Freshman Admission

Who is a freshman? A freshman applicant is currently in high school or has graduated from high school but has not enrolled in a regular (non-summer) session at a college or university. If you've completed college courses during high school (through summer and after graduation),you're still considered a freshman applicant.

Admission to the University of California is a two-step process:

  1. Requirements: Students must meet the minimum requirements the university has established to ensure incoming students are prepared for university-level work.

  2. Selection: When campuses receive applications from more students than they can admit, as is most often the case, they use factors that go beyond the minimum admission requirements to select students. This process is called comprehensive review.

Freshman admission requirements

You are considered a freshman applicant if you are still in high school or have graduated from high school but have not enrolled in a regular session (i.e., a session other than summer) at any college or university. The minimum requirements for freshman admission include a subject requirement and an examination requirement.

The Subject Requirement specifies the 15 college-preparatory courses you must complete in high school. These courses are also known as the "a-g" subjects. At least 11 of the 15 required courses must be completed prior to the senior year.

For students enrolled in high schools in California, the courses you take to fulfill the Subject Requirement must be certified by the University of California as meeting the requirement and must be included on your school's UC-certified course list.

More details about the subject requirements.

The Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement

The minimum GPA is 3.0 for California applicants and 3.40 for nonresident applicants.

Calculate your GPA by assigning point values to the grades you earned in courses that fir the A-G subject requirements from the summer after 9th grade through the summer after 10th grade totaling the points and dividing the total by the number of "a-g" courses. The university assigns grade points as follows: A=4 points, B=3 points, C=2 points, D=1 point and F=0 points (pluses and minuses are not included).

Only the grades you earn in "a-g" courses in the 10th and 11th grades - including summer sessions - are used to calculate your preliminary GPA. Courses you took in 9th grade can be used to meet the Subject Requirement if you earned a grade of C or better, but they will not be included in your GPA for determining eligibility.

Honors Courses: UC assigns extra points for up to eight semesters of university-certified honors-level, Advanced Placement (AP) courses and some International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, and transferable college courses taken during high school: A=5 points, B=4 points, C=3 points.

  • No more than two yearlong UC-approved honors-level courses taken in the 10th grade may be given extra points.
  • A grade of D or F in an honors course does not earn an extra point.

The courses must be certified as honors courses by the university and must be in the following "a-g" subjects: history/social science, English, advanced mathematics, laboratory science, language other than English and visual and performing arts. In these subjects, as well as in computer science, acceptable honors-level courses include Advanced Placement courses, designated International Baccalaureate courses and college courses that are transferable to the University of California. new windowAcceptable honors courses are listed on your school's UC-certified course list.

D and F Grades: If you have earned a D or F in an "a-g" course, you must repeat the course with a grade of C or better. The original D or F grade will not be included in the GPA calculation, and the new grade will be used. If you repeat a course in which you initially earned a grade of C or better, the second grade will not be used.

The Examination Requirement specifies the college admissions tests you must take.

To satisfy this requirement, submit scores from the following tests:

  • The ACT with writing, the old SAT, or SAT with Essay. The scores you report for each section of the ACT or SAT must be from the same sitting.

The Examination Requirement must be completed no later than December of the senior year.

Test dates for the upcoming year are available here.

For California Residents ONLY:

For the highest-achieving California applicants, there are two paths to UC:

  • Statewide Path - Students rank in the top 9 percent of California students according to the UC admissions index. The formula used to determine if you are in this group uses a combination of your GPA in the UC specific freshman required high school subjects and test scores and is called the new window Admissions Index.

  • Local Path (ELC) - Students are identified by the university at the time of application as being in the top 9 percent of their participating California high school's graduating class.

Because most campuses receive applications from more students than they have space for, meeting the minimum requirements for any of these paths may not be enough to gain admission to the campus of your choice. Students who research and apply to several campuses are more likely to be admitted to a campus they know they want to attend.

Freshman admission requirements for students from other countries (international students)

new windowInformation for international students is available on the University of California website.