UC(University of California) Admissions: Eligibility and Time Line

The University of California System has nine UC Schools for Undergraduates. Some of them are evaluated as the top public schools in the United States. We have done some research and collected some important information on UC Admission. It includes information about selection criteria, eligibility calculation, test requirements, admissions timeline, and financial aid application timeline.

How UC Reviews Applicants – Comprehensive Review

Because the applicant pool is different every year, the level of academic performance necessary varies. When campuses receive applications from more prospective freshman students than they can admit, they use the 14 criteria below to select among qualified applicants. This process is called comprehensive review. By using this process, UC admissions officers look beyond the required test scores and grades to evaluate applicants’ academic achievements.

Comprehensive Review Factors for Freshman Applicants
1. Academic grade point average (GPA) in all completed “a-g” courses, including additional points for completed University-certified honors courses.
2. Scores on the ACT Assessment plus Writing or SAT Reasoning Test(SAT I), and two SAT Subject Tests(SAT II). (SAT Subject Tests will not be required for freshman applicants applying for fall 2012 or later.)
3. Number of, content of and performance in academic courses beyond the minimum “a-g” requirements.
4. Number of and performance in University-approved honors courses and Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate and transferable college courses.
5. Identification by UC as being ranked in the top 4 percent of the student’s high school class at the end of his or her junior year (“eligible in the local context” or ELC). Beginning with the freshman class entering in fall 2012, students in the top 9 percent of their high school class will be designated ELC.
6. Quality of the student’s senior-year program, as measured by the type and number of academic courses in progress or planned.
7. Quality of the student’s academic performance relative to the educational opportunities available in his or her high school.
8. Outstanding performance in one or more academic subject areas.
9. Outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study.
10. Recent, marked improvement in academic performance, as demonstrated by academic GPA and the quality of coursework completed or in progress.
11. Special talents, achievements and awards in a particular field, such as visual and performing arts, communication or athletic endeavors; special skills, such as demonstrated written and oral proficiency in other languages; special interests, such as intensive study and exploration of other cultures; experiences that demonstrate unusual promise for leadership, such as significant community service or significant participation in student government; or other significant experiences or achievements that demonstrate the student’s promise for contributing to the intellectual vitality of a campus.
12. Completion of special projects undertaken in the context of the student’s high school curriculum or in conjunction with special school events, projects or programs.
13. Academic accomplishments in light of the student’s life experiences and special circumstances.
14. Location of the student’s secondary school and residence

UC Eligibility Calculation

UC uses UC Scores to evaluate applicants as well.

Firstly, you need to know that points for UC approved honors courses capped at 8 semester’s worth for eligibility purposes, but uncapped for ELC. Namely, it is the 8 point cap on bonus points. Please be notice that the cap is for UC ELIGIBILITY, not Admissions!

Secondly, you should calculate your GPA for the UC approved a-g courses for grades 10 and 11. To get the correct GPA, you must first know what honors courses have been approved for extra credit in your high school. You can find it out at https://doorways.ucop.edu/list.

Thirdly, if you have taken community college courses, in order for you to get extra credit, you need to confirm that the courses you have taken are considered as “transferable” college courses. ASSIST, an online course-transfer information system shows how course credits earned at a local college, which can be applied when transferred to another at http://www.assist.org/web-assist/welcome.html.

You can use the online calculator to convert your SAT and/or ACT scores to UC Scores at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/undergrad_adm/paths_to_adm/freshman/scholarship_reqs.html

The minimum GPA is 3.0 for California residents, 3.4 for nonresidents.

Test Requirements

• ACT Assessment with Writing or SAT Reasoning Test
• Two SAT Subject Tests in two any different areas, chosen from history, literature, mathematics (Level 2 only), science or foreign language, required (Some programs/majors at some campuses have a preferred SAT Subject Test pattern).
• Deadline for completing all admissions tests is December 2009
• UC requires official test scores sent directly from the testing agency
• UC uses the highest total score from a single test administration

Admissions Time Line

• Application filing period is November 1-30 for Fall 2010 Enrollment.
• Admissions decisions are sent out between March 1 and March 30.
• All campuses provide online access to admissions decisions. Students receive e-mail on instructions.
• Students must submit Statement of Intent to register to one campus by May 1.
• Official high school and college records are due at enrolling campus by July 15.

