UC Admissions Requirements & How To Make Your UC Application Stand Out

Matt Larriva
Apr 28, 2022
Home » Blog » UC Admissions Requirements & How To Make Your UC Application Stand Out

Interested in attending a UC school? In this article, we’ll discuss the UC admissions requirements for freshman students. Depending on whether you are a California resident, an out-of-state student, or an international student, the UC admissions requirements will vary slightly.

Read on to learn more about the UC application requirements such as:

  • UC application deadlines
  • the University of California GPA requirements
  • SAT and exam requirements
  • UC personal insight questions

Whether you plan to seek admission to UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, or UC Merced, knowing the UC admissions requirements will help you put your best foot forward and submit the best UC application you can.

Want to know your chances of acceptance to University of California? Calculate your chances with CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator.

UC Application Deadlines & Other Important Dates To Know

Regardless of which UC school you hope to attend the UC application deadline is the same—your UC application must be received by November 30th.

To be more clear, you can start working on your UC application as early as August 1, and you can submit your UC application anytime between October 1 and November 30.

You can apply for Cal Grants starting on October 1.  The deadline to submit is March 2.

When Do UC Decisions Come Out?

UC admissions decisions for Fall 2022 will be sent out between March 1 and 31.

If you were granted admission to UC, you must submit your Statement of Intent to Register by May 1.  You must similarly submit your final, official school transcripts to the campus admissions office by July 1. The UC application deadline for your official AP and IB examination results is July 15, be sure to have them in before then.

Timeline: UC Application Deadlines

You can use the timeline below to quickly see all for the UC application deadlines. One suggestion is to set up a reminder on your phone or calendar for the UC application deadlines that are relevant to you.

August 1st

UC Applications available

October 1st

Application acceptance period begins for UC schools

November 30th

Official UC application deadline, be sure to submit your application to UC before this date!

March 1 through 31st

UC schools send out admissions decisions

May 1st

Statement of Intent to Register at UC School due

July 1st

Official transcripts due

July 15th

Official AP and IB exam results due

Get Familiar With The UC Application

Now that you know the UC application deadlines, let’s take a sneak peek to learn more about what you’ll encounter during the application process to the University of California school system. We’ll also be discussing additional UC admissions requirements a bit later in the article.

Sections of the UC Application

Scroll through the following chart for a summary of the sections on the current UC application.

About you

  • List personal information about you and your family

Campuses & majors

  • Select which campuses you are applying to and majors you are interested in (“Undecided” and “Undeclared” are options)
  • The campuses include: UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, and UC Merced

Academic history

  • Report on the courses and grades from all schools you’ve attended throughout high school
  • High school-level math or a language other than English taken towards the end of middle school (7th and 8th grades) may also be reported in this section

Test scores

  • On this section of the UC application you will be add your AP exams, IB exams, TOEFL or IELTS and International exams
  • NO ACT & SAT scores will be considered for UC admission or UC scholarship decisions. The UC school system is test-blind. However, they may be submitted with your UC application as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility or for course placement after enrollment
  • SAT Subject Tests have been discontinued as of 2021, but students who have taken one before they were discontinued may submit it as an additional piece of information or as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility

Learn more: Why The University of California Stopped Accepting ACT/SAT Scores for Admittance

Activities & awards

Prospective students will have an opportunity to add their activities and any awards they have received when filling out their UC application.

These fall into one of six categories:

  • Award or honor
  • Educational preparation programs (any programs that have enriched your academic experiences or helped you prepare for college)
  • Extracurricular activity
  • Other coursework (courses other than those required for UC admission/courses that do not fit in UC’s A-G subject areas)
  • Volunteering/Community service and Work Experience

Scholarships & programs

  • Select any and all scholarship categories that apply to you as well as if you are interested in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

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Personal insight questions

  • Write essays for 4 out of 8 possible prompts 
  • Use the additional comments field to note any unusual circumstances in your life or clarify anything that may have been unclear in a different part of your application

Need help filling out the UC Personal Insight Questions? Jump to: All the insight you need to ace the UC Personal Insight Questions

UC Admissions Requirements

In order to submit an UC application and be considered for acceptance to any of the UC schools, prospective students need to ensure they meet all of the UC admissions requirements. This includes things such as high school coursework and GPA.

