How Good Do You Have To Be To Actually Get Into the UC System

How hard is it to actually get into the University of California system? I don’t mean the minimum requirements but the GPA that gives you a chance of being selected (by merit not legalised discrimnation which I won’t get anyways since I’m Asian and there already are too many Asians according to the Affirmative Actionists in the UC system) ?

DISCLAIMER: The facts in the brackets is not meant to make a political statement and only done so that people will not say that I can get into the UC system through affirmative action.

Didn’t Prop 209 make consideration of race for the purposes of admissions to public universities illegal under California law?

Here’s some 2009 data on UC admitted freshmen.

Here’s an intro page on admissions statistics.

Um, as Rumor_Watkins noted, the UC system, in notable contrast to many other American colleges, does not employ affirmative action.

In case you care about the statistics, at the flagship school in Berkeley, 42% of the undergraduate population is Asian-American; it would be odd to take this as evidence that you’d have difficulty getting in as an Asian.

The UC system contains 10 universities, each with their own admission standards. It also depends whether you are an instate or out of state resident.

I see there’s also a Statfinder, apparently a searchable database for admissions statistics.

What does UW stand for in the statistics?

I don’t know where you see UW. I assume that you’ve looked at the abbreviations key for the stats you are looking at. Did you try searching the UC website for UW? You could also try googling UW with other words to give context.

From the first of the links you provided.

EDIT: University Wide (Facepalms self)

UW might stand for University-wide (i.e., applies to all UC campuses). But you should check that.

Edit: oops. you’re faster than me.

Note that while your GPA, SAT and other quantitative factors do matter for admissions, the bits that you can’t keep statistics on–letters of recommendation, essays, extracurriculars–are also very important. So don’t get too hung up on the numbers.

I don’t know about California, but in most of the places I’m aware of it’s almost impossible not to get into some sort of state school. I mean, here in South Carolina USC takes anybody with a heartbeat and a checkbook, and we’ve just got the one state university. (There are other publicly funded schools that will definitely take your ass if even USC doesn’t want it, I think.) So while Berkeley might have a couple standards, I doubt UC Buttfuck does. That’s what state universities are for.

Here’s an article about new UC admissions policies that have angered many Asian-Americans, who see it as an effort to decrease their numbers.

The UC system is quite competitive at most campuses. UC Riverside has the highest acceptance rate at 84%, UC Santa Cruz comes in at 79% so they are pretty open to all applicants. UCLA and Berkeley are around 24%.

There’s a parallel state college system called California State University with 23 more campuses that has generally higher acceptance rates.

I went to UC Santa Cruz and had work study in the admissions office. I sent out a lot of rejection letters - most of them were because the students applying had not fulfilled the prerequisites for admission. The UC has - or had, when I was applying to college eleven years ago - a lot more prerequisites than any other university I knew about. And I got a zillion brochures from other schools. For instance, most universities required 2 years of high school college prep math; the UC required 3 years and recommended 4. Most universities didn’t require any foreign language study; the UC required 2 years. The UC had pretty stringent science requirements - of chemistry, physics, and biology, you had to have taken at least two, and you needed at least three years of high school science. (This almost screwed me up, actually. I knew I had to have three years of science, but thought that my marine biology in 11th grade would be okay. Nope. I ended up having to take chemistry in 12th grade to meet the requirement, despite already having three years of college prep science.)


If you go to a high school in California, it’s pretty easy to keep up with these requirements because they’re well-known and your counselor should keep you in check with them if you have college ambitions. But plenty of smart kids from other states end up not getting admitted because they weren’t aware of these requirements before they decided they wanted to go to the UC and then it’s too late. And then they apply anyway, and work study kids have to send them rejection letters.

Also, there is always the route of first going to a community college for a few years, then seek admission to UC. That’s almost a fool-proof approach if you can do very well at the community college. Note that about 20% of the UC Berkeley students and 30% of the UCLA students are community college transfers. That’s the ticket to the high demand campuses. And when you graduate your diploma won’t look one iota different from a non-transfer student.

I’m currently a student in the UC system. Here I’m using circumstantial observations, so take my comments with a grain of salt.
First, I’d like to echo what Kyla said: if you don’t meet the minimum course requirements, you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. I’ve had classmates that were rejected from the lower-performing campuses because they didn’t fulfill the fine arts requirement, but successfully petitioned for a waiver at my campus.
As far as GPA and extracurriculars are concerned: it varies. There’s a generally accepted pecking order of the rigorousness of the different campuses. I’ve had friends that were rejected outright at the less rigorous ones, but accepted with scholarship to the more elite ones; each campus has their own admissions staff with their respective idiosyncrasies and varying levels of caffeination.
Finally, it is in my personal opinion that the admissions staff is overburdened with an overload of applications, and consequently spend less time on each individual application relative to a school with a more well funded office. Thus, I don’t actually believe that your personal statement is actually read that carefully (if at all), and that your test scores and GPA are the primary deciding factors. This is my personal opinion based on circumstantial evidence, and should not be taken as an indication to submit a poor application with limited extra-curriculars and a poorly worded personal statement. As far as the “minimum GPA needed”, I think you should take a look at the official admissions statistics to see the ballpark figure.

ETA: I also think that the requirements are a little more rigorous for out-of-staters than for Californians; take that into consideration.

Your level of debt will be very different though!