UC Freshman Admission Update

This is a repost of my last public UC freshman admission update (from Fall 2016). Current updates are only available to my newsletter subscribers due to multiple incursions by the UCs. You may subscribe to my newsletter for future updates and/or purchase a back issue of my September 2021 newsletter, which covered the freshman admission updates from the UC Counselor Conference, here for $25 (on the PayPal payment confirmation page, scroll down and click “Return to Merchant” button to access download – please note, purchase of a digital product is NONREFUNDABLE).

Below is information accumulated from previous counselor conferences. The points are kind of random and there isn’t a good way to organize them. If you are up to the challenge, you may review the 91-page Quick Reference Guide to UC Admissions (about half of guide covers freshman admissions), which would provide comprehensive information.

Repeating courses with non-passing grades – students may repeat AS MANY TIMES AS NEEDED until a passing grade is achieved and a MORE DIFFICULT CLASS may replace the non-passing grade of a lower-level class (AP or community college class passing grade will replace regular class non-passing grade; but NOT the other way around).

Clarification for multiple years of VPA coursework (such as taking Wind Ensemble for multiple years) – such coursework is counted multiple times rather than as repeats.

All high school seniors must complete a college prep English course during senior year, an ESL course in senior year is NOT acceptable.

Remember that your high school transcript is due at the UC campus on July 1 no matter what (even if one of your high schools is in Iran), so figure out now how you are going to get that transcript.

A student who attended school outside of the United States where the Language of Instruction (LOI) is NOT English will get foreign language credit AS LONG AS the student completed 6th grade or higher. To receive credit for foreign language, simply state on your UC Application that you completed 6th grade or higher outside of the United States where the LOI is NOT English and offer to provide transcript as proof (but DO NOT send the transcript until the UC requests it).

Students with less than 3 years of secondary (high school) English instruction MUST demonstrate English proficiency through one of the required tests (TOEFL or IELTS) and the required tests MUST be completed by December. Find the required minimum scores and score submission guideline here.

Students should ALWAYS explain ANY school restrictions on AP courses within the UC Application (for example, sophomores are restricted to one AP course, no restrictions for juniors, seniors are restricted to three AP courses, OR students can only take a maximum of two AP science courses and not within the same year). Such information is not readily available to the UCs and must be reported within the UC Application to provide context.

In the May 2022 Annual Report on Undergraduate Admissions Requirements and Comprehensive Review, each of the UC campuses provided a detailed description of how freshman admission evaluation is conducted.

For presentations that covers topics from case studies (how each UC campus evaluates applicants) to individual UC campus updates, go here.

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