top of page

UC Updates

What's new at the University of California campuses?

I attended the 2019 annual college counselors conference put on by all nine of the UC undergraduate campuses. I picked up on some new trends, new information, and insight into the application process.

University of California logo

The UCs continue to increase the number of California residents offered admission. The first large increase started in 2016 due to concerns over the percentage of out of state and international students compared with California residents. Many of that initial group of students is graduating in 2020, which will make room for more freshmen enrollment at most schools.

More and more students are deciding to attend the UC after getting accepted. This is called yield, the rate at which students offered acceptance decide to enroll at a particular school.


As yield rates increase, the UC are changing their tactics and are relying more on offering "waitlist" positions to applicants. The colleges use the waitlist to fill in their open seats after the May 1 decision date. This is called enrollment management.

The Decision Date of May 1, is when a student decides to accept an offer of admission and submits a deposit to the school of choice. At this time students file a Statement of Intent to Register ("SIR"). If a student has been placed on the waitlist by another school, they must accept a position on the waitlist. If they are later offered admission off the waitlist by that other school, then they must comply with the specific UC requirements and deadlines, and make a deposit to the new school Notes, students will lose their deposit to the first school.

Students must cancel their initial acceptance at the first school (SIR) when they accept a waitlist position. Any students with more than one SIR may have their admission rescinded.

Application Redesign

The UC re-designed the application to include simpler, straight-forward language, and easier navigation for students. The biggest change is in the activities and awards section. Previously students were given only 150 characters to describe their activities and awards. Now students have two sections of 500 characters each. The first section is to describe that activity or award (don't use acronyms, not everyone knows what they stand for), and the second is to describe what the student did. These changes give admissions officers a better understanding about what the student has been doing and the roles they have played.

Pro Tip: Fill out the activities and award section before starting the Personal Insight Questions, it may be helpful in figuring out what to write about!

Changes in the A-G for 2019-2020 courses

In order to meet the UC minimum course requirements, students have to take and have passed a series of courses called the a-g requirements. A History, 2 years; B English, 4 years; C Math, 3 years; D Lab Science, 2 years; E Language other than English, 2 years of same language; F Visual and performing Arts, 1 year course or 2 semesters in same discipline; G Other College Preparatory Elective, I year.

For courses taken during 2019-2020:

AP Computer Science is officially an Area C Math course

AP Computer Science Principles is officially considered an Area D (Lab science)

SAT and ACT with Writing Requirement

The UC still require that students take either the SAT or ACT with writing as part of the requirements. The UC say that they are currently studying whether to continue requiring the writing section, but no action has been taken.

Pro Tip:

Current juniors and seniors: take the essay section, it is still required for enrollment.


Several UCs have opened new dorms which they hope will relieve crowding at some campuses. New dorms were opened at: UC San Diego (fall 2020), UC Irvine (2 year guaranteed housing for freshmen and transfer students), UC Riverside, UC Merced (now 2-year on-campus residence requirement).

New Majors Offered and Facilities Opening

  • UC San Diego is opening a new college in Fall 2020 dedicated to providing perspectives on a changing planet.

  • UCSD: Anthopology, Biological Anthropology, Education Science, Human Development, Latin American Studies

  • UC Irvine: Psychology BS, Environmental Science and Policy BA

  • UC Irvine continues to expand ESports offerings. New scholarship for Super Smash Brothers

  • UCLA Music Composition, Data Theory

  • UCLA new minor: Ethno-musicology, Professional Writing

  • UC Merced: New Center for Biological Sciences, and new wet/dray labs facility

  • UC Merced: Economics BS, changed Earth Science to Environmental Systems Science

  • UC Davis: Applied Chemistry, opening new research facility

  • UC Davis: New 5 day freshman orientation to transition to college

Appeals on Admissions Decisions

The UC each noted that very few if any appeals are usually granted. Last year the few appeals that were granted were based on new and compelling information, or substantial mistakes in entering courses and grades

Next blog topic: Personal Insight Questions

Remember, the UC application can be started anytime after Aug. 1. The application submission window is Nov. 1- Nov. 30.

40 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page