Across California and the nation, students have been forced to adapt as measures to combat COVID-19 have closed schools, cancelled standardized tests and upended every aspect of their education. And many have faced a nagging concern: how will this affect my college prospects?
The University of California on late Tuesday, March 31, took a number of steps to temporarily adjust admissions requirements, so students and families will have one less thing to worry about.
The measures include suspending the letter grade requirement for academic classes taken in winter, spring or summer terms of 2020; providing flexibility for students who need more time to meet registration, deposit and transcript deadlines; and suspending the standardized test requirement for students applying for admission as freshmen for fall 2021. These changes do not lower the bar for admission, but accommodate the real barriers students have faced as tests have been cancelled and classes have moved to pass/fail grading.
The university also expects to work with admitted students to adjust financial aid packages if family financial circumstances have suddenly changed.
The actions ensure that disruptions due to the current pandemic will not threaten any students’ ability to pursue and attain a world-class UC education, said UC President Janet Napolitano.
“The COVID-19 outbreak is a disaster of historic proportions disrupting every aspect of our lives, including education for high school students, among others,” Napolitano said. “The university’s flexibility at this crucial time will ensure prospective students aiming for UC get a full and fair shot — no matter their current challenges.”
UC has enacted the following temporary measures, which are explained in detail in an online FAQ:
UC has temporarily suspended the letter grade requirement for A-G courses completed in spring 2020 for both prospective and admitted students. For transfer students, the university has relaxed the cap on Pass/No Pass courses eligible for transfer to enter UC as a junior.
UC will suspend the standardized test requirement (SAT and ACT) for students applying for fall 2021 freshman admission. This modification is not intended as an admissions policy shift but is rather a temporary accommodation driven by the current extraordinary circumstances.
The deadline for students to accept their admissions offers remains May 1 for freshmen and June 1 for transfer students. However, the university has asked campuses to provide maximum flexibility for students who request extensions. Students should contact campus admissions offices directly with these requests.
UC will also provide flexibility to students and schools who are unable to submit transcripts by July 1. No student’s admission offer will be cancelled for missing the deadline.
Despite changes to the format and content of AP exams this term, the university will continue to award credit for exams with scores of 3, 4 or 5.
“We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19,” said John A. Pérez, chair of the Board of Regents, the governing board for UC. “By removing artificial barriers and decreasing stressors — including suspending the use of the SAT — for this unprecedented moment in time, we hope there will be less worry for our future students.”