Let’s take a closer look…

UC Admissions Coursework Requirements

The UC School System requires that high school students complete a total of 15 college preparatory courses in 8 specific subjects.  These are officially referred to by the University of California as A-G Coursework. 

Eleven of these courses must be completed before the beginning of senior year, and students must earn a letter grade of C or higher in the course for it to count.

Students can also fulfill the A-G Coursework requirement by completing certain specified exams.  The required courses may also be taken through a local college rather than the student’s high school.

If you are not sure which of your courses count as A-G courses, then you can use this A-G Course list via this database from the University of California.

For California Residents:

For California residents, your school will be listed in the database along with a list of which of its courses are considered A-G courses. 

For Nonresidents:

For non-California residents, you’ll use the same database along with your knowledge of the 15 college-preparatory course categories below to intuit whether or not your coursework has been UC-approved.  

Additionally, you can contact the admissions office of the UC school to which you are applying if you still have questions.

The 8 College-Preparatory Course Subjects Required for UC Admissions

Tap or click a course category tab on the left below to read about the UC admissions requirements for each subject area, including which courses satisfy those requirements.

You must complete 2 years history, consisting of:

  • 1 year of World History, Cultures or Historical Geography (this may be 1 year-long course or 2 one-semester courses)
  • 1 year of U.S. History -OR- ½ year of U.S. history and ½ year of either Civics or American Government

Exams that satisfy the requirement:

  • AP Exams with a score of 3, 4 or 5:
    • U.S. History (satisfies the 1 year US History requirement) or U.S. Government (satisfies ½ of the 1 year US History requirement)
    • European History, World History (2020 and before), Modern World History (2021 and after) or Human Geography (satisfies the 1 year World History/ Cultures/ Geography requirement)
  • IB Exams with a score of 5, 6, or 7
    • History of the Americas HL (satisfies the 1 year US History requirement)
    • History HL exam or Geography HL (satisfy the 1 year World History/ Cultures/ Geography requirement)

College courses that satisfy the requirement:

  • U.S. History Requirement
    • Grade of C or better in a transferable course of 3 or more semesters (4 or more quarters) in U.S history satisfies the 1 year requirement.
    • Grade of C or better in a transferable course of 3 or more semesters (4 or more quarters) in Civics or American Government satisfies ½ (or one semester) of the 1 year requirement.
  • World History/Cultures/Geography Requirement:
    • Grade of C or better in a transferable course of 3 or more semesters (4 or more quarters) in world history, cultures and geography satisfies the 1 year requirement.

You must complete 4 years of college-preparatory English that includes frequent writing, as well as reading classic and modern literature. 

No more than one year of ESL-type courses can be used to meet this requirement.

Exams that satisfy the requirement: 

  • AP Exams with a score of 3, 4 or 5:
    • English Language and Composition; or English Literature and Composition
  • IB Exams with a score of 5, 6, or 7
    • HL English: Literature (formerly HL English A1)
  • SAT Subject Test (if taken before the tests were discontinued)
    • Literature: Score of 560 satisfies the first three years of the requirement.  Note that the AP and IB exams will satisfy the entire four year requirement.

College courses that satisfy the requirement:

  • For the first three years of the requirement, you must earn a grade of C or higher in a transferable or non-transferable college course of 3 or more semesters (4 or more quarters) in English composition, literature (American or English), or foreign literature in translation. 
  • Courses used to satisfy the fourth year must be UC-transferable. 
  • For lower-division transfer, all courses must be UC-transferable. 
  • All of the above must include substantial work in composition.

You must complete 3 years of college-preparatory mathematics, and it is recommended that you complete an additional 4th year (though not required).

Math courses must cover elementary and advanced algebra.  A geometry course or an integrated math course with a sufficient amount of geometry content must also be completed

Math courses taken in the seventh and eighth grades may also fulfill part or all of this requirement if the high school accepts them as equivalent to its own courses.  Courses that address the previously mentioned content areas and include or integrate probability, statistics or trigonometry are also acceptable. 

Courses intended for 11th and/or 12th grade levels may satisfy the required third year or recommended fourth year of the subject requirement if approved as an advanced math course.

