Transcript of Video:
Hello. This is Coleen Bryan with the Friday Five from College Materials. I wanted to give you today an overview of the UC admission updates in light of COVID-19 and changes that will impact specifically the class of 2020 and 2021.
First I want to start off with an actual quote from the UC counselor bulletin that was released, and it says, “The UC is committed to ensuring that COVID-19-related academic disruptions don’t threaten any student’s ability to strive for and attain a UC education.” I think, looking at that quote, we can all just take a deep breath and know that the University of California is sensitive to this time right now and giving students the chance to really make the most of their application despite this time that we’re going through.
The first thing I want to talk about is the asterisk semester. I read this from an admissions director that they were discussing this specific semester and said that we should look at it as an asterisk semester, meaning that every college, not just UCs, will look at the semester in light of everything that’s happened and it will not be considered the same as prior to this event.
With that, as we look at the University of California specifically, they have changed their policy in allowing that non-letter grades, if your district decides to go to non-letter grades or school will be accepted for A through G requirements and that will not be calculated in the GPA, so that is definitely a change of policy.
The second thing that we should look at is the class of 2021 will not have to submit test scores, and that is a good thing with the fact that students have not been able to take the ACT and SAT this spring. That does not mean if you’ve already taken the ACT or SAT. You can submit those scores. And it also allows for students, if there is an opportunity this fall, you can go ahead and take those tests as well. So for students that are uncertain what they are going to do, they should just go ahead and now that you have this time at home, prepare on your own and if that opportunity opens up, go ahead and take those tests. But by no means should you be stressed that if you have not taken the test, that that will prevent you from applying to the University of California or Cal States this year.
Again, let’s talk about AP classes. So our AP classes, obviously, you’re going to finish those off, but the tests at the end of the year are going to be shortened to 45 minutes and students should really go to College Board as their resource. College Board is recruiting master teachers to help them teach lessons online as well as giving study resources to students. The College Board website is probably the best place to go aside from what is being taught in your own curriculum online.
Additionally, for the class of 2020, the UC has made a couple of adjustments. The first thing I want to tell you is that if you are having a problem with committing to a UC campus for any reason, whether it’s financial or something