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UC/CSU Admissions Requirements

Students apply to the University of California (UCs),and California State University (CSUs) during the fall of their senior year.  Eligibility is determined by meeting the following requirements.

Grades

Grades earned in high school are one of the most important factors in admissions decisions. A student's high school grade point average is calculated using grades in all A-G classes completed after the 9th grade. For admission into the UC system, students must have a grade point average (GPA)of 3.0 or better. For admission into the CSU system, students must have a GPA of 2.0 or better.

A student's high school GPA is calculated using grades earned in all of their college preparatory A-G classes completed after the 9th grade.

Subject Requirements: A-G 

A-G are 15 year-long college preparatory courses established by the University of California (UC). These are the minimum required courses students must take during high school in order to be eligible to apply to UCs/CSUs. Students must complete these courses with a C or better, and complete 11 of them by the end of the 11th grade.

A-G Requirements Defined

 

Subject

Required

Recommended

Example Course Titles

A

Social Sciences

2 years

 

Modern World, US History

B

English

4 years*

 

English 9, English 10, American Literature, European Literature

C

Math

3 years**

4 years

Algebra, Geometry, Adv. Algebra, Calculus

D

Lab Sciences

2 years

3 years

Biology, Chemistry, Physics

E

Foreign Language

2 years

3 years

Two years of the same language, other than English

F

Visual and Performing Arts

1 year

 

Music, Drama, Art, Ceramics, Architecture

G

College Prep Elective

1 year/2 semesters

 

Psychology, Probability and Statistics,

*English

One year of Advanced English Development either ELD 5 & 6 or ELD 7 & 8 is considered for the B requirement, but not both.

**Math

Students who have successfully completed Algebra in 8th grade  with a C or better (including passing the Algebra CST score with a 4 or 5) will still need to complete a minimum of 2 years of Math in high School.

Test Scores: ACT/SAT

UC: ACT plus Writing -or- SAT Reasoning
Students meet the examination requirement by taking the ACT Plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test by December of a student's senior year. Students are not required to take SAT Subject Tests, but certain programs on some campuses recommend them for certain majors. Students can use subject tests to satisfy the A-G requirements listed here.  UC uses the highest combined score from a single sitting of the ACT plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test.
CSU: ACT -or- SAT Reasoning
Test scores are required for students unless they have a grade point average above 3.0 for residents of California and 3.61 for nonresidents.  The CSU uses a calculation called an eligibility index that combines the student's high school grade point average with the score they earn on either the SAT or ACT tests. Even if students have a GPA above 3.0, it is useful to take either an SAT or ACT as the score may indicate if you do not need to take English and math placement tests after you are admitted and before you enroll at the CSU.  CSU combines best critical reading and math scores from multiple sittings of SAT, and may combine best subscores from multiple ACT tests to calculate a best composite.

Personal Statement: UC only

The personal statement enables Admissions to see the student as an individual through their experiences and accomplishments and a student response to two short-answer prompts. Each response may be as long as necessary, as long as the total word count for both responses falls within the 1,000 word limit.

Prompt 1

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.

Prompt 2

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?

TIPS

Do:
  • Read the instructions!
  • Write it yourself.
  • Write it about yourself.
  • Provide any relevant information about yourself that you don’t think is captured elsewhere in the application.
  • Write about experiences, accomplishments, etc. that occurred during or after high school.
  • Provide specific examples of your accomplishments or activities in which you’ve participated.
  • Keep your statement focused.
  • Have your statement checked by a teacher, counselor or other adviser for spelling, grammar and clarity.
Common Mistakes
  • Not reading the instructions in the application.
  • Not writing about recent events.
  • Reiterating information listed elsewhere in the application.
  • Listing accomplishments without explanation or detail.
  • Using gimmicky writing techniques, such as poems.
  • Rambling, unfocused thoughts.
  • Being overly humorous, self-deprecating or glorifying.

Resources

ACT
SAT
CSU
UC