Exams that satisfy the requirement:

  • AP Exams with a score of 3, 4 or 5
    •  Statistics satisfies the elementary and intermediate algebra requirement.
    • Calculus AB or Calculus BC satisfies 2 years of the requirement, but does not satisfy the geometry component.
  • IB Exams with a score of 5, 6, or 7
    • Mathematics HL satisfies 2 years of the requirement, but does not satisfy the geometry component.

College courses that satisfy the requirement:

  • Three semesters (or 4 quarters) of non-transferable college courses in elementary algebra, geometry, intermediate algebra or trigonometry, with a grade of C or better, satisfy one year of the math requirement.
  • A grade of C or better in a transferable mathematics course of at least 3 semesters (or 4 quarters) that has intermediate algebra as a prerequisite satisfies two years of the requirement (but not geometry).
  • Note that due to the geometry requirement, one transferable college course will not satisfy the full three-year math requirement.

You must complete 2 years of college-preparatory science in two of these three subjects: biology, chemistry, or physics. 

One year of approved interdisciplinary or earth and space sciences coursework can meet one year of the requirement. 

Computer Science, Engineering, and Applied Science courses do not fulfill the requirement, but they can be used as additional years of study (i.e. a third/fourth/etc. year of science).

Exams that satisfy the requirement:

  • AP Exams with a score of 3, 4 or 5
    • Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, or Physics (B, C, 1 or 2)
    • any two of these must be completed to satisfy the entire 2 year requirement
  • IB Exams with a score of 5, 6 or 7 
    • Biology HL, Chemistry HL, or Physics HL 
    • any two of these must be completed to satisfy the entire 2 year requirement

College courses that satisfy the requirement:

  • For each year of the requirement, a grade of C or better in a transferable course of at least 3 semesters (or 4 quarters) in a natural (physical or biological) science with at least 30 hours of laboratory (not “demonstration”)

You must take 2 years of a foreign language other than English.  Both years must be in the same foreign language.  Three years of instruction are recommended.  

Courses should emphasize speaking and understanding, and include instruction in grammar, vocabulary, reading, composition and culture. 

American Sign Language and classical languages, such as Latin and Greek, are acceptable, as are Native American languages. 

Courses taken in the seventh and eighth grades may be used to fulfill part or all of this requirement if the high school accepts them as equivalent to its own courses.

Exams that satisfy the requirement:

  • AP Exams with a score of 3, 4 or 5
    • Chinese Language and Culture, French Language and Culture, German Language and Culture, Italian Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, Spanish Language, Spanish Language and Culture, Spanish Literature and Culture or Latin
  • IB Exams with a score of 5, 6 or 7
    • Any IB Language A2 HL exam
  • SAT Subject Test (if taken before the tests were discontinued) (with minimum score required)
    • Chinese With Listening: 520
    • French/French With Listening: 540
    • German/German With Listening: 510
    • Modern Hebrew: 470
    • Italian: 520
    • Japanese With Listening: 510
    • Korean With Listening: 500
    • Latin: 530
    • Spanish/Spanish With Listening: 520

College courses that satisfy the requirement:

  • A grade of C or better in any transferable college course or courses fulfills the entire language requirement, as college level language courses are equivalent to two years of a high school language course. 
  • If you are unsure if this is the case for the college you are looking at, look at the prerequisites for the school’s second course in the language.  If it says “Language 1 at this college or two years of high school language,” then Language 1 clears both years of the requirement.
  • Courses focused solely on conversation do not fulfill the requirement.

You must complete 1 year-long or 2 one-semester long visual and performing art courses. You must choose from among the following disciplines: dance, music, theater, visual arts or interdisciplinary arts.

Exams that satisfy the requirement:

  • AP Exams with a score of 3, 4 or 5
    • History of Art, Studio Art, or Music Theory
  • IB Exams with a score of 5, 6 or 7
    • Any HL exam in Dance, Film, Music, Theatre Arts, or Visual Arts

College courses that satisfy the requirement:

  • A grade of C or better in any transferable course of 3 semesters (4 quarters) that clearly falls within one of four visual/performing arts disciplines: dance, drama/theater, music or visual art

You must complete 1 year (two semesters) which either go beyond the requirements to satisfy the A-F coursework or courses specific to the elective (G) subject area.

