Information for First-Year Students Not Offered Admission (March 15, 2017)

Overview of UC Santa Cruz's Selection Process
Frequently Asked Questions About the Admissions Process
Options for Freshmen Who Were Not Offered Admission
Appeal Information- Fall 2017 

Overview of UC Santa Cruz's Selection Process

UC Santa Cruz received over 52,000 freshman applications for fall 2017. The freshman enrollment target for fall 2017 is 3,900 students. This enrollment target reflects a decrease from fall 2016.

Admission offers were made to students based on a comprehensive evaluation of their application, as set forth by the UC Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, and our campus Academic Senate Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid (CAFA). Applicants were selected following an extensive review process that evaluated the applicants' academic achievement, accomplishments, and other information contained in their undergraduate application. Applications were reviewed for UC qualifications, completion of required college preparatory coursework (a-g pattern of courses), required test scores, and demonstrated academic and non-academic achievements. The following 14 faculty-approved criteria were taken into consideration, although no fixed weight or fixed points were awarded for any of the criteria.

Criteria Used in UCSC's Comprehensive Review

  1. Grade Point Average (GPA) - computed for all 'a-g' courses completed (10th and 11th grades), including additional grade points for UC-approved honors courses.
  2. Test Scores - best single-sitting scores on the ACT Plus Writing exam, the SAT exam, or the SAT with Essay exam were considered. For applicants who took both the ACT and the SAT exam (or the new SAT with Essay exam), the higher test scores (from a single sitting) were considered.
  3. Courses Completed/In-Progress/Planned - number of, content of, and performance in academic courses beyond the minimum ‘a-g’ requirements were considered, within the context of the number of course offerings at an applicant’s high school.
  4. Honors Courses - number of and performance in UC-approved honors courses, which include Advanced Placement (AP) courses, International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, UC-transferable college courses, and UC-certified courses at specific California high schools, were considered, within the context of an applicant’s honors courses offered at their high school.
  5. Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) - students from California high schools who were identified as ELC (defined by the University of California) by being in the top 9% of their high school class.
  6. Quality of Senior Year Program of Study - determined by the type (honors or not) and number of academic courses in the applicant’s senior year, within the course offerings at an applicant’s high school.
  7. Educational Opportunities in California High Schools - an applicant’s academic performance was reviewed in relation to the educational opportunities within their high school.
  8. Performance in Academic Subject Areas - outstanding performance in one or more 'a-g' subject area (minimum of four years with superior grades).
  9. Achievements in Special Projects - outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study.
  10. Improvement in Academic Performance - recent, marked improvement in academic performance as demonstrated by an applicant’s GPA and the quality of their course work completed, in progress, and planned.
  11. Special Talents, Achievements, and Awards - consideration of special talents, significant achievements, and awards that demonstrate the applicant’s promise for making a positive impact to the UCSC campus community.
  12. Participation in Educational Preparation Programs - participation and persistence in academic enrichment programs, including but not limited to those sponsored by the University of California, was considered.
  13. Academic Accomplishments Within Life Experiences - if student has demonstrated academic accomplishment despite some personal circumstances or life experiences (as discussed in the personal statement), that an applicant has overcome. Life experiences might include (but are not limited to) disability, low family income, first generation to attend college, need to work, and other special circumstances.
  14. Geographic Location - defined by the location of the applicant's secondary school and/or residence.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Admissions Process

How many freshman applications did you receive this year?

52,516, over 3,400 more than last year.

How many freshmen did you offer admission to this year?

We admitted 24,469 students to enroll a class of 3,900 students. Our enrollment target is approximately 400 fewer than the number of freshmen who enrolled for fall 2016.

How many freshmen did you deny admission to this year?

27,503 freshman applicants were denied admission.

Were UC-qualified students denied admission?

Since we are a selective campus, the majority of our denied freshmen met UC’s minimum qualifications.

How did you make your admissions decisions?

We employed a faculty-approved comprehensive review of the freshman applicants. Our selection guide is on the web if you'd like to review the different factors that we take into consideration. The guide is available as a link through the web site, or on

Each application received an in-depth review, known as Holistic Review, by one or more professionally-trained Admissions readers. A final, single score of 1-5 was determined, with 1 being the highest and 5 being the lowest. Grade-point average and test scores accounted for approximately half of the score a reader determined. Scoring was in accordance with guidelines issued by UCSC faculty. Admissions offers were made to the applicants who received a higher score, within the constraints of the campus’s enrollment goals.

Students who did not report completing the required test pattern (the ACT Plus Writing, the SAT, or the SAT with Essay) by the December 2016 sitting would have been denied admission. UCSC did use both official and self-reported test scores when reviewing first-year applicants.

