UC Eligible in Local Context

Hi! My daughter received the UC ELC letter this Spring, and I’m wondering if this “Top 9%” designation usually coincides with top 9% of class ranking? Her school doesn’t rank students until senior year, but I’m trying to get a sense of where she is ranked. I know the UC’s don’t look at class rankings, but I think it will give me an idea of how competitive she is. This whole application process has me way more stressed than her. :roll_eyes:

No, the ELC eligibility is calculated differently than how a HS would rank an applicant. The criteria for ELC designation is listed below. ELC is one of the 13 areas of criteria that the UC’s in their application review.

To be designated as ELC, a student must have attended an eligible, participating California high school, satisfactorily completed a specific pattern of 11 UC-approved courses prior to the start of senior year, and have a UC-calculated GPA that meets or exceeds the top 9 percent GPA benchmark established by UC for their school. To maintain the ELC status, the student must satisfy the general admissions requirements including the successful completion of the 15 required “A-G” courses and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Here is the list of the 13 areas of criteria which the UC’s will use and weight at varying degrees in their application review. Intended major can significantly impact any applicants chances at the UC’s especially if it is a Capped/Impacted major.


GPA is still one of the most Important areas along the PIQ’s and HS course rigor in the application review. My advice is to apply broadly and if ELC eligible then UC Merced (which has been the designated referral campus) can be considered a Safety.


2021 UC Capped Weighted admit rates not Major Specific.

Campus 4.20+ 3.80-4.19 3.40-3.79 3.00-3.39
Berkeley 30% 11% 2% 1%
Davis 85% 55% 23% 10%
Irvine 60% 31% 14% 1%
Los Angeles 29% 6% 1% 0%
Merced 97% 98% 96% 89%
Riverside 97% 92% 62% 23%
San Diego 75% 35% 5% 1%
Santa Barbara 73% 28% 4% 1%
Santa Cruz 91% 81% 46% 9%

There will be some correlation, but the “top 9%” for UC ELC is generally not calculated the same way that high schools determine class rank.

Basically, every few years, a high school sends the course and grade records to UC, which does the UC GPA recalculation on them and finds the top 9% cutoff. Until this is done again, the “top 9%” for UC ELC is based on the student’s UC recalculated GPA meeting that cutoff. In other words, the student is not competing against others in the same class for rank, like is the case with typical high school class ranking methods (which may also use the high school’s own GPA calculation, rather than the UC GPA recalculation).

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I find it a bit confusing as well. My son received UC ELC. He’s 7th in his small high school class of 63 some students. While UC ELC eligibility won’t tell you exact class rank, I would infer that your daughter is high in relation to her peers, top decile of her class-ish.

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So this chart would imply that ELC raises your chances of being admitted to any UC? Does this mean that, 75% of those with a UC capped weighted gpa of over 4.20 got into UCSD? My girl is a great student, but has social anxiety and has very little in the way of traditional leadership. I have posted about this before, and it worries me constantly. I definitely gently nudge her to do more, but I don’t want to push.

That’s what I was thinking as well, but every time I think I understand this process, I’m wrong. You’re lucky you know your son’s ranking. We have no idea.

That makes sense!

The chart that I posted has nothing to do with ELC eligibility, however ELC is one of the 13 areas of criteria that is considered under the UC application review so it is a Positive for an applicant. The chart I posted is an overall admit rate based on the Capped Weighted UC GPA (Rogerhub link I posted) so there is no breakout by major or residency. Highly impacted/capped majors such as Engineering/CS/Biological Sciences etc… will have much lower admit rates. The table is just a guide to help on formulating a realistic list.

Identification by UC as being ranked in the top 9 percent of your high school class at the end of your junior year (Eligible in the Local Context, or ELC).

According to the UCOP data summary, 75% of the admitted applicants to UCSD had a Capped weighted UC GPA of 4.2 or higher. For UCSD specifically the 25th-75th percentile for the Capped weighted UC GPA for admitted students was 4.07-4.29 for 2021.

For 2021, UCSD had 118,383 applicants. Having a 4.2+ Capped weighted GPA makes you competitive but does not guarantee admission.

This admission cycle, there were several CC posters that were ELC eligible that did not get admitted into any UC of their choice and were referred to UC Merced. Some accepted the referral and some did not.

Yes, for that year. It may differ in the future, and may differ across various majors.

