California resident admissions paths

We have two paths to UC that recognize and reward the academic accomplishments of the state's best students. Both paths guarantee a spot at UC - though not necessarily to the campus of choice - to top California resident students throughout the state as well as those at the top of their individual school's graduating class (participating high schools only).

Statewide path

Since UC no longer considers SAT or ACT test scores as a factor in admissions decisions, we’ve revised the index we use to determine eligibility for the statewide guarantee, effective fall 2022. The updated Statewide Index will continue to identify California resident students in the top 9 percent of California high school graduates and offer these students a guaranteed space at a UC campus, if space is available.

For more information on calculating the Statewide Index as well as FAQs, please visit our UC admission website on the Statewide Guarantee.

Local path (ELC)

Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) is a program by which UC identifies top-performing California high school students. Unlike the broader statewide eligibility pathway, which seeks to recognize top students from throughout the state, ELC draws qualified California resident students from among the top 9 percent of each participating high school. 

How students become ELC-eligible

  • Must be a California resident and attend an eligible, participating California high school.
  • Complete 11 UC-approved courses by the beginning of their senior year. The 11 units include:
    • History — 1 year
    • English — 2 years
    • Mathematics — 2 years
    • Science — 1 year
    • Language Other than English — 1 year
    • Other A-G courses — 4 years
  • Have a GPA that meets or exceeds the school's benchmark ELC GPA (minimum 3.0). Benchmark GPAs are set using historical transcript information to determine a cutoff for the top 9 percent of the senior class; they will be reset for one-third of participating schools each year.

ELC-qualified students must then apply to UC between October 1 and November 30 of their senior year and complete the remaining eligibility requirements to be considered fully eligible. ELC students who complete these requirements but are not admitted to a campus they apply to will be offered admission to another campus if space is available.

Because ELC status is determined at the point the application is submitted, it is crucial that students accurately enter their academic history on the application. Academic record changes will not result in a reassessment of ELC status.

How UC determines schools' historic GPAs

Since the inception of the ELC program, participating schools have submitted transcripts for the top 12.5 percent (15 percent beginning in 2011) of their students, with parental permission. Using this information, we have established a historic, or benchmark, GPA representing the expected GPA for the top 9 percent of the students from each school.

Schools are periodically requested to submit transcripts so that we can monitor—and reset, if necessary—their benchmark GPA.

How can my school participate in the ELC program?

Most California public high schools and many private schools participate in the ELC program. To participate, a school must be located in California, have a College Board school code, and have a full list of UC-approved courses for the most recent academic year. Eligible schools participating in the ELC program are asked by UC to provide student contact information and are responsible for obtaining parental authorization.

For information about joining the program, email New participation requests and transcripts must be received no later than June 1 for the fall admission application cycle (freshman enrollment for the following year's fall term).