University of California plans to open admissions to students who haven’t completed the required sequence of college-prep courses or those who haven’t taken SAT IIs (Achievement Tests back in the day). UC campuses would consider these previously ineligible applicants’ “backgrounds” and “extracurricular activities.” The proposal also includes automatic admission for students graduating in the top 9 percent of their high school class, regardless of their SAT scores. It’s estimated 20 percent of high school graduates would be eligible for consideration, though only students in the top 9.7 percent — as determined by an index of grades and test scores — would be guaranteed admission somewhere. Currently, the top 12.5 percent are guaranteed admission, though not necessarily to the campus of their choice. It is very hard to get into Berkeley, UCLA, San Diego and Davis, somewhat easier at Irvine, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz and easiest of all at Merced and Riverside.
Mark Rashid, a Davis professor who chaired the faculty committee, claims that “many” ineligible applicants “have higher GPA’s and test scores than the average for those who do get in.”
I wonder how many have higher grades and scores. Do they have higher grades in equally rigorous classes? How many have higher SAT I or ACT scores?
I’d also like to see a list of high schools so dysfunctional that students with high grades and high scores aren’t told to take the A-G courses, which are required by both UC and the second-tier California State University system. Why not do something about high schools that fail to prepare their best students for college?
The goal of the proposed changes is to make more Hispanic and black students eligible for consideration.
Likely result? More UC students will have to take remedial English or math; more will fail to earn a degree.
Note that UC is California’s elite system of universities for the best students in the state. Bright, motivated students who don’t qualify for a UC can start at a community college, do well and transfer to a UC.