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**COVID-19 resources**: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.# Understanding the MCA plus Calculator

eyemgh
5785 replies124 threads Senior Member

Cal Poly, the best we know, uses an algorithm called Multiple Criteria for Admissions (MCA) to do admissions. I say "the best we know" because the last Cal Poly published anything on the MCA was 2013 and that link has been removed. They will not acknowledge it if asked. That said, in the years I've been tracking it, the results seem to hold. I believe it is still being used.

I dug into this several years ago because posters were claiming that CP passed over highly qualified applicants. I had anecdotal information to refute that (my high stats son got in and averages, particularly for the CENG are too high to not have high stats students. That led to the discovery of the MCA, and algorithm that is far more than just GPA and test scores.

It turns out that there's another reason that high stats students got rejected. Some were leaving off appropriate middle school grades, resulting in a lower MCA than they thought.

THINGS HAVE CHANGED SINCE I ORIGINALLY POSTED THIS.

ED no longer exists and the SAT has changed. I don't know how either impacted the MCA for certain. I left it unchanged, because, for now, what we know is what we had from 2013. That will have to do.

The Academic MCA:

The maximum GPA they will use is 4.2, even though you can have a higher calculated CP GPA. A 4.2 is worth 2250 MCA points. Thus, multiply your CP GPA by 535.7 and you'll get your MCA points for GPA.

The next biggest thing is test scores. The odd thing, likely because they wanted it to total a nice round number, is that the max score is 1650, even though the max SAT score is 1600. Multiply the total of your best SAT CR and your best SAT math by 1.03125 to get your MCA test points. If you took the ACT, they convert and vice versa.

The third largest section is the class rigor score, worth 750 points. In this section you get zero points for meeting the minimum admission requirements and adders for more than the minimum. The bonuses in order of power are (min semesters/max total semesters/bonus per extra semester/total possible bonus): math 6/10/125/500 (note: stats and finite do not count), lab science 4/8/50/200, English 8/10/50/100, foreign language 4/8/25/100, visual performance 2/4/25/50, no bonus points for social sciences or electives. As with GPA, you can actually score higher than the maximum, but 750 is the most they will count.

Finally, work and ECs, worth 350 points. Work (hours per week/bonus): 0/0, 1-5/20, 6-10/40, 11-15/60, 16-20/80, 21+/100, add 50 points if work is major related. ECs (hours per week/bonus): 0/0, 1-5/30, 6-10/60, 11-15/90, 16-20/120, 21+/150, add 60 points for leadership role.

There are also other Non-Academic Bonus Points:

CA vet/701, Hayden Partner School/700, faculty/staff dependent/700, service area of CP/500, either parent with some or no HS, but who DIDN'T GRADUATE FROM HS/300 (per parent).

Lastly,

Cal Poly ACT/SAT Concordance Chart in case you took ACT (use only Math and English and figure out the two equivalent SAT scores)

ACT CR M

36 800 800

35 770 790

34 760 780

33 750 760

32 720 730

31 700 700

30 680 680

29 650 660

28 630 640

27 610 620

26 590 600

25 570 580

24 550 560

23 540 540

22 520 520

21 500 500

20 490 480

19 470 460

18 450 440

17 440 410

16 420 390

15 400 360

14 380 330

13 360 300

12 330 280

11 300 260

Here's how it works. Cal Poly does TWO "READINGS" one of academic only and one after adding additional non-academic bonus adders. The reason I put readings in quotes is that they don't actually READ them. A computer tallies points and then ranks students.

The first "reading" is used to fill approximately 65% of the class. Presumably that is all of ED plus the first half or so of RD.

Then they add the other non-academic bonus points and re-rank MCAs to fill the final half of RD, approximately 35% of the class.

https://mca.netlify.com/

https://rogerhub.com/gpa-calculator-uc/

I dug into this several years ago because posters were claiming that CP passed over highly qualified applicants. I had anecdotal information to refute that (my high stats son got in and averages, particularly for the CENG are too high to not have high stats students. That led to the discovery of the MCA, and algorithm that is far more than just GPA and test scores.

It turns out that there's another reason that high stats students got rejected. Some were leaving off appropriate middle school grades, resulting in a lower MCA than they thought.

THINGS HAVE CHANGED SINCE I ORIGINALLY POSTED THIS.

ED no longer exists and the SAT has changed. I don't know how either impacted the MCA for certain. I left it unchanged, because, for now, what we know is what we had from 2013. That will have to do.

