Are you California dreaming? Do you want to spend your undergraduate years on a University of California (UC) campus?
The news is good — in spite of growing protests in recent years from many Californians (who believe resident students are being squeezed out), the percentage of out-of-state (and international) freshmen across all UC campuses is at an all-time high.
Out-of-state applicants, in fact, are now admitted at a higher rate than in-state applicants — to any UC campus, including flagship UC Berkeley. (In 2017 UC Berkeley admitted 22.1 % of out-of-state applicants versus 19.7% of in-state. At UC Davis, 72.2 % of out-of-state applicants were admitted, versus 35.9% of in-state!)
And although the UC Board of Regents has approved a policy to now limit nonresident enrollment to 18% on five of the UC campuses, more latitude will be given to UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCLA and UC San Diego, which “will be grandfathered in” per 2017-18 enrollment results. (Considering last year’s numbers, these percentages will likely be between 20 and 25%.)
If you’d like to take advantage of the opportunity and apply to be a part of next year’s University of California freshmen class, there are some specific UC requirements you’ll need to know about.
1. You will complete the unique UC application, which allows you to apply to more than one UC campus. And no matter how many campuses you choose, you will only need to submit one official test score. Each campus you apply to, however, will require a separate application fee — $70 per school for 2017-18 applicants.
2. The only time you can submit the application is between November 1 and November 30. It’s available as of August 1, so you can carefully complete each section well before the submission window opens.
3. You will NOT send an official transcript at application, but instead, will self-report your grades. Make sure to report them directly from your transcript — if you later accept an offer of admission, your official high school transcript will be required… and must match up!
4. Do not include letters of recommendation with your application. They are not required and will not be considered.
However, some applicants to any campus this year may be given the option — or, as the UC website states, invited — via email to send up to two letters of recommendation, due by January 15. (Note: For the past two admission cycles, UC Berkeley alone has invited letters from some applicants; those who chose to take advantage of the opportunity were admitted at a slightly higher rate than those who did not.)
5. You will need to take the additional writing section of standardized tests — that’s the SAT with essay or the ACT with writing. You will select this option when you register for the exam. (Subject tests are not required, but certain programs on some campuses recommend them, so be sure to check your desired program on each school’s website.)
6. There is a minimum GPA requirement for application — and it’s higher for non-residents at 3.4, versus 3.0 for residents. (For the most selective UC campuses, both residents and nonresidents must have a GPA well above 3.4 in order to be truly competitive for admission.)
7. This minimum GPA is calculated using only your high school grades from the summer before your sophomore year to the summer after your junior year; and only your grades from any of fifteen specified college-prep courses. Grades in AP and IB courses will be weighted. GPAs are not rounded up; and pluses and minuses are not counted.
8. Completion of the fifteen college-prep courses, with a grade of C or better, are required for admission. Eleven of the fifteen courses must be taken prior to your senior year.
9. There are alternate ways to meet the college-prep courses requirement, such as taking a one-semester community college course (equivalent to a year-long high school course); earning certain scores on SAT, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams; admission by exam; or admission by exception.
10. Instead of writing an essay, you will select four of eight possible personal insight questions; each response is limited to 350 words. The admissions website provides writing tips and techniques, as well as a worksheet with suggestions for each question.
There is also a step-by-step guide for completing the entire application; the guide takes you through each question to help you understand how best to present yourself.
Considering the favorable odds, the time is right for out-of-state applicants who meet the academic criteria. If you can manage the additional nonresident tuition and want to apply, California (still) wants you, too!
Bonus: Read Sandy Clingman’s University of California Application: 10 Rules about the Visual and Performing Arts Requirement Out-of-State Students Don’t Know to learn more about the UCs unique admissions requirements.