increased 15.7 percent. Latino student applications rose by 9.4 percent. Applications from African-Americans increased by 4.5 percent.

“Our admission, outreach and financial aid staff have worked hard to ensure that students throughout California had the information they needed to decide whether UCLA is the right place for them,” Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, UCLA’s vice provost for enrollment management, said in a statement.

UCLA officials also gave credit for the increase to the University of California's vow late last year to increase systemwide enrollment for in-state students by 10,000 over three years. Still, fewer than 1 in 5 applicants, or about 18 percent, made it to Westwood in the fall, when 97,121 students applied to become Bruins, according to school data.

The deadline for transfer applications was extended to Jan. 3, so the exact number of students seeking to become Bruins next year is not yet final, according to the school. Accepted students will be informed on April 1 — no fooling.

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