The Academic MCA:

The maximum GPA they will use is 4.2, even though you can have a higher calculated CP GPA. A 4.2 is worth 2250 MCA points. Thus, multiply your CP GPA by 535.7 and you'll get your MCA points for GPA.

The next biggest thing is test scores. The odd thing, likely because they wanted it to total a nice round number, is that the max score is 1650, even though the max SAT score is 1600. Multiply the total of your best SAT CR and your best SAT math by 1.03125 to get your MCA test points. If you took the ACT, they convert and vice versa.

The third largest section is the class rigor score, worth 750 points. In this section you get zero points for meeting the minimum admission requirements and adders for more than the minimum. The bonuses in order of power are (min semesters/max total semesters/bonus per extra semester/total possible bonus): math 6/10/125/500 (note: stats and finite do not count), lab science 4/8/50/200, English 8/10/50/100, foreign language 4/8/25/100, visual performance 2/4/25/50, no bonus points for social sciences or electives. As with GPA, you can actually score higher than the maximum, but 750 is the most they will count.

Finally, work and ECs, worth 350 points. Work (hours per week/bonus): 0/0, 1-5/20, 6-10/40, 11-15/60, 16-20/80, 21+/100, add 50 points if work is major related. ECs (hours per week/bonus): 0/0, 1-5/30, 6-10/60, 11-15/90, 16-20/120, 21+/150, add 60 points for leadership role.

There are also other Non-Academic Bonus Points:

CA vet/701, Hayden Partner School/700, faculty/staff dependent/700, service area of CP/500, either parent with some or no HS, but who DIDN'T GRADUATE FROM HS/300 (per parent).

Lastly,

Cal Poly ACT/SAT Concordance Chart in case you took ACT (use only Math and English and figure out the two equivalent SAT scores)

ACT CR M

36 800 800

35 770 790

34 760 780

33 750 760

32 720 730

31 700 700

30 680 680

29 650 660

28 630 640

27 610 620

26 590 600

25 570 580

24 550 560

23 540 540

22 520 520

21 500 500

20 490 480

19 470 460

18 450 440

17 440 410

16 420 390

15 400 360

14 380 330

13 360 300

12 330 280

11 300 260

Here's how it works. Cal Poly does TWO "READINGS" one of academic only and one after adding additional non-academic bonus adders. The reason I put readings in quotes is that they don't actually READ them. A computer tallies points and then ranks students.

The first "reading" is used to fill approximately 65% of the class. Presumably that is all of ED plus the first half or so of RD.

Then they add the other non-academic bonus points and re-rank MCAs to fill the final half of RD, approximately 35% of the class.

https://mca.netlify.com/

https://rogerhub.com/gpa-calculator-uc/

Post edited by MaineLonghorn on March 2019

## Replies to: Understanding the MCA plus Calculator

BTW, this thread will likely be locked as a reference only thread shortly. If you need more information, start a new thread and tag me or @Gumbymom in it.

If I take out the ED/RD reference, then it looks like you're saying 65% of the class is admitted based on MCA calculated using "Academic" scores only (GPA/Rigor/Test Scores/Work and Extra Curriculars) and that 35% of the class is admitted after adding in the non-academic "Bonus Points". I suppose this makes sense: 65% of the spots are decided excluding Bonus Points....and 35% of the spots are reserved for decision after adding in Bonus Points.

Where does ED/RD play into this? When I look at the Cal Poly website, it appears there is one period for submitting applications: 10/1-11/30.

ED no longer exists, but because Cal Poly no longer publicly talks about their admissions methodology, I left it as it was last time it was published in 2013.

You can obviously assume that the ED "reading" no longer happens. It would make sense that they do a purely academic pass followed by a rerank with adders, but again, nothing has been published since 2013, so I don't know that to be fact.

The posted info is circa 2013.

I have no written confirmation of that other that what has been posted here by other parents. If you want to know with certainty, you'll have to call admissions.

"The bonuses in order of power are (min semesters/max total semesters/bonus per extra semester/total possible bonus): math 6/10/125/500 (note: stats and finite do not count")

Can you explain what you mean by stats and finite do not count? Do you mean that if a kid took Algebra 1, geo, algebra 2 and finite they only have 3 years of math? Cal poly doesn't count the 4th year of finite? I know it is counted as filling the "c" math requirement for UC/Cal States, so wanted clarification. Thank you?