Questions about the UC admissions process

Does the UC system look at class rank, and if they do, do they use a weighted 10-11 or the one given on the transcript?

Do UCs compare students from the same school during the admissions process?

Sorry if these sound like dumb questions, I’d just like to know more about the admissions process for the UC system. Thanks!

UC does not use or even see class rank as given on the high school transcript.

If you are from a California high school, UC does compare your UC-recalculated weighted-capped GPA with a threshold GPA for your high school. This threshold GPA is from a recent past class for which the high school submitted grade records to UC for. UC-recalculated weighted-capped GPAs from the grade records determine the top 9% threshold. If your UC-recalculated weighted-capped GPA exceeds the threshold, you are “eligible in local context”, which typically means that if you do not get into any UC that you apply to, you may be offered admission to a UC where there is space available (typically UC Merced). ELC is also noted in your application and may influence admission readers.

In general, UC admission reading does not explicitly compare students from the same high school; admission readers give a single score after reading (two admission readers per application; if their scores differ by too much, a senior reader also reads it).

However, after applications are ranked/batched by reading scores for final determination of admission results, applicants at the margins may be compared against others from the same high schools to get to a consistent admission result within a high school. I.e. an applicant at the margin may move from deny to spring admission or spring admission to fall admission if academically weaker applicants were admitted from the same high school. (see Hout report)


This is very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

I didn’t know some of these details about the process. I can’t say that it eases my mind as we await results this year, but I am happy to have a little more understanding of what is happening on the UC end.

A couple of links you might find interesting

Here you can find aps, admits and GPA for each UC and CA high school

a higher level look at aps, admits and GPA by UC.

Enjoy and good luck

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Does anyone know if the UC publishes how many students annually qualify for ELC designation amongst applicants?

Thanks for sharing this! I love this sort of data. It’s really interesting to see how kids from S21’s HS have fared in the past, and which schools they’re applying to.

I’m kind of bummed to read earlier in this thread that they don’t compare kids from the same HS in the initial reading; I thought I had read somewhere else that they did (which would bode very well for my son, he’s 7th in a class of 850).

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I’m not sure if this has been mentioned elsewhere but D22 was told yesterday in UCLA admissions presentation that all UCs will be test blind starting in 2022 - a new policy.

Each of the UCs post a list of the things they consider when evaluating an ap. They vary a little but, this one from Davis is pretty representative. You will notice item 6
Quality of your academic performance relative to the educational opportunities available in your high school.

  1. Academic accomplishments in light of your life experiences and special circumstances, including but not limited to: disabilities, low family income, first generation to attend college, need to work, disadvantaged social or educational environment, difficult personal and family situations or circumstances, refugee status or veteran status.
  2. Location of your secondary school and residence.

so, how competitive your school is is kinda… considered.


This is very helpful to know, thank you!

I guess school competitiveness is a factor that is considered then. My school tends to have many students graduate with the title of valedictorian (4.0 GPA UW) but we only get around 3-5 acceptances to UCLA/Berkeley.

Is it easy to get a 4.0UW at your school or do you have a high achieving population?

It’s easy to get a 4.0 UW if you take the nonhonors/non AP courses at my school, but I guess the few high achieving 4.0 students are the ones that receive admissions to T-20 UC’s.

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Would this just mean that the UC’s review how difficult the student’s course load was in comparison to the courses offered by the school?

How big is your class?

I have close to 400 kids in my class alone

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@ucbalumnus How does it work with non-california high school?

Eligibility in Local Context is not available for those from non-California high schools.

In addition, only AP, IB, and college courses are eligible for honors points in GPA recalculation, since UC does not evaluate other high school honors courses for honors points eligibility for non-California high schools (except for a few distance programs – see University of California A-G Course List ).

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@ucbalumnus thank you.