Exams that satisfy the requirement:

  • AP Exams with a score of 3, 4 or 5
    • Computer Science, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Human Geography, Psychology, U.S. Government, or Comparative Government
  • IB Exams with a score of 5, 6 or 7
    • Any HL exam in Economics, Philosophy, Psychology, Social and Cultural Anthropology, or Computer Science
  • SAT Subject Test (if taken before the tests were discontinued) (with minimum score required)
    • U.S. History: Score of 550
    • World History: Score of 540
    • Writing/English Compositions or Literature: Score of 560
    • Mathematics Level 2: Score of 520
    • Science: Same tests and scores as listed above under “D”
    • Language Other Than English, third year
      • Chinese With Listening: 570
      • French/French With Listening: 590
      • German/German With Listening: 570
      • Modern Hebrew: 500
      • Italian: 570
      • Japanese With Listening: 570
      • Korean With Listening: 550
      • Latin: 580
      • Spanish/Spanish With Listening: 570
    • Note that for all of the above, you cannot use an exam result which you used to satisfy an A-F coursework requirement to also satisfy the “G” coursework requirement.

College courses that satisfy the requirement:

  • Grade of C or better in transferable college courses of at least 3 semesters (4 quarters) beyond those listed above as clearing any of the “A-F” requirements.

GPA Requirements for UC Admissions

You must earn a GPA of 3.0 or higher if you are a California resident; or you must earn a GPA of 3.4 or higher if you’re a nonresident. 

Furthermore, you may not score lower than a C in any of your courses, and GPA is calculated using only the A-G Courses.

The UC school system has a specific way to calculate GPA, so the GPA your school gives you may not be the same as how a UC school would calculate it. 

Anyone seeking UC admissions should use the following step by step guide on how to calculate your UC-GPA:

1. Convert your grades to grade points.

Here’s how:

For all A-G courses completed between the summer after 9th grade through the summer after 11th grade, convert the letter grade into grade points. Remember, pluses and minuses do not count and do not affect grade points earned.

A=4 points
B=3 points

C=2 points
D=1 points

2. Calculate your extra points

Now, give yourself an extra point for each semester of a UC honors-level course. Use the following rules to determining which of your classes count as a UC honors-level course:

For California residents: 
Honors courses are Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate Higher Level (HL) and some designated Standard Level (SL) courses, UC-transferable college courses, and UC-certified honors courses that appear on your high school’s designated honors course list.

Nonresidents:
Honors weighted courses are AP, IB, and transferable college courses only.  You cannot get honors points for school-designated honors courses.

Extra rules and considerations for both California residents and non-residents:

  • For 10th grade, you cannot gain more than 4 honors points.
  • In fact, there is a maximum of 8 points between 10th and 11th grades.
  • You cannot earn an extra point for a grade of D or F in an honors course.  The weight is only given to letter grades of A, B, or C.
  • You cannot earn an extra point in courses which grade on credit or pass/fail.
  • Any classes taken during the summer after 9th grade count as 10th grade
  • classes taken in the summer after 10th grade count as 10th grade
  • and classes taken in the summer after 11th grade count as 11th grade.
  • One college course = one grade = one honors point

3. Add up all your points

Next, add your points from Step 1 and Step 2. This is your total grade points.

4. Determine your UC GPA

Finally, divide your total grade points by the number of letter grades that you earned in courses taken between the summer after your 9th grade year and through the summer following your 11th grade year.

Do not round up or down.

This is your UC GPA.

As an example, if you took one class of each of the A-G courses each year (so 7 classes or 14 semesters per year), took UC-honors level coursework for all your classes during your either senior or junior years, and earned a B in all your classes across all years, you would have a UC GPA of 3.3.

If you need help calculating your high school GPA without using the UC method, see our article: Weighted GPA vs Unweighted GPA – Which Do Colleges Look At?

SAT/ACT Exam Requirements for UC Admissions

The UC admissions requirements regarding the SAT and ACT exams is simple:

UC Schools will NOT consider any SAT scores or ACT scores, not even as optional, extra academic material.

As stated above, certain SAT Subject tests (if taken before the tests were discontinued in January 2021) can be used to satisfy A-G coursework requirements.

