7 Things You Must Do in High School to Prepare for the UCs: MS Sun

7 Things You Must Do in High School to Prepare for the UCs

7 Things You Must Do in High School to Prepare for the UCs

Getting excited or anxious about how well you are preparing for the UCs? Here is a list of must-dos to help you gain a competitive edge!

Things You Must Do

  1. Make sure the honors courses you are taking are UC-certified or they won’t be weighted (check your high school a-g course list at the UC A-G Course List).
  2. Balance your extracurricular activities with your honors/AP courses during the school year so you maintain excellent grades and devote enough time to your extracurricular activities.
  3. Take community college courses (check the community college course list at the UC A-G Course List) during the summer after freshman year, the summer after sophomore year, and the summer after junior year; the course grades are weighted and calculated into your UC GPA.
  4. If you receive a D or F, be sure to repeat the course to replace the bad grade in the GPA calculation and to meet the subject requirement (although you MUST report both the non-passing grade AND the repeated grade on the UC Application when you apply). UCs have relaxed the rules on having to repeat the exact same course; now you only have to retake a course that has the same curriculum as the one in which you received the D or F.
  5. As admissions become more competitive each year, it becomes harder to distinguish yourself from other students. Check out Cappex’s Standout Factor and College Peas’ Non-Teenage Activities for some fresh and crazy ideas to help you stand out from the crowd.
  6. Get your parents involved with your college planning. Ask them to meet with your counselor and show concern for your college plans. Your counselor is more likely to pay attention to your schedule if she or he knows your parents will be showing up at school if anything goes awry.
  7. Be a teacher’s pet. Talk to your teachers before or after class and show some interest in them and the subjects they teach. Ask them how you can improve your performance in the subject and get better grades. The better your teachers know you, the more likely they are willing to help you.

BONUS! Things You Should NOT Worry About

  1. UCs do look at courses you take in freshman year and the grades in context to your general grade trend; but freshman grades are NOT included in the GPA calculation.
  2. Only the grades recorded on your high school transcript will count so don’t worry too much about what’s on your progress report.
  3. Despite what your teachers/counselors/principal may say, the stuff on your “permanent record” is not submitted to or reviewed by the UCs (altho the Common App and many private colleges do ask you to report school disciplinary actions and crime convictions); stay out of trouble for the sake of your own sanity, but if you happen to get detention or suspended, it’s not the end of the world.

University of California Admission Release Dates

I’ve been following Ms. Sun for years.  She is very knowledgeable about the UC application system.  Her recent post shares dates for the UC admission notices for Freshman.


UC Decisions Become Available

Each UC campus releases the decision on its own online system and on different dates throughout March:

Berkeley – all decisions will become available at MAP@Berkeley on March 24, 2016 (confirmed)

Davis – all decisions will become available at MyAdmissions on March 11, 2016 (confirmed)

Irvine – decisions for scholarship recipients went out late February; the rest of the decisions are coming out in batches at MyAdmission and Message Center

UCLA – all decisions will become available at Admission Decisions on March 18, 2016 (from a reliable source but not yet confirmed)

Merced – decisions are coming out in batches at MyUCMerced beginning March 2, 2016 and will continue through the rest of March (confirmed)

Riverside – decisions are coming out in batches at MyUCR beginning March 1, 2016 and will continue through the rest of March (confirmed via R’Counselor Cornerreceived on February 21, 2016)

San Diego – decisions are coming out in batches at MyApplication beginning March 11, 2016 and will continue through the rest of March (confirmed through posts onCollege Confidential on March 11, 2016)

Santa Barbara – all decisions will become available at Application Status starting March 22, 2016 and continue through the rest of March (confirmed via admissions update email forwarded to me from students)

Santa Cruz – all decisions will become available at MyUCSC on March 15, 2016 (confirmed)

New York and Philadelphia College Touring

New York and Pennsylvania Touring 2014


This was a great trip.  First we visited some great engineering and liberal art colleges in New York.  Next we joined a tour group to see the Le High Valley Colleges including LeHigh, Fafayette and Muhlenberg.  Enjoy!

Colorado College Touring

Colorado College Touring 2014

Colorado has some great choices for students.  It is a short and easy flight from California, with beautiful sunshine and snow!

Internships – build a strong resume with experience

There are a variety of ways a student can show interest in a specific major.  Internships are a great way to gain experience and gain hands on experience in a career field that you may be considering.  The best internships will fill quickly, take time to explore options and deadlines.



Wait listed? Deferred?

This time of year, students that completed early action and early decision applications are hoping for great news, the admission packet.  Many student will hear they have been deferred, meaning they are now being considered in the normal pool of applicants.  These decisions will be communicated in March and April.  Take the time to communicate with these colleges that you are very interested in attending the college utilizing a new letter of recommendation, a tour, and an update of your resume and academic successes.



Mississippi and Tennessee College Touring

The southern charm, the amazing architecture, the connection to music and night life are all a bonus after you consider the great academic options in this area of the USA.   Mississippi &Tennessee College Touring Summary

Philadelphia College Touring

Philadelphia College Touring Summary: In April 2013, I toured 10 colleges in Philadelphia.  With a large group of students in the Philadelphia area and a variety of college options, this is an area many should consider.

Playing Merit Based Scholarships to Your Advantage!

The average student at a private college last year reaped a 42 percent discount on the published tuition, according to an industry survey, a historic high. Admission experts say more colleges use merit awards to lure strong students who might not otherwise attend, including those who could afford to pay full price. Merit aid, uncommon 30 years ago, has grown into a dominant admissions tool at hundreds of private and public colleges seeking top students.


10 Trends in College Admission 2011

1.  Hardest year yet for top colleges admissions.

2.  More applicants are considering Southern Schools.

3.  International applicants are surging.

4.  IVY league for Grad school is the new goal, when undergrad wasn’t an option.

5.  If you are from a tech haven – your getting an advantage in admissions.

6.  More students on the wait list.

7.  More student are selecting creative writing as a major.

8.  Homeschoolers on the rise.

9.  Californians are looking out-of-state.

10.  Public schools are excepting more out-of-state students to help ease budget issues.


January 2018
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