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Thank you so much…
I wish there was a list of acceptance rates by major. I found one that was for transfer students, but not for freshman. My daughter could go as Environmental Science, Conservation, or even Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She isn’t sure, so I would urge her to select the lowest enrolled major if I had that info.

For the UC’s, it really depends upon where the intended major resides since the UC’s that do not admit by major in the College of Letters and Sciences but will admit by major for the College of Engineering.

Here major admission information for the UC’s::

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. 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. Please note that CS in the College of L&S will have admission changes which may be a direct admit.

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.

Alternate majors not considered. Exception are GMP applicants which may be considered for an alternate major.

Admission decisions are made based upon the qualifications of the applicant pool and the number of available spaces within each academic area:
• College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences admits by college
• College of Biological Sciences admits by college
• College of Letters and Science admits by College but within specific academic departments: ie. (Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies; Mathematics and Physical Sciences; Social Sciences)
• College of Engineering admits by academic department

Students applying as “undeclared” or “undeclared/exploratory” are considered within the college/academic department to which they applied.

Applicants are encouraged to list an alternate major, but not in the
same area as the primary major (e.g., Computer Science Engineering with alternate Computer Science in the College of L&S). Occasionally, UCD admits to the alternate major.

UCI admits into the University first and then into the major. In the case that UCI is unable to accommodate all qualified applicants in their first-choice major, those students who indicate a valid alternate major may be offered admission in that major or Undeclared.

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.

UCLA only guarantees review of an applicant’s first-choice major.
UCLA typically does not admit to the alternate major

The campus does not admit students on the basis of academic major or choice of UC San Diego undergraduate college. UCSD admits into the University first then into the major. Alternate majors are considered and capped majors are highly competitive. Also note: Capped majors require additional pre-req courses and specific GPA to be able to qualify if changing majors. Also if applying to a capped major, select an non-capped major as an alternate.

College of Letters and Sciences: Choice of major is not considered in selection to the College of Letters and Science. The exceptions to this rule are dance and music performance majors. Both majors require applicants to complete an audition in late January or early February.

College of Engineering: Students are selected by major for all engineering and computer science majors. Only applicants with a solid background in advanced high school mathematics will be considered for admission to engineering. This includes high grades in all math courses through grade 11 and enrollment in pre-calculus or higher in grade 12. A student not selected for their first choice major will be reviewed for admission to an alternate major outside of the College of Engineering if one was selected.

College of Creative Studies:
Applicants to the College of Creative Studies submit a supplementary application in addition to the general UC Application, which is reviewed by Creative Studies faculty. Students are selected within Creative Studies majors only. Applicants not selected for Creative Studies will automatically be considered for admission to the College of Letters and Science.

Important Note for Prospective Engineering Students: Choice of major does not influence the selection of first-year students, except for those applicants interested in a major offered by the Jack Baskin School of Engineering (BSOE).

Freshmen who are interested in a BSOE program should be sure to indicate a BSOE proposed major. Students who do not indicate a BSOE program or who apply as undeclared might not be able to pursue a BSOE program.

Admission by major but alternate/2nd choice major will be considered if applicant does not meet their first choice admission standards.

For Business: Freshmen students must apply to Pre-Business under the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS). The College breadth requirements and the prerequisites for a Business major are completed during the freshman and sophomore years. An application is submitted at the end of the sophomore year. Upon acceptance, students become Business majors and are then advised in the Business Department. Students from any academic major may also complete a Business minor.

Some campuses have acceptance rate by College and GPA ie. UC Berkeley


Linke for UCI: Undergraduate Admissions | Office of Institutional Research | UCI

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So, she is definitely College of Letters and Science. Given that several UC’s do not consider major if applying Letters and Science, does it make sense to go in undeclared if she is unsure at this point? Is there any benefit in going in undeclared/Letters and Science? Any negatives? Thank you so much for your expertise!

A few negatives that I can think of as going in as Undeclared:

  1. Some major specific courses may only be available to students that have declared that major or have first choice in selecting these courses during course registration.

  2. Declaring some majors requires a secondary admission process which means meeting a minimum GPA for certain course requirements and may not be a guarantee even by meeting the eligibility requirements.

Based on your daughters interest I do not think either points would be an issue if she selects Undeclared.

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Thank you, that helps a lot! :slight_smile: