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Nervous Jitters from CA mom

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Replies to: Nervous Jitters from CA mom

  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 18,251 Senior Member
    No, Berkeley is not a foregone conclusion for anyone, and his status as a homeschooled student puts him at a disadvantage in terms of being able to predict anything. The UC's have a very specific set of requirement, including a guaranteed admission policy (to the system, not a particular campus) - for students who have completed the approve A-G coursework with a specific combination of GPA & test scores-- but homeschoolers generally are applying via a different route, relying on their test scores to qualify. His scores qualify him, but don't guarantee admission. If he had included a less selective UC as a backup, then he'd have a safety .... but apparently he didn't. His combined test scores are mid-range for Berkeley, which accepts less than 18% of applicants.

    He may very well get accepted -- but it's a "maybe" not a "should".
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 1,270 Senior Member
    I didn't realize Berkeley was that competitive. That's a shame. @calmom
  • YnotgoYnotgo Registered User Posts: 3,008 Senior Member
    I know of a homeschooled kid whose dad had a blog with info about his process. He had good scores (perhaps math and verbal reversed from the OP), a number of good SAT Subject tests to validate coursework, classes at community college and one of the lower-ranked UCs, and really strong ECs in drama and Maker-related stuff. His highest-ranked UC that accepted him was UCSB. (Still a good program.) I don't know much about homeschool applications, but from that story it seemed like the UC application isn't structured to the benefit of homeschoolers.
  • ThankYouforHelpThankYouforHelp Registered User Posts: 1,000 Senior Member
    The problem with admissions to UC Berkeley for homeschoolers is the same as the problem for everyone else: sheer numbers. Berkeley got over 101,000 applications last year. California is so large that there are almost as many separate high schools as there are spots in the entering class at Berkeley. That means that the average high school gets about one of its students into Berkeley each year.

    Add in the fact that the UCs have made a deliberate decision to emphasize grades and course rigor and deemphasize standardized test scores. They want the valedictorian from every school in the state to have a shot at a Berkeley degree.

    Of course, there are six UCs ranked in the top 50 (Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, UCDavis, UCIrvine) so a great education is available to all the top California students - just not necessarily a spot at Berkeley.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,683 Senior Member
    I've worked with a number of homeschooled students that got into UCB (I'm a private college consultant), and the common denominator is that they were all rather "super-star-ish" in one way or another; ie. top/very strong test scores (including subject tests and APs), ECs, and excellent essays.
  • websensationwebsensation Registered User Posts: 770 Member
    I have seen many instances of students who got into one of HYPSM get denied from UC Berkeley. So, yeah, it's pretty tough school to get into.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 58,694 Senior Member
    Note, however, that intended major does matter for UCB admissions. It is more likely for the situation in #159 to occur for students applying to the most competitive majors like EECS and engineering undeclared.
  • PentaprismPentaprism Registered User Posts: 329 Member
    edited February 17
    @calmom

    I don't necessarily disagree with you, because I don't have data to back up my argument, but I think your view is too "pessimistic" for homeschoolers.
    "the coursework has to be approved, the homeschooled student would need to work through an approved on-line course provider or local charter in order to complete the coursework."

    Who/what authority approves the course provider? Is there a list of approved providers somewhere?
    ... realistically most homeschoolers with strong test scores will also be admitted as freshmen to the less popular campuses

    This is true. But it is also true for applicants from "traditional" highschools, not just for homeschoolers.

    I talked to several people at UCB, and I realized that applications from homeschoolers were evaluated differently. But I didn't get the feeling that being homeschooled was a disadvantage. I also have a feeling that "guaranteed admission" is a thing in the past.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 18,251 Senior Member
    Who/what authority approves the course provider?
    The courses are approved by UCOP (University of California, Office of the President). It's not approval of the course provider; it is approval of the individual courses. themselves. A California high school, no matter how prestigious or well-respected, can't simply add a new course to their roster and have it count -- it has to go through the approval process to get it added to the approved list.

    When students fill out an application online for the UC, they can select their high school and then fields for reporting coursework are automatically filled by the list of approved courses at their school.

    Information here: http://www.ucop.edu/agguide/updating-your-course-list/
    All new course submissions are placed in a queue in the order received and reviewed by one of our articulation analysts. To provide a more objective review of the course content, UC conducts “blind” reads of all new courses, where the name of the institution submitting the course is hidden from our analysts. A-G approval is based on the course demonstrating compliance with the "a-g" subject area course criteria established by UC faculty.
    But it is also true for applicants from "traditional" highschools, not just for homeschoolers.

    If the student has graduated from a California high school, they need to complete the A-G subject requirements to qualify for the preferred pathways for admission-- the ones that come with the guarantee. And that is the path that most high school students will follow, unless there is some reason they were unable to complete the requisite coursework.

    Admission by test scores alone is a different, less-favored option. Yes, a high schooler short on the A-G requirements, but with a 2250 SAT probably would be on equal footing with a home schooler... but either way, those students are at the end of the line as compared to the students who have guaranteed admit status with the requisite coursework & GPA, even with significantly lower test scores.

    About 15 years ago, before the opening of the Merced campus, there was a year when the campuses were full up, and the UC system could not honor its guarantee. Some students who should have been guaranteed admission were shifted to the community college path. The Merced campus was essentially created to meet the demands of the increasing UC population. It's probably unlikely to happen again, but it still impacts chances of admission.
    didn't get the feeling that being homeschooled was a disadvantage.

    I wrote that it was a disadvantage in relation to predictablity.
    I also have a feeling that "guaranteed admission" is a thing in the past.

    I don't rely on "feelngs". I rely on published information on the UCOP web site:
    For the highest-achieving California applicants, we have two programs. If you are in one of the following groups and you are not admitted to any of the UC campuses you apply to, you'll be offered a spot at another campus if there's space.
    http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/freshman/california-residents/index.html


  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 18,251 Senior Member
    Note, however, that intended major does matter for UCB admissions.

    That only applies to certain specified STEM schools and programs. For applicants to Letters & Science, the major is not considered. See http://admissions.berkeley.edu/selectsstudents
    Due to student demand, selectivity varies among Colleges, and—in the College of Engineering—among majors; for example, it is more difficult to gain admission to the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences major than to the Mechanical Engineering major.

    For applications to the College of Letters and Science and Natural Resources no consideration is given to the indicated major in the review process. However, for the professional colleges of Chemistry, Environmental Design, and Engineering demonstrated interest in the major is also taken into consideration.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 58,694 Senior Member
    calmom wrote:
    The entire California university system, both historically and presently, is structured around high school class rank. As originally conceived, the concept was that the top 10% of graduates would be eligible to attend UC's, whereas those who weren't at that level would attend CSUs or community colleges. There have been numerous tweaks over the years - now it has tightened to top 9% - but class rank remains a significant factor, both on a per-school basis ("local context") and on the "statewide path.". The ranking is determined by measuring GPA in only specific, UC-approved and required coursework. So the system is specifically designed around the idea that California high schools are direct feeders into the University system.

    Historically, the policy goals of the UC and CSU systems were based on statewide rank (top 12.5% for UCs and top 33.3% for CSUs), but these were defined in terms of (recalculated) GPA and test scores. Even when UC policy goals began to include rank within high school (Eligibility in Local Context), eligibility for such was defined in terms of GPA compared to recent previous classes' top 4% (initially) or 9% (currently) GPA thresholds, possibly to avoid the kind of cutthroat rank gaming that occurs in Texas. Class rank as defined by the high school is not used in UC and CSU admissions.
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