California residents, there are three paths to meeting the UC’s
basic entrance requirements for freshmen.
UC applicants follow the path known as Eligibility in the
Statewide Context, which is satisfied by completing 15
units of high school coursework (one unit equals two semesters of
study) in the “a-g” subjects — history/social
science, English, mathematics, laboratory science, foreign language,
visual and performing arts and college-preparatory electives; meeting
a GPA requirement in those courses; and attaining qualifying scores
on the SAT I or ACT and three SAT II exams.
general, the lower one’s GPA in the a-g courses, the higher
one’s test scores must be to ensure UC eligibility. For example,
a GPA of 3.5 or higher would have to be accompanied by a combined
score of 3120 on the SAT I and three SAT II exams, while a GPA of
2.8 (the lowest GPA that satisfies the scholarship requirement)
would require total test scores of at least 4640. (A perfect score
on the SAT I is 1600. The SAT II exams are each worth 800 points,
and those scores are doubled.)
path is Eligibility in the Local Context. Via this
path, the top 4 percent of students at each participating California
high school are guaranteed admission to one of UC’s eight
general campuses. Identification of the top 4 percent is based solely
on GPA in required courses completed in grades 10 and 11.
by Examination Alone is a third possible pathway to UC
eligibility, requiring a minimum SAT score of 1400 on the SAT I
or 31 on the ACT, plus a total score of 1760 on three SAT II exams.
applicants have a somewhat tougher road to UC eligibility. They
must either attain a minimum 3.4 GPA in combination with qualifying
test scores, or they must achieve the necessary test scores for
Eligibility by Examination Alone.
Lin-Eftekhar is a senior writer for UCLA Magazine.
Karen Mack is an associate editor.