University of California Admission Changes

The University of California Board of Regents is expected today to approve the most sweeping admission changes to admissions in at least a decade at the nine UC campuses for undergraduates. The new requirements will allow 40% more high school graduates to be eligible for admission to the UC system.

Many high school students are going to be relieved to know that they no longer have to take two SAT Subject Tests. The UC schools were the only public universities in the country that required applicants to take SAT Subject Tests–and these kids generated 30% of all the exams taken. Less than 50 private colleges and universities demand SAT Subject scores.

The new plan will also allow the top 9% of each state high school’s graduating class to be guaranteed a spot at a UC campus instead of the top 4%.

The new rules, which take effect for high school seniors in 2012,  allow the state system more wiggle room in which students are selected from a much wider applicant pool. This has prompted some critics to argue that the new UC admissions rules are intended to skirt the ban that state voters approved in 1996 against affirmative action at state universities.

I think it’s safe to say that right now it’s hard to predict what the dramatic changes in the UC admissions formula will bring.

That seemed to be the assessment of UC regent Judith L. Hopkinson, who had this to say yesterday:

“For students in California, it becomes almost impossible to figure out how they will become eligible.”

Here is a story from the San Francisco Chronicle that talks about the changes.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she is also the college blogger at

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