In addition to the selection criteria noted above, if an applicant had notified our campus of receiving a grade of D or F in any 'a-g' course in their senior year, that student would not have been selected for admission by UC Santa Cruz. All students offered admission to UCSC are held to earning grades of C or higher (or the equivalent) in their senior-year courses or their admission will be canceled.

Did you admit any out-of-state or international students?

Yes, but all these students would have been held to the same selection criteria as in-state students, although the minimum GPA for a non-resident of California is higher than the CA resident GPA (3.40 vs. 3.00, respectively). In addition, most international students are also held to the UCSC English proficiency requirement.

What was the average GPA of your admits?

Our mean GPA for freshman admits was 3.91, although the GPA was only one component of our Comprehensive Review Score.

What were the average test scores of your admits?

Our mean SAT scores were: Critical Reading 590.5, Mathematics 633.3, Writing 602, and Total 1825.9. Our mean SAT with Essay scores were: Reading/Writing & Language 586.6, Math 598.6, and Total 1185.2. Our mean ACT Composite score was 25.8, with the following subscores: Reading 26.2, Mathematics 26.1, and English with Writing 27. As with the GPA, test scores comprised only one component of our Comprehensive Review score.

Does UCSC have a waitlist?

Yes. UCSC offered just over 10,000 denied freshmen the opportunity to be considered on a waitlist. The waitlist is for freshman applicants who were not offered admission due to enrollment limitations, but who are considered excellent candidates for admission, should space become available later in the admissions cycle. Students who have this option have been notified by the Office of Admissions and will have to respond to UCSC by April 15 if they want to be on the UCSC Waitlist. Being placed on the waitlist does not guarantee admission to UC Santa Cruz.

For more information on the fall 2017 waitlist process, please see the UCSC Fall 2017 Waitlist FAQ at

How did you select students to be offered the waitlist option?

These students were well-qualified (as determined by our comprehensive review), but given campus enrollment constraints, could not be offered admission.

Can I be placed on the waitlist even if I wasn't offered that option?

No. Only the students who were originally selected for the waitlist have that option. UCSC will not consider any additional students for the waitlist.

If I was not selected for admission, may I appeal the decision?

UC Santa Cruz does not set aside space in our class for students who appeal admissions decisions. Every application has already been thoroughly reviewed using our selection process. Although few (if any) appeals will likely be granted due to enrollment constraints, students who choose to appeal should follow the procedure listed below. The appeal deadline will be strictly enforced.

Options for Applicants Not Offered Admission

Applicants who have not been offered admission at UC Santa Cruz may wish to consider the following options:

1. All UC campuses offer a quality education. If you applied to another UC campus and have been offered admission, we strongly encourage you to consider this offer. Many of our applicants also have admission offers at a number of other excellent public and private colleges and universities and could consider those offers.

2. UC Santa Cruz is committed to assisting students in transferring from a California Community College. At the transfer level, we give the highest priority for admission to junior-level California community college students who present a well-planned course of study, including coursework for their intended major and a competitive grade point average. If, after considering all of your options for higher education, you decide to enroll at a California community college, we urge you to contact the Transfer Center or Counseling Department at that college for assistance in planning a course of study that will lead to successful transfer in the future. UC Santa Cruz maintains a transfer admission guarantee program (TAG) with every community college within the state to ensure that you can earn your degree at our campus.

The University of California maintains a strong relationship of advising and articulated course agreements with the California community college system. A listing of transfer centers within the state can be found at

A transfer center adviser or community college counselor can help you plan an appropriate transfer program that will allow you to complete your studies at the University of California.

Appeal Information - Fall 2017

To appeal our denial you must present new information that was not contained in your original application and personal statement. If there is nothing new or compelling, an appeal may not be appropriate. If your senior year grades have gone down, or if you have already earned a grade of D or F in any 'a-g' course in your senior year, an appeal will not be granted.

An appeal must be submitted through the following web site: Appeals submitted through any other method than the online process will not be considered.

Students seeking to appeal the denial of their admission, including those who were offered the waitlist option, should follow all instructions indicated on the web site (

The reason for the appeal, a short narrative describing the nature of the appeal, a high school transcript (including 7th semester grades), all collegiate transcripts, courses currently in progress, and official test scores are required to appeal. Check the portal to see if all your official test scores are on file with UCSC.

A single letter of recommendation (optional) from a source who can speak to the student's academic strengths can also be included with the appeal. Multiple letters of recommendation will not be considered.

All information must be submitted via the web-based appeal tool no later than 11:59:59 p.m. March 31, 2017 (PDT).

Decisions will be e-mailed to students no later than April 21, 2017. Students whose appeals are successful will be required to meet the May 1 Statement of Intent to Register deadline to accept their offer of admission.