Financial Aid Time Line

Federal Student Aid
Students who wish to be considered for need-based and/or honorary scholarships must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between Jan. 1 and March 2, 2010 at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.

California Student Aid
Funded by the state of California and administered by the California Student Aid Commission, Cal Grants can reduce a student’s college bill by as much as $9,700 a year. The GPA verification form is due by March 2. Applicants can follow all the steps at http://www.calgrant.org/index.cfm?navId=21.

Data Source: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/

Hope the information on UC Admission is helpful. Wish you can get in your dream college!

College Early Admissions: Is it Right for you

Historically, the rate of college admission among early applicants has been higher than the overall admission rate. Sometimes, students who apply under early admission plans have a better chance of acceptance than they would through the regular admission process. Colleges benefit from these plans as well, because they get students who really want to go to the school and commit early in the process.  Are your chances better if you apply early? Is Early Admission To College right for you?

Although early admission programs are popular in US, it is said that approximately two out of three of the united states’ top universities and colleges offer some kind of early admission program, however, the benefits and obligations involved vary from one school to another. Therefore, it is very important for college applicants to make sure to understand early admission options, in order to make informed decision.

Generally speaking there are two types of Early Admission processes: Early Decision often referred to as ED and Early Action, often referred to as EA. Both programs involve an earlier application deadline than the normal admission process does, and earlier notification of admission decision. Single Choice Early Action (SCEA) programs are a particular kind of early action program.

What is Early Decision Admission?

Early Decision (ED) programs are usually binding, which means you must attend that college or university if it accepts you and gives you a reasonable financial aid package. Early decision applicants are expected to submit only one early decision application to one school. You can submit applications to other schools under normal application procedure, but agree that you will withdraw all those applications if you are accepted to the early decision school. College applicants apply to your first-choice school, usually by the November of your senior year. Schools usually make a decision by mid-December.

Possible outcome

Typically, a candidate who has applied early decision can receive one of three outcomes. The applicant may be admitted, in which case you are bound to attend the school; rejected, in which case you will not be able to attend the school; or deferred, and in which case you will be reconsidered for admission with the second round of early decision application or with the regular application. Generally when you are deferred you are released from the binding early decision agreement.


Usually, admission rates for early applicants tend to be higher than the overall admission rates; this is particularly true for the most selective colleges. One of the factors is that candidates who apply early can only present colleges with their transcripts until the end of junior year of high school and therefore they are strong applicants with very persuasive transcripts. The other factor is that candidates who apply early have dedicated themselves to a school and are more likely to match the school’s admission standards. If accepted, you can bypass all the admission stress that comes with senior year; if you are not accepted, in most cases, your application is deferred until the final acceptance decision is made, and in this case you have more than one chance to get in. In addition, applying through one of these plans is a good way to communicate your interest in a school, which may convince admission officers to consider your application more seriously.


If candidates are admitted under early decision, you are unable to compare financial aid offers from different colleges. You will have to rule out other schools that may offer more attractive financial aid packages. Applying Early Decision means that you have made up your mind early (in October) about where you would like to go, which may push you to choose a favored college too soon before you have had the chance to study other options and reflect on your choices. You will have less time to explore your options. You will not be able to improve your profile with your first semester grades and activities in senior year. Candidates who apply early are usually very qualified, so it is harder to make your application stand out.

What is Early Action or Notification Admission?

Generally, there are two types of early action programs, called restrictive early action and non-restrictive early action. Restrictive EA allows candidates to apply to only one early action school, while, there are no such restriction on non-restrictive early action. For non-restrictive early action, unlike early decision, an applicant is free to apply to other colleges and make your final decision in the late spring. You are under no obligation to attend that school. You can also apply to as many Early Action schools as you like.

Single-choice early action plan works the same way as other early action plans, but candidates may not apply early, either early action or early decision to any other school although you can apply to as many colleges as you want under a Regular Admission timeframe.

