UC Statewide Guarantee for top 9% of CA high school students

I’d like to find out more about where students ended up who qualified as top 9% of CA high school students IF they didn’t get accepted to any of the campuses that they chose to apply to. If you qualified for the admissions guarantee but didn’t get in to your chosen campus, where were you offered admission? Were you offered admission to more than one alternate campus? Or is there anyone who was top 9% but ended up without being offered a spot? I noticed that they put a caveat on it saying, “if space is available.” Also, what major did you apply for?

The older kids I know were offered UC Merced only.

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A few years ago, UCR also offered some spots and even though International students do not qualify for ELC, they were offered spots at UCSC at one point. The last couple of years, ELC eligible students were referred to UC Merced if there was room available. There used to be the # referred on the UC Merced website but I have been unable to find it these last 2 years.

Check this post from last year: Sounds like Merced is sending out invitations to UC applicants who are ELC (top 9% of your school; you’ll see a note about it in your UC Application) or Statewide Eligible (see the UC system’s Statewide guarantee page for an explanation of how the top 9% is calculated) to apply for free and receive guaranteed admission to the campus. Based on the program FAQ, this appears to be a separate recruitment effort by Merced to attract the interest of qualified applicants (I suspect the earlier effort will put them in better position for students to consider as a prospective college). It’s unclear to me at the moment whether this program is in addition to the Count Me In program (invitations for the “referral pool,” which is composed of ELC and Statewide Eligible students who were not admitted to any of the UC campuses to which they applied, to apply for free and receive guaranteed admission at Merced) or replacing it (I’m guessing in addition). If you receive an invitation, be proud of this recognition and decide whether you want to add Merced to the list of colleges you will consider attending. Your decision won’t affect how you are being evaluated at other UC campuses. If Merced is a campus you are considering but have not applied to in November, do so now if you have an invitation instead of waiting for the Count Me In program (in the past several years, Merced seemed to have only sent out invitations to selected students in the referral pool, rather than the entire pool, which is allowed when there is space limitation).

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So my D21 was told before school started this year by her counselor that she made the cut off but we did not receive any official email or letter. Can someone confirm how you find out.

It is listed on your UC application.

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ELC local eligibility through the HS is listed on the UC application. ELC statewide is not and you can read about the calculation to determine here:


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When my S21 submitted his UC application, a pop-up box appeared that said something to the effect of “congratulations, you are among the top 9% of CA high school students…” so that was how we know he qualified through the statewide guarantee. We then looked at how the calculation is done using the GPA and ACT/SAT test score (see the link gumbymom provided) and confirmed. If they didn’t submit a test score then they probably aren’t able to do the calculation to be selected. I don’t know how they determine local eligibility through HS.

I know ELC for highschool is being used as one of the admission factors to the UCs. But just out of curiosity, is there a difference between the top 9% at school and the top 9% at state?

Here is the explanation on how the 2 different ELC’s are determined. That said, the ELC guarantee and application review will be the same but each UC campus will weight the criteria differently and that is not disclosed.



Yes. While my son qualifies for state, he likely does not qualify for school. He’s at a very small school and top 9% may only be 3 or 4 students. Also, it sounds like the school cutoff is based on a GPA benchmark. His GPA is lower than they like to see due to learning disabilities, but he has a 35 ACT which allows him to qualify for the state cutoff. In any other year, he would have a good shot to get in to one of the campuses he applied to since his test score would demonstrate his aptitude and help compensate for his GPA. Because of the test blind policy this year, I am afraid he will not get in because of the greater emphasis on GPA and he will only be offered the guarantee, if available. From the sound of things it appears that may be Merced only. The test blind policy is really hurting him. :slightly_frowning_face:

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I hear you, I think my son would have benefitted from his 1460 SAT score as well. I’m guessing that ELC may still help us both. Many of the campuses (perhaps all?) use ELC in their admissions review so it’s possible that the ACT score will indirectly help. Good luck to your son.

And for what its worth test blind was not fair…UC should have been test optional which is what they wanted to do

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Even before COVID-19, UCs were de-emphasizing the weight of SAT/ACT scores (based on previous research on their relatively weak predictive value on college success. A common source of “UC disappointment” in past years was assuming that a high SAT/ACT score would compensate for a lower GPA in UC admission, resulting in overreaching.

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Good point - hopefully there will be some small benefit from that.

I agree, it should have been test optional like hundreds of other schools. One could make an argument for any of the metrics that shouldn’t count this year due to Covid - some schools went to P/NP grading, so why not eliminate the GPA because it’s unfair to them? Many kids couldn’t continue their sports or ECs when everything shut down, so maybe they should exclude the ECs. Jobs and internships ended so maybe work experience should be excluded. Why single out one metric of test scores as being unfair? In this upside-down year, let everyone have the option and they can take it all into consideration. But unfortunately somebody had to file a lawsuit and got a judge to rule in their favor on this one.

Good luck to your son as well.


Yes, I realize they were trying to find a reason to get rid of the test scores in admissions for a while now, but Covid hastened it. Faculty Senate felt testing should remain, but trustees voted against it anyway. I never heard anything about “disappointment” as you mention, just that some believed scores showed bias. Don’t think you can generalize that to all students with high scores though.

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are there any other factors that go into ELC outside of GPA? I should qualify (friends who’ve gotten GPAs lower than I do in uw, capped, and uncapped have qualified) but it doesn’t show up in my portal. I suspect the reason is because I’m an international student going to a Californian public hs but I’m really worried that it might not be.

If you applied as an International student, You would not be eligible for ELC since you have to be a CA resident.

Unfortunately, my son was rejected from all the UC’s he applied to. How would he find out what he’s eligible for under the Statewide Guarantee? There is nothing in the portal about it, though he got the pop up notice that said he qualified when he submitted his application. Will he be notified by somebody?

All UC says about the Statewide Guarantee is at Statewide guarantee | UC Admissions .

So what does that mean?? Is there no statewide guarantee this year, despite him getting the message that he qualified when he submitted his application?

It’s just a way that UC fills empty beds/spots. If there is space at UC Merced they may invite him to attend.