California Dreaming

If University of California schools are on your child’s college list and you are not a California resident, here are some things you need to know to meet the minimum admission requirements and increase chances of being accepted.  While all nine college campuses accepting undergraduate students use the same application, each campus has its own system for evaluating the factors considered for admission. The nine undergraduate campuses are:  UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and UC SanDiego.

Some of the factors  considered during the application review process include GPA, class rank, rigor of overall course work as well as the number of honors, AP, and IB courses taken based on what is available at your child’s school.  Also taken into consideration are special talents and circumstances, continued upward trend in grades and academic performance, and senior year courses. Yes, senior year courses! Juniors think about this carefully as you plan courses for next year.

UC colleges have an A-G system of categorizing courses taken in high school based on subject areas.  The expectation is that students will have taken the minimum amount of required courses in each subject area. For most students this is easily accomplished as they work toward meeting the graduation requirements for their state and local high school.  The one element that is at times a challenge is the visual and performing arts requirement. UC requires at least one year or two semester courses in this area. The problem students outside of California often encounter is not having a course that meets the visual and performing arts requirement.  They may have taken computer programming or web design which some high schools count as an art course, but UC does not. In other cases students may have taken only one semester of art, still not meeting UC’s one year requirement. Ways to remedy this are to take missing courses during senior year or take courses at a local community college over the summer prior to senior year to meet UC admission requirements.

As your child completes the UC application, the insight questions are your child’s opportunity to show the colleges their personality and unique qualities.  With eight questions to choose from, applicants are required to choose four prompts, writing up to three hundred word essays for each. Think of the questions as opportunities to introduce information not already included in the application.

UC applications are due November 30 and outcomes are typically released during the month of March.  UC recommends applying to more than one UC school since applications are evaluated independently, meaning other UC schools are unaware of admission outcomes at their sister colleges.  Hoping all your California dreams come true!

Leave a Reply