Early Decision and Early Action Application Schedule

If you are considering on early decision or early action, here are the steps for you to refer to:

Junior Year(January-May)

Take SAT I and/or ACT

Visit colleges during spring break if you can

Junior Year(May-June)

Take SAT Subject Tests™

Work hard to get good grades; colleges only use a transcript through junior year for early admission

Senior Year(September-October)

Complete applications

Get teachers’ help on recommendation forms or letters

File early decision or early action application according to school deadline and procedure

Take SATI/II or ACT if necessary (October is the last test date that makes scores available in time for early admission programs)

Register for CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE online or using a printed form

Senior Year (November)

Continue filing early admission application according to specific school deadline

Follow up with teacher’s recommendation

Work on regular-decision application as a backup

File the PROFILE and any other college-based financial aid forms

Our Thoughts and Recommendation

Early admission programs are not for everyone. If you are sure of what school you want to go to, and your junior year’s grades, extracurricular activities, etc., are strong enough to secure admission, you can benefit from early admission. If you are not absolutely sure about where you want to go to college and are not reasonably sure you will be accepted, it is not a good idea to apply early. However, we think an applicant should be very cautious to seek a binding early decision from a school. A thoughtful college search and a careful assessment of your readiness to present a strong application as early as November 1st are key factors to college early admission. Candidates who need more time, for whatever reason, will be better served by Regular Decision process. And also we would remind applicants who plan to weigh offers and financial aid packages from several colleges later in the spring and for applicants who are advantageous to have more of your senior year work to show a college should not apply early.

Use College Handbook to do your research and find the colleges and universities, which offer early admission plans. Hope the information above on Early Admission To College is helpful. Best wishes on your dream school admission!

How to Choose the Best College?

It depends on each applicant’s individual objective condition and subjective condition, namely, what do you what? What can you reach?

After considering how to choose a right major for you (refer to the previous post), at least you have some ideas that you may interest in one or several directions.

To find the right college for you, to know yourself and potential colleges is the key.

What do you what? Questions related your subjective conditions.

What is your career goal?
A clear goal always motivates a person. It is an essential factor for choosing a college.

Want a challenging academic environment or not?
Most of the famous universities are very competitive and have very challenging academic courses, while the reward is also big. Usually the students can get to know famous professors and get better education environments, and the graduates have more job opportunity, more chance to succeed in some fields.

What major or programs of study interests you?
Enjoying what you are doing is the best motivation.

Prefer a rural, suburban, or urban environment?
Some people like quiet study environment, while some like exciting big city life styles.

Want a college that is near your home?
If you choose a college near your home, it is easy to meet family and take advantage of the network you and your family already built. In addition, it is cost effective.

Want scholarship or financial aid?
Usually anyone wants scholarship, for financial aid depends on each individual’s financial situation, some may do not need it.

Public school or private school or does not matter?
Public schools are usually funded primarily by the state and are governed by a group of publicly-elected officials and private schools are the opposite of public schools, with most of their funding coming from private sources and are run by private individuals or organizations. Usually, public schools are less costly than private schools; however, some private schools have scholarships and good financial aid programs.

Want a school with diversity races?
In a country where a lot of cultures and races mix together, some people consider it important to evaluate the racial ratio in colleges. In U.S.A, usually, the minority ethnic races include Asians, Hispanics and African-Americans.

What can you reach? Questions related you objective conditions.

What are your academic skills and talent?
Including your high school ranking, GPA score, SAT scores and other things show your talent and skills, which make you stand out. For example, if you do not have a good GPA, you can not apply some colleges.

Can you afford the college?
Consider the financial aspects. Get a clear picture of the costs, such as tuition, class fees, housing, and meal plans. Look into financial aid and scholarships.


  1. Investigate at least three to five colleges which interest to you, and your grades and SAT or ACT scores meet the requirements. A little research and an open mind can greatly increase the odds that you make a good college choice.
  2. Try to find out the answers of the following questions.
    • How long will it take to complete the studies?
    • Who is teaching in the area of study?
    • Is there any famous professor in the area of study?
    • What are the potential job opportunities after graduation?
  3. Because until the very end of the application process, you can only know how much it will cost to attend a college, do not rule out it early because of cost. Many colleges offer scholarships, financial aid, and tuition installment plans.
  4. Deadlines are very important for your application, whether for college applications, SAT or ACT registration, financial aid, scholarships, campus housing, etc. Write down a schedule and adhere strictly to all deadlines.
  5. Visit at least your top two or three choices, before making your final college selection decision. Like the old saying, believe it until see it.