UC Personal Insight Questions

Another UC admissions requirement you will come across on your UC application are the UC Personal Insight Questions.

All prospective students are required to respond to the UC’s personal insight questions.

You will have eight prompts to choose from. You must respond to four using a maximum of 350 words per response. 

Do not respond to more than 4 questions of the UC personal insight questions.  You will not receive extra credit for it, and it may even hurt your application for failure to follow instructions.

The 8 UC Personal Insight Questions

1.

Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.

2.

Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.

3.

What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?

4.

Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

5.

Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

6.

Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.

7.

What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?

8.

Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

How Showcase Yourself Via the UC Personal Insight Questions

To showcase the best version of yourself as possible in your responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions, you should make sure to do the following things:

Start early

Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, compose, and revise your responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions.

uc admissions requirements office at berkely
Is UC Berkeley (above) your dream school? Taking the time to respond to the UC Personal Insight Questions thoughtfully will help get you into the UC school of your dreams.

Write deep not broad

Avoid making lists of achievements and activities.  Focus on illustrating your abilities and uniqueness through specific, concrete examples.

Use “I”

While “I” statements are generally frowned upon in the writing you do for your literature class, here you want to make sure the focus is on you and your personality, talents, accomplishments, and how well you would fit in on a UC campus.

Proofread!

You will not be evaluated on grammar, spelling or sentence structure, but poor construction and gratuitous misspellings can be distracting, make what you are trying to say difficult to understand and reflect poorly upon you as an applicant. Never turn in your UC application without first proofreading it, especially the UC Personal Insight Questions.

Get feedback

Getting advice from others — your family, teachers, and friends — is a good idea.  However do not use anyone else’s words but your own. You should neither plagiarize nor should you let someone else write your responses for you.

Copy and paste your responses into your application

Construct your responses in a separate document, then paste them into the online application.  Make sure to check that there are no odd characters or line breaks.

Besides the UC Admissions Requirements, What Do UC Admissions Look For?

The most important feature of any UC application will be your academics. 

These are the main things UC schools will consider when evaluating your academic performance:

  • GPA earned in UC Required high school coursework
  • Performance in coursework beyond those requirements
  • Performance in UC-approved honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate Higher Level and transferable college courses
  • Class rank, especially being ranked in the top 9% of your high school class at the end of junior year
  • Pursuit of quality senior-year coursework
  • Academic performance in the context of available education opportunities
  • Outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study.
  • Outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study.
  • Any significant recent improvement in academic performance (increase in GPA or taking on more difficult and quality coursework)
  • Academic accomplishments in light of your life experiences and special circumstances, including but not limited to: disabilities, low family income, first generation to attend college, need to work, disadvantaged social or educational environment, difficult personal and family situations or circumstances, refugee status or veteran status.
  • Location of your secondary school and residence.

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Impress UC Admissions Officers With Extracurriculars & Achievements

In addition to this, UC schools will look at your extracurriculars and achievements outside of school:

  • Special talents, achievements and awards in a particular field, including in
    • 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
    • other significant experiences or achievements that demonstrate the student’s promise for contributing to the intellectual vitality of their campus
  • The completion of special projects undertaken in the context of your high school curriculum or in conjunction with special school events, projects or programs.

California Resident vs. Out of State Student

You may have noticed in the requirements above that California student requirements are slightly less intense than out-of-state students requirements.  In addition to this, California students are also prioritized during the admissions process over out-of-state students.

uc application deadline coming up flag

California Student Guarantee

If you are a state resident graduating from a California high school, have met the minimum requirements and satisfy one of the following conditions, then you are guaranteed a spot on a UC campus.

  1. You rank in the top 9 percent of California high school students, according to the UC school system’s updated Statewide Index, or
  2. You rank in the top 9 percent of your graduating class at a participating high school. This is referred to as “Eligible in the Local Context” (ELC)

This does not mean that you are guaranteed admittance to any of the UC schools, but if you are not admitted to any UC campuses to which you apply, you will be offered a spot at another campus so long as space is available.

