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Understanding the University of California’s Eligibility in the Local Context

Becky Leichtling

Written by Becky Leichtlingon May 30th, 2019

I got my start in admissions as an undergrad at Carleton, first as a tour guide and admissions volunteer, then as a senior interviewer of prospective students. As assistant director of admissions at Tufts, I oversaw campus tours and open houses as the outreach coordinator, thus continuing to focus on the prospective student experience and how to make the most of campus visits. In addition to recruiting and reviewing applicants from a geographically diverse territory that included parts of New England, the Midwest, and the Southwest, I served as a regional interview coordinator, varsity athletic liaison, and club sports coach.
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Many academically strong California juniors recently received forms from their high schools asking for permission to share their academic data with the University of California System in order to determine Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC). If you’ve received this form, congratulations! It means you are among the strongest students in your graduating high school class. Using this statewide data it has requested from you and your school, the UC system will identify the top 9% of students statewide, as well as the top 9% within each participating high school. In July, those rising seniors deemed top 9% in either pathway will be notified that they are guaranteed admission to the UC System. Which is wonderful, but there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding surrounding the ELC process, so let’s clarify a few important points.
  1. Qualifying via ELC does not have an impact on your admission chances at the most highly selective campuses, including UCLA or Berkeley. All UC campuses continue to practice holistic and comprehensive admission and remain exceedingly competitive, even for those with ELC.
  1. If you are granted ELC but not admitted to any UC campuses you apply to, you will be assigned a UC campus where there is space. In recent years, this has tended to be the Merced campus.
  1. UC campuses do not compare offers. They don’t talk to each other about their applicants or decisions. They also don’t assume anything about your financial status or your relative interest in one campus or another based on your participation in the ELC consideration process.
For those non-Californians reading this post, check out the minimum requirements for out-of-state applicants to the UC system, as well details on how individual campuses review applications. College-App-Prep-101-CTA


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