Preparing freshman applicants

Gaining admission to the UC system requires focused — and early — preparation. Putting students on the right path now will help them avoid surprises later. 

Freshman admission process

Because admission to many UC campuses is extremely competitive, students must fulfill our minimum admission requirements and, in many cases, exceed them by large margins.

Use the navigation bar to the right and the information below to learn more about our admission and application processes and how to best advise your high school students considering postsecondary options at UC.

Helping students apply

Application checklist 

We've worked hard to make the application process as streamlined and easy-to-follow as possible, but we know students may still be intimidated by it. Use these resources to help your students understand the ins-and-outs of the application process. 

Attain minimum requirements

Meet key dates & deadlines

Review available majors

Prepare the personal insight questions

Apply online during the filing period

Pay the application fee(s) or apply for a fee waiver

Know what to do after applying

Suggested advice to students

Apply to more than one UC campus. This will significantly increase their chances of being admitted into the UC system. While they may not get into their first choice, all of our campuses — without exception — provide outstanding opportunities for them to learn and grow.

Do not submit letters of recommendation (unless specifically asked by a campus). Transcripts should only be submitted to the enrolling campus after the coursework has been completed and before July 1 (unless specifically asked by a campus).

Provide accurate information. Accuracy matters! Students must refer to transcripts to complete the academic history section of the application. Please tell them not to work from memory. It's very important that all the information requested be included and is accurate. The information on the self-report will be verified when we receive admitted students' official transcripts.

Spend time on the personal insight questions. The personal insight questions are an important part of the application. They help us get to know students as individuals. Early on in the admissions process, students should review the personal insight questions guidelines and take time to write, revise and thoroughly proofread their answers before adding them to the application. They are welcome to solicit feedback from teachers, family and friends, but the responses must be their own work.

Apply on time. Most campuses do not accept applications after the regular filing period.

Pay the application fee or obtain a fee waiver. The $80 application fee entitles a student to apply to one UC campus. If a student applies to more than one campus, he or she must pay an additional $80 for each campus selected. The online application automatically determines the application fees. These fees are not refundable and are subject to change. We will waive application fees for up to four campuses for students who otherwise would not be able to apply for admission. Students who qualify for fee waivers and who select more than four campuses must pay $80 for each additional choice. To be accepted for the fee waiver program, a student's family income and size must fall within specific guidelines. The fee waiver program is for United States citizens, permanent residents, and applicants eligible for AB540 benefits. Students can apply automatically for a fee waiver within the online application. International and non-immigrant applicants must pay a higher application fee of $95 for each campus selected. Students who currently attend school in the U.S., however, may qualify to pay the lower application fee of $80 per campus.

Submit any additional required materials. Some UC majors require an audition, submission of a portfolio or supplemental application, or recommend specific prerequisite coursework, test scores or GPA.

Explore financial aid and scholarships. We offer a comprehensive financial assistance program for qualified students and a variety of other tools that all families can use to make higher education possible.