Class of 2026 UC General Discussion Thread

It’s that time of year again as the UC application has now opened and submission starts November 1. I am @Gumbymom one of the two UC Forum Champions/Moderators. My Co-Forum Champion is @lkg4answers and we are knowledgeable on the increasingly complicated UC admissions process and hopefully we can help any prospective UC applicants with their questions.

If you have General UC questions, then this discussion can be used as your sounding board. If you have questions to any specific UC campus, then there will be a 2026 Discussion Thread available for each campus. @10s4life has already created a UCLA 2026 Discussion thread and they are the UCLA Forum Champion/Moderator which much expertise. University of California - Los Angeles - College Confidential Forums

There are many knowledgeable posters that are here to help on College Confidential. Also helpful are the previous Class discussions, waitlist discussions, and admit stats threads found on each specific campuses’ forum. Welcome prospective UC students and best of luck.

UPDATE: Link for new ELC Statewide Index. Statewide guarantee | UC Admissions

Update 11/29/21 UC slams the door on standardized admissions tests, nixing any SAT alternative

UC’s will be test blind for now on


My daughter is a senior, aspiring for top UCs (UCB and UCLA). Her stats are,
GPA : 3.92 (uw), 4.4 (capped), 4.56 (weighted)

Courses (Junior year) : AP Eng, AP French, AP Calc BC, AP USH, AP Phy 1
Current (Senior) : AP Gov & Econ (H), AP Stats, AP CSA, AP Physics C, Intro to Engineering Design, Eng 12

She has completed Multi-variable calculus at UCB and Linear Algebra at Ohlone this summer.
She is looking to double major in Math + CS. Have competition math credentials (AIME qual since 2018 and nationals like math league). Just looking for advice on what to focus to get a shot at UCB/UCLA.


The UC’s use 13 areas of criteria for their application review with GPA, HS course rigor and personal insight essays as the most important aspects of the application for UCLA and UCB. She has the GPA and academic rigor covered so her essays should focus on what makes her stand out as an applicant.

Both schools are Reach schools with no guarantees but she looks very competitive.


  • Very important: Academic GPA, Application essay, Rigor of secondary school record
  • Important: Extracurricular activities, Volunteer work, Work experience
  • Considered: Character/personal qualities, First generation college student, State residency, AP/IBLH exam scores
  • Note: Thorough review of academic performance; likely contribution to intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus; diversity in personal background and experience; demonstrated qualities in leadership, motivation, concern for others and community; non-academic achievement in the performing arts, athletics or employment; demonstrated interest in major.
  • LOR’s by invitation only as of 2017

Division (L&S, CNR, CoC, CED, CoE) matters for admission selectivity.

Within CoE (but not the other divisions), major matters for admission selectivity. Changing majors within the CoE after enrolling is not guaranteed, unless one is CoE undeclared.

Note that L&S admits students as undeclared; admission to capped majors (e.g. CS, economics, psychology, ORMS, statistics, art practice, and a few others) is by college GPA in prerequisite courses (and portfolio for art practice) after attending for a few semesters.

The business major is in a separate division and admits students in a competitive holistic process. Frosh intending business majors begin in another division (usually L&S), take the business major prerequisites, and apply (usually in their second years). They also need to take prerequisites for a backup major in case they are not admitted to the business major.

All students who apply to UC Berkeley and select a major within the College of Natural Resources are evaluated based on their application, not on the particular major they select.


  • Very important: Academic GPA, Application essay, Rigor of secondary school record
  • Important: Character/personal qualities, Extracurricular activities, Talent/ability, Volunteer work, Work experience
  • Considered: First generation college student, Geographical residence, AP/IBHL exam scores
  • Note: GPA, course work, number of and performance in honors and AP courses most important. Essay considered. Strong senior program important. Extracurricular activities, honors and awards also reviewed.
    • For the College of Letters and Science, the applicant’s major is not considered during the review process.
    • The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science admits students by declared major, with more emphasis on science and math programs.
    • The School of Nursing also places more emphasis on science and math programs and requires the submission of an additional supplemental application.
    • The School of the Arts and Architecture; Herb Alpert School of Music; and the School of Theater, Film and Television admit students by declared major (within the school), and put more emphasis on special talents through a review of portfolios and/or auditions, which are the most significant admission factors for these schools.
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Thanks so much @Gumbymom She has plans to apply to other private colleges as well but we are leaning very much towards UCs. This is our first kid so lot of anxiety and reading is going around. Love this forum and the insights we get here. Good work done!!

Completely understand about being anxious for the first student going through the admission process. Here is some more information in regards to admit rates for the UC’s (2020 data is the most current) and 2021 admission summary for all campuses.

2020 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 4.20 or above capped weighted and not major specific:

UCB: 37%

UCLA: 38%

UCSD: 78%

UCSB: 81%

UCD: 86%

UCI: 60%

UCSC: 92%

UCR: 97%

UCM: 98%

2020 UC capped weighted GPA averages along with 25th-75th percentile range:

UCB: 4.22 (4.13-4.30)

UCLA: 4.25 (4.18-4.31)

UCSD: 4.16 (4.04-4.28)

UCSB: 4.15 (4.03-4.27)

UCI: 4.11 (3.96-4.26)

UCD: 4.10 (3.95-4.25) Updated for 2021

UCSC: 3.94 (3.71-4.16)

UCR: 3.88 (3.65-4.11)

UCM: 3.68 (3.40-3.96)

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That’s really a good lot of info to process. Looking to enrich my knowledge more through the CC forums.

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My advice is to start working on the activity section now. It is a place where students can really show who they are but it is long and shouldn’t be left for the last minute. It is also easier for students to write more factual information than it is for them to write the reflective PIQ. If she writes and rewrites her activities section to best show who she is and what makes her tick then she will be more in the frame of mind to know what additional information she wants to share in her PIQ.

For the UC application art requirement of 1&2 (eg. photo 1 and photo2 or draw 1&2). Can students be in process of taking the 2nd art class their senior year, even though they are applying the fall of their senior year? Or does the art 2 course have to be completed by the time of application (basically junior year or in the summer before their senior year)?

It can be a planned course for senior spring; you just have to complete it or your acceptance will be rescinded.


As long as you have the courses listed on the UC application as in-progress and planned, you will be fine and of course passing them as noted above.

For everyone here new to this Forum, Gumbymom is AMAZING and a font of useful information.


Sure. I’ll remind her about this. Thank you so much for the great support you guys provide.


For the Activity List, should we list them by category? I heard somewhere to list by importance but it seems like that would be rather disjointed as my S22’s list would be a sport, community service, community service, sport, sport, community service, sport, work, outside course, sport, outside course, outside course.

Would that be weird? Or should he just do each category in order?

I would list them by importance within each category.

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My kids always listed by importance to them. Their lists were out of order and not categorized.

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However, the UC application now has 6 categories so how can you not categorize? Everything that I have heard and read said to list by importance within each category.

On the common application, I could see where you would list just by importance.

It probably does not make a significant difference as long as the activities are listed and briefly explained.

Thanks, @Gumbymom. I think we’ll go by category since that’s what made more sense to us as well. We’ll order by importance within each category and trust that AO will see by the number of hours devoted to teach, how they played out in S22’s life.

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Sorry, I didn’t realize they changed the format this year. Are they asking the students to list all community service then all extracurricular then all awards/honors?

@Evie800 this video might help. UC Application Tutorial Step 6: Activities & Awards - YouTube

Confused how capped GPA exceeds the theoretical limit of 4.3x.