High school students have been hit hard by the closing of schools, and the sudden shift to online learning. They’re also facing uncertainty about how the current semester will impact their college admission chances. On March 31, the University of California system, which encompasses nine undergraduate campuses throughout the state, announced it temporarily easing admission requirements for fall 2020. The move will impact the more than 200,000 students who apply each year. Following are the updated UC admission requirements.
The following changes officially went into effect on April 1, 2020:
- Suspending the letter grade requirement for A-G courses completed in winter/spring/summer 2020 for all students, including UC’s most recently admitted freshmen.
- Suspending the standardized test requirement for students applying for fall 2021 freshman admission.
- Providing that there will be no rescission of student admissions offers that result from students or schools missing official final transcript deadlines, and student retention of admission status through the first day of class until official documents are received by campuses.
John A. Perez, Chair of the Board of Regents said in a statement through the UC Press Room: “We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19. By removing artificial barriers and decreasing stressors – including suspending the use of the SAT – for this unprecedented moment in time, we hope there will be less worry for our future students.”
New Stance on Grades
In the wake of several private universities (Boston University, Tufts, University of Oregon, among others) making their own proclamations, the university system made the decision to eliminate letter grades in the A-G required courses as well as remove the Pass/Fail limitations for the current semester.
“All grades (letter grade, pass or credit) reported on the University of California application for admission must match the official transcript provided by the student’s high school,” Sarah McBride, media and communications strategist for the University of California Office of the President, tells Parentology. “Letter grades issued should be reported as such. If letter grades are not issued, but a student was demonstrating an upward trajectory, they can provide those details as comments either in the Academic History section of the application or include that information as part of their response to one of the Personal Insight Questions.”
While this action will give some peace of mind to students, it also raises several questions. For instance, if a student had been on an upward trajectory, in terms of their grades, how will this affect their GPA?
Parentology spoke with Victor Solis, founder of Initia Education, who offered the following: “An applicant can certainly submit letter grades and those A+ marks, but the question remains as to how that student’s transcript will be compared to that of another student with passes and fails. We’ll have to see if UC announces further details of how they will assess letter grades in comparison to pass/fail, though they have historically refrained from publicizing the underlying calculus of their admissions process.”
SAT and ACT Testing
UC is suspending the standardized test requirement for students applying for fall 2021 freshman admission. “We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19,” John A. Pérez, chair of the Board of Regents, the governing board for UC, said in a statement. “By removing artificial barriers and decreasing stressors – including suspending the use of the SAT – for this unprecedented moment in time, we hope there will be less worry for our future students.”
The official word from the UC Newsroom to this end: “Students applying for fall 2021 are not precluded from taking standardized tests (SAT or ACT) and sending scores if they are able. Doing so can support their statewide UC eligibility, application for certain scholarships, and help them fulfill some University graduation requirements. Campuses will adjust their internal processes accordingly to ensure that no student is harmed in admissions selection should they not submit a test score. This modification to the test requirement is not intended as an admissions policy shift but is rather a temporary accommodation driven by the current extraordinary circumstances.”
What Elements Will Be Taken Into Consideration Re: UC Admission Requirements
So what is important for students applying to UC schools? McBride shared the following with Parentology:
“The University will continue to take a comprehensive review approach to all applications received,” McBride says. “The temporary measures, which relax undergraduate admissions requirements for students looking to enroll at UC for fall 2020 and future years as applicable, help mitigate some of the extraordinary challenges students and their families face in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
McBride adds, “However, they are only a portion of the 14 factors that UC considers in our comprehensive review of applicants. Also, students will have other years of academic and/or other achievements from high school (or community college, if they are a transfer student) for the University to consider, not just spring and summer 2020.”
UC Admission Requirements: Sources
Victor Solis, founder of Initia Education
Sarah McBride, University of California Office of the President, Media & Communications StrategistUC Press Room – 1
UC Press Room – 2
Gavin Newsom 4/1/20 press briefing
Los Angeles Times