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he University of California's admissions process has been in the news a lot lately. Several proposals that would change the way UC admits its students are being considered, and you may have heard about some of them.

At this point, the process by which UC will select its entering class for fall 2002 is the same as the process that was used for fall 2001. But some possible changes are under discussion. We developed this guide to keep students, parents, counselors and teachers informed of what is changing - and what isn't - in the UC admissions process.

What stays the same

Eligibility criteria: UC requires students to complete a specified number of academic courses in high school, called the "a-f/g" subjects. The university then uses a numerical index, consisting of standardized tests scores and grades in these UC-required courses, to determine a student's "eligibility" for the UC system. Eligibility guarantees a student admission to at least one UC campus, though not necessarily his or her campus of choice. The university uses this eligibility model to ensure that we offer access to the top 12.5 percent of California high school graduates, as designated in the state Master Plan for Higher Education. The coursework required, the index and related information about eligibility are available on the web at: http://www.ucop.edu/pathways/infoctr/introuc/fresh.html

Eligibility in the Local Context program: The fall 2002 admission cycle is the second in which UC will be offering an additional route to achieving UC eligibility, beyond the statewide eligibility criteria mentioned above. The Eligibility in the Local Context program grants UC eligibility to the top 4 percent of students in each California high school, based on their grades in UC-required courses. UC makes this determination based on the evaluation of student transcripts forwarded to UC by individual high schools. Details about the program are available at: http://www.ucop.edu/sas/elc/

Admissions by campuses: Students fill out one UC application during the month of November but use it to apply to as many UC campuses as they wish. Each campus selects its own freshman class by the following April 1, and students may be admitted to more than one campus. Most campuses have admission criteria that are more stringent than the criteria for minimum UC eligibility, though the specifics vary by campus. Details are available on the Web at: http://www.ucop.edu/pathways/infoctr/introuc/select.html

Consideration of race and gender: Under Proposition 209, race and gender cannot be considered in the UC admissions process. This remains the case despite a recent action by the UC Board of Regents rescinding SP-1, a similar university policy that preceded Proposition 209. The university continues to seek out a student body each year that demonstrates high academic achievement and that encompasses the broad diversity of backgrounds characteristic of California. For more, see: http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/commserv/access/welcome.html

What future changes are possible

Revised campus admission criteria: Currently, UC campuses admit 50-75 percent of the freshman class on the basis of certain academic criteria alone. The rest of the class is admitted on academic criteria plus additional factors, such as extracurricular accomplishments, special talents, unusual leadership or intellectual qualities, and accomplishments in the context of disadvantaged circumstances. The UC faculty is now considering a proposal in which the campuses would evaluate all students on a full range of criteria. Changes could take effect for the fall 2002 admission cycle. A decision is likely by November 2001.

Dual Admissions program: UC President Richard C. Atkinson has proposed a new program that is an extension of the Eligibility in the Local Context program. Under the "Dual Admissions" proposal, the top 4 percent to 12.5 percent of students in each California high school would be granted admission to UC, provided they first complete a transfer program at a community college. This proposal is awaiting a vote by the Board of Regents this summer. If approved, this program could be implemented for the entering class of fall 2003.

Revised use of standardized tests: President Atkinson has proposed that UC no longer require the SAT I test for freshman applicants. He has called for the development of new tests that are more closely linked to the high school curriculum; in the meantime, under President Atkinson's proposal, UC would use the SAT II achievement tests. This proposal is being reviewed by the UC faculty. All students applying for fall 2002 should continue to take the full battery of standardized tests required for UC eligibility and admission. Any changes, if adopted, would not be implemented before the fall 2003 admissions cycle, at the earliest. Current test requirements are at: http://www.ucop.edu/pathways/infoctr/introuc/fresh.html#exam

Other useful links

For more information on applying to the University of California, please see these sites.

Pathways, the online UC application center:

$&SENSE, a guide to an affordable UC education:

Answers for Transfers, a guide to navigating the transfer process:

California Notes, a publication for counselors and teachers:

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