Regents Policy 2102: Policy on Undergraduate Admissions

Adopted May 20, 1988
Amended July 21, 2022


The undergraduate admissions policy of the University of California is guided by the University's commitment to serve the people of California and the needs of the state, within the framework of the California Master Plan for Higher Education.

The Regents authorize and instruct the administration of the University to administer admissions policy in such a manner as to enroll the largest possible number of qualified students consistent with the maintenance of the quality of instruction.

The entrance requirements established by the University follow the guidelines set forth in the Master Plan, which requires that the top one-eighth of the state's high school graduates, as well as those transfer students who have successfully completed specified college work, be eligible for admission to the University of California. These requirements are designed to ensure that all eligible students are adequately prepared for University-level work.

Mindful of its mission as a public institution, the University of California has an historic commitment to provide places within the University for all eligible applicants who are residents of California. The University seeks to enroll, on each of its campuses, a student body that, beyond meeting the University's eligibility requirements, demonstrates high academic achievement or exceptional personal talent, and that encompasses the broad diversity of cultural, racial, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds characteristic of California.

Because applicant pools differ among the campuses of the University, each campus shall establish procedures for the selection of applicants to be admitted from its pool of eligible candidates. Such procedures shall be consistent with the principles stated above and with other applicable University policies.

I. Guidance

A. All Undergraduates

1. Comprehensive Review: Campuses shall institute a comprehensive review process by which students applying to the University are evaluated for admission using multiple measures of achievement and promise while considering the context in which each student has demonstrated academic accomplishment.

Comprehensive review shall be used fairly, and shall comply with applicable state and federal law. The Regents expect the Office of the President, in consultation with the Academic Senate, to exercise leadership in the realization of best practices in undergraduate admissions.

Each campus shall establish a comprehensive review process in accordance with Comprehensive Review Guiding Principles defined in the Guidelines for Implementation of University Policy on Undergraduate Admission, but practices may vary in terms of how campuses implement each of these main elements.

University of California campuses must remain committed to recruiting students from the full range of California high schools, community colleges, and regions in order to achieve the University's educational mission for California.

2. Holistic Review: A holistic approach is one implementation of Comprehensive Review. In a holistic review, a trained application reader produces a score based on a thorough evaluation of all the information and achievements in the applicant's file in relation to opportunities and challenges present. No single factor is given a fixed weight and applicants' academic and personal achievements are balanced with other pertinent qualifications in the context of the resources and opportunities available to them.

The Regents direct the President, in consultation with the Academic Senate and campus admissions professionals, to ensure that all applicants receive such an individualized holistic review, while allowing flexibility for campuses to demonstrate that alternate approaches employed by campuses are equally effective in achieving campus and University goals based on the campus's level of selectivity, demand and capacity.

B. First-Year Students

1. Academic Achievement and Preparation: First-year applicants will be required to complete a minimum of 15 high school year-long courses to be taken during grades 9 through 12. These fifteen must be academic or college preparatory courses approved by the University and consisting of courses in a) history/social science (2 courses); b) English (4 courses); c) mathematics (3 courses including elementary algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra); d) laboratory science (2 courses to be taken from two disciplines); e) foreign language (2 courses); f) visual and performing arts (1 course); and g) college preparatory elective courses (1 course, to be chosen from the fields listed above).

Eleven academic or college preparatory courses must be completed by the end of the 11th grade. At least seven must be taken during the last two years of high school.

The minimum grade point average required for resident students is 3.0 and 3.4 for nonresident applicants (weighted up to 8 semester honors courses) or its equivalent for alternative grading scales.

All first-year resident applicants who meet these criteria will be entitled to a comprehensive review of their admission application at each UC campus to which they apply, but will not be guaranteed admission to any UC campus unless they meet the conditions to be Eligible in the Statewide context or Eligible in the Local Context, as defined in Paragraph B(3) below.

2. Test Scores: 

a. Scores from the SAT/ACT shall not be used as part of the University's comprehensive review process described above. (Effective beginning fall 2021 admission.)

b. Approval of future standardized tests for admissions and scholarships shall be determined by the Academic Senate through its Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools and approved by the Regents. The minimum scores acceptable shall be determined by the Academic Senate through its Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS).

3. Eligible in the Statewide Context and Eligible in the Local Context: UC is committed to ensuring enrollment opportunities for all qualified California high school graduates.

-The top nine percent of California high school graduates will be determined as Eligible in the Statewide Context by criteria set by the Academic Senate.