If any of the following are true for you, then you count as a California resident student for the purpose of determining your eligibility for the California Student Guarantee:

  • You have attended a high school in California for at least three years during grades 9-12 and will graduate or have graduated from a California high school
  • You have you lived in California for the last 12 months
  • If you’re under 18, your parent or legal guardian lives in California
  • Your parent, legal guardian, spouse or registered domestic partner is an employee of the University of California or a UC-affiliated national laboratory

*Determining residency for tuition purposes is a separate process with different requirements.

Non-immigrants (students on a foreign/non-immigrant visa) are not eligible for California resident status for admission purposes.

students who applied to UC

Out-Of-State Students Hoping To Attend a UC School

All campuses offer admission to out-of-state students, but if you are one such student, you should keep in mind that out-of-state students have a higher GPA requirement.

Additionally, there’s no pre-approved course list for schools outside of California. Refer to the A-G course list site and the 15 college-preparatory course categories to determine which of your courses have been UC-approved.

Another two important aspects out-of-state-students should consider:

  • Honors courses are calculated differently. In calculating an out-of-state student’s GPA, UC will grant honors weight for AP or IB courses only, but not for school-designated honors courses. The weight is given to letter grades of A, B, or C. 
  • Letters of recommendation are not required, so you should not submit them as part of your main application.  Submit them as supplementary material for the campuses or majors that require them.

Lastly, you will also be required to self-report your grades when filling out your application. You do not need to send an official transcript with your UC application, but you must refer to your transcript to make sure you provide accurate information. 

Further, you will be required to submit an official transcript by July 1 if you are admitted. 

uc application deadline office at davis

International Students Seeking UC Admissions

If you completed some or all of your secondary education in a country where English was not the primary language of instruction, you count as an international student.  International students who have had less than 3 years of instruction in English during high school will need to demonstrate their English proficiency.

If this applies to you, you can demonstrate proficiency through:

  • Scoring a 24 or higher for the English Language Arts (ELA) section of the ACT
  • Earn a score of 31 or higher on Writing and Language section of the SAT 
  • Receive a score of 3, 4 or 5 on the AP English Language and Composition, or English Literature and Composition exam
  • Earning a score of 6 or 7 on the IB Standard Level examination in English (Language A only) 
  • Scoring of 5, 6 or 7 on the IB Higher Level examination in English (Language A only)
  • Score of 6.5 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Receive a score of 6.5 or higher on the IELTS Indicator (Fall 2022 only)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)* examination:
    • Internet-based test (iBT) or iBT Home Edition: Minimum score of 80 or better
    • Paper-delivered test: Minimum score of 60 or better
    • Duolingo English Test (DET): Minimum score of 115 (Fall 2022 only)

*Note: UC does not accept MyBest TOEFL; only the highest composite score from a single sitting is allowed.

Although UC isn’t technically part of the Ivy League, I highly recommend reading How To Get Into The Ivy League as an International Student. Many of the tips you will read there can help you with your UC application as well.

Exceptions to the UC Admissions Requirements

UC Admission by exception

Even if you were unable to complete the A-G coursework or GPA requirements listed above, you still have a chance to get into a UC school via admission by exception.

This primarily applies to students with life circumstances which prevent them from completing the requirements, such as a student who was homeschooled and does not have a transcript, or students who were unable to live up to their potential for reasons outside themselves.

If you think this applies to you, then you should use the UC personal insight questions and additional comments section of the UC application to explain your unique situation.

Recap: The UC Admissions Requirements

students who met the uc admissions requirements

Students planning to submit a UC application will need to make sure they are on track to complete 15 college preparatory courses in the 8 required subjects before you graduate.  You must earn a C or better in each course for it to count towards the requirement.

You must achieve a 3.0 GPA if you are a California resident OR a 3.4 GPA is you are an out-of-state student

UC Schools calculate GPA in their own way.  To ensure the highest possible GPA, try to take as many honors, AP, IB, or college courses as possible.  Remember that only AP and IB courses will count if you are an out-of-state student.

UC schools are testing blind. They will not accept any SAT or ACT score you submit except in the cases where you are submitting it to fulfill another requirement (such as the language proficiency requirement for international students).

You must write a response to 4 of the 8 UC Personal Insight Questions. Be sure to give yourself enough time to write a meaningful response.

Remember to stay on top of all the UC application deadlines we outlined above. As suggested earlier, consider setting up reminder on your phone for any of the UC application deadlines that are relevant to you.