CU Boulder hits record number of applications with 68,000

On campus at the University of Colorado Boulder. Sept. 8, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
On campus at the University of Colorado Boulder. Sept. 8, 2021.

The University of Colorado at Boulder got a record number of applications for next school year in a 20 percent jump from last year. The university received 68,000 applications.

Jennifer Ziegenfus, assistant vice chancellor of admissions, said applications from people who identify as Black or African American are up by 50 percent. Applications from Latino students are also up 25 percent.

“This year’s applicant pool has been the most diverse pool our campus has experienced,” Ziegenfus said at a briefing last week.

She also addressed whether that bump was related to excitement since Deion Sanders became the head coach of the football team. Sanders brought with him a host of celebrities who appeared with and spoke to the team throughout the last football season, significantly raising CU’s national profile.

“No doubt the exposure that CU Boulder has received since Coach Prime was hired has been tremendous. But it's really difficult for us to draw that causational line between Coach Prime and this applicant increase primarily because applications for Boulder, specifically for first-year students, has been steadily increasing since 2012,” Ziegenfus said, adding that the increase was anticipated as part of that upward trend.

She added that peer institutions have also seen steady increases as more students in the U.S. graduate high school.

“So not an anomaly specifically for us, but certainly the hiring of Coach Prime has been a great contribution,” she said.

Amy Hutton, the associate vice chancellor for enrollment, said the school accepted 35,000 non-resident students and 2,600 international students.

Hutton said the office is still processing late applications so the numbers aren’t finalized, but the school has sent out a total of 51,000 acceptance letters.

In-state applications were also up by 16 percent, and Ziegenfus said the school has an 80 percent acceptance rate among Colorado residents.

The academic caliber of students is also growing. Half of admitted students so far report having a 4.0 or higher high school grade point average, which Ziegenfus called extremely impressive.
“It really just goes to show that there continues to be considerable interest in attending CU Boulder because of our strong academic programs and also this really desirable location,” she said.

One trend that Ziegenfus’ office noticed was in the academic interest statement portion of the applications. More men applying to the College of Media Communication and Information said they want to become sports broadcasters and reporters. It’s unclear how tied that increase is to the arrival of Sanders on campus.