Academics, specifically a students GPA, is one of the first things any college representative is going to look at when they receive the application and transcript. Your GPA or Grade Point Average is comprised of all the grades you’ve earned on your high school transcript and averaged together. If you’re high school is on a “4 point system”, then a 4.0 would signify that you’ve earned all A’s in your respective courses.
Along with your GPA goes your Class Rank. Class Rank is loosely described as where you fit in when compared to other students in your graduating class using your GPA. For instance, if you have an overall GPA of 3.75/4.0 and your Class Rank is 50 out of 400 students, that means there are 49 other kids in your graduating class that have a better Grade Point Average than you do. So the higher the GPA you earn, the higher your Class Rank will be. (highest being #1 in your class).
2. Test Scores (ACT/SAT)
Taken during your junior year, the ACT is probably the most important test for college entrance. Most schools work on what is called a “sliding scale” for admission. This basically means that the higher GPA/Class Rank you have, the lower the ACT Composite score you will need to gain admission. And, it works the other way also. The higher the ACT Composite score you earn, the lower the GPA/Class Rank you will be able to get away with and still get admitted. Keep in mind that all colleges differ with regard to how low of a GPA or ACT score you can get and still get accepted.
The average ACT composite score in California is 22 out of 36
The average SAT score is 1500 out of 2400
UC Application Data
Average ACT Score
Average SAT Score
3. Course Rigor
When colleges receive a transcript from you for evaluation, chances are they will want to see what courses you chose to take in college. Did you challenge yourself, or did you take relatively easy courses that you could get an easy A in? Colleges are looking for the students that challenged themselves in high school by taking Honors and/or Advanced Placement courses as opposed to lower level classes. Course rigor is important in demonstrating to your prospective college that you are capable of handling college level work. Those students who earning a high GPA, but didn’t take any challenging courses in high school run the risk of being denied admission based on their weak course selection. It does happen, so take the highest level courses in each subject area that you will get a B or better in. If you cannot earn at least a B, do not take the higher level course.
4. Letters of Recommendation
Admissions officers rely on letters of recommendation to let them know how others view you. Be sure to pick your recommenders wisely. If your recommender doesn't know you that well, it will show through his letter.
5. Personal Statement (College Admissions Essay)
The college admissions essay allows you to show your uniqueness to admissions officers. Counselors look for application essays that are honest and provide supplemental information.
Do not restate the information found on your transcript and application. Instead, write about your desires, your goals, special events in your life, etc.
5. Personal Statement (College Admissions Essay)
Read and follow directions carefully.
Answer all parts of the writing prompt.
Adhere to word count limits.
UC system = 1,000 words for 2 essays
Approximately 750 words for one essay
About 2 typed pages (1 inch margins, double-spaced)
Approximately 250 words for the other essay
About ¾ typed page (1 inch margins, double-spaced)
5. Personal Statement (UC Writing Prompts)
Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
6. Extra Curricular Involvement/Community Service
Being involved outside of the classroom shows good initiative and time management skills. Colleges want to see that well-rounded student, not just top grades and scores. Being a member of a club or sports team is a great choice. But do your best to take it a step further. For instance, if you are a member of Student Council, consider running for an office such as Treasurer, Vice President or even President! The top colleges are looking for leaders, and what better way to show them that you are a leader than by holding office or running a club or activity. If sports is more your thing, strive to be named a team captain. This displays outstanding leadership and colleges love that when its combined with a solid academic background. The UC system is looking for 200+ hours of community service!
7. Work and Entrepreneurial Experiences
Part-time work experience, an internship or summer job, even starting your own business can provide excellent essay material to showcase your maturity, initiative, work ethic as well as interpersonal and time-management skills
8. Other Factors
There are numerous other factors that can play a role in the admissions decision including:
geographical diversity (students from places other than the communities surrounding the college)
legacy (your grandparents or parents attended the same university)
socio- economic background (colleges typically give more financial aid to less fortunate students)
first in family to go to college
ability to overcome adversity (death, single parent home, etc.)
IGETC stands for Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum. It is a general education pattern which community college transfer students can use to fulfill lower-division general education requirements in either the CSU or UC system without the need, after transfer, to take additional lower-division general education requirements.