-The top nine percent of California high school graduates in each participating high school will be identified as Eligible in the Local Context (ELC).

-First-year applicants deemed Eligible in the Statewide Context or Eligible in the Local Context who are not admitted to any campus where they apply will be offered the opportunity to enroll at a UC campus with available space.

Students identified as Eligible in the Statewide Context or Eligible in the Local Context shall complete the University's course requirements with the minimum GPA listed above by the end of their senior year in high school to be deemed fully eligible to enroll.

C. Advanced Standing (Transfer) Students

1. Academic Achievement and Preparation: Advanced Standing applicants are required to complete a minimum set of transferable courses as specified by the Academic Senate. The minimum grade point average in UC-transferable college courses is 2.4 for residents and 2.8 for nonresidents.

2. California Community College Transfers: Under the framework of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, campuses will give priority consideration to California community college students applying for admission with advanced standing juniors who have completed a minimum of 60 semester (90 quarter) units of transferable college course work.

D. Undergraduate Admissions by Exception to Eligibility: Campuses have the flexibility to admit a small proportion of California students by exception to the Academic Achievement and Preparation requirements listed above in section B(1) in order to achieve the policy goals of the Regents, as detailed in the Guidelines for Implementation of University Policy on Admission by Exception for California Residents.

The proportion of students admitted by exception shall be up to 6 percent of newly enrolled freshmen and up to 6 percent of newly enrolled advanced standing students at each campus. Within the 6 percent designations, up to 4 percent may be drawn from disadvantaged students and up to 2 percent from other students. Disadvantaged students shall be defined as students from low socio-economic backgrounds or students having experienced limited educational opportunities.

Students admitted by exception to the eligibility requirements must demonstrate a reasonable potential for success at the University. In evaluating the academic and personal background of candidates for admission by exception, it is recommended that campuses utilize a combination of the Comprehensive Review criteria as outlined in the Guidelines for Implementation of University Policy on Undergraduate Admissions.

E. Admission of Nonresident Undergraduate Students: To the fullest extent possible, campuses should employ the same criteria for the admissibility of nonresident students as those employed for resident students.

Grade Point Average for nonresident admits should be comparable to resident admits when available and applicable with a minimum 3.4 GPA. Overall, the high school curriculum for nonresident admits should be commensurate with resident admits.

The campus Academic Senate admissions committee shall work with the local campus administration and, if needed, BOARS and systemwide administration, to ensure that admitted nonresident undergraduate students compare favorably to admitted California resident undergraduate students at the same campus.

F. Academic Verification: The academic verification process is designed to ensure the integrity of the University's admissions process by verifying the credentials of the students it admits. The academic verification process will be used for no other purpose than confirming the qualifications of new students for admission to the University regardless of whether a campus anticipates meeting its undergraduate enrollment target for any given term.

As detailed in the Guidelines for Implementation of University Policy on Academic Verification, campuses will formally notify all new students multiple times that their admission may be withdrawn if they do not submit all necessary documents to confirm their academic qualifications for admission. In addition, all campuses must provide an appeal process for any student whose admission has been withdrawn for non-receipt of official documents.

II. Governance

A. Prohibition of Preferential Treatment: The University of California does not provide preferential treatment in admission on the basis of an applicant's relationship to University alumni or donors. University of California campuses may not consider an applicant's affiliation(s) with alumni, donors, staff, faculty, or other employees of the University during the admission process.

B. Prohibition of Interference: Per Regents policies 2201 and 2202, individual Regents, elected officials or other parties motivated by concerns for financial, political or other such benefit to the University do not have a place in the admissions process and must not attempt to influence admissions decisions.

C. Reporting: The Academic Senate, through its Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS), will review and report annually on the Comprehensive Review policies; and based on the results of these reports, the Academic Senate should periodically consider recommending adjustments to the eligibility policy.

Subject to approval by the Board, the Academic Senate determines the conditions for admission. The President of the University, through the systemwide Provost, implements admission policy.

This policy is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the University of California or its Board of Regents, individual Regents, officers, employees, or agents.

Guidelines for Implementation of University Policy on Undergraduate Admissions

Guidelines for Implementation of University Policy on Admissions by Exception for California Residents

Changes to procedures and related documents do not require Regents approval, and inclusion or amendment of references to these documents can be implemented administratively by the Office of the Secretary and Chief of Staff upon request by the unit responsible for the linked documents. 

Related Resources

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