7 Things You Must Do in High School to Prepare for the UCs

Getting excited or anxious about how well you are preparing for the UCs? Here is a list of must-dos to help you gain a competitive edge!

Things You Must Do

  1. Make sure the honors courses you are taking are UC-approved or they won’t be weighted (check your high school a-g course list at the UC A-G Course List).
  2. Balance your extracurricular activities with your honors/AP courses during the school year so you maintain excellent grades and devote enough time to your extracurricular activities.
  3. Take community college courses (check the community college course list at the UC A-G Course List) during the summer after freshman year, the summer after sophomore year, and the summer after junior year; the course grades are weighted and calculated into your UC GPA.
  4. If you receive a D or F, be sure to repeat the course to replace the bad grade in the GPA calculation and to meet the subject requirement (although you MUST report both the non-passing grade AND the repeated grade on the UC Application when you apply). You may replace the non-passing grade by taking the same course or a more advanced course (i.e., a passing grade from an AP/Honor or community college course can/will replace a non-passing grade in a regular course).
  5. As admissions become more competitive each year, it becomes harder to distinguish yourself from other students. Check out Cappex’s Standout Factor and College Peas’ Non-Teenage Activities for some fresh and crazy ideas to help you stand out from the crowd.
  6. Get your parents involved with your college planning. Ask them to meet with your counselor and show concern for your college plans. Your counselor is more likely to pay attention to your schedule if she or he knows your parents will be showing up at school if anything goes awry.
  7. Be a teacher’s pet. Talk to your teachers before or after class and show some interest in them and the subjects they teach. Ask them how you can improve your performance in the subject and get better grades. The better your teachers know you, the more likely they are willing to help you.

BONUS! Things You Should NOT Worry About

  1. UCs do look at courses you take in freshman year and the grades in context to your general grade trend; but freshman grades are NOT included in the GPA calculation.
  2. Only the grades recorded on your high school transcript will count so don’t worry too much about what’s on your progress report.
  3. Despite what your teachers/counselors/principal may say, the stuff on your “permanent record” is not submitted to or reviewed by the UCs (although the Common App and many private colleges do ask you to report school disciplinary actions and crime convictions); stay out of trouble for the sake of your own sanity, but if you happen to get detention or suspended, it’s not the end of the world.

Additional UC Admission Preparation Resources

Check out the Academic Planner from the UC EAOP office, which provides worksheets to help you plan and track your UC and CSU eligibility.

Need me to guide you through the college planning process? Sign up for my Admission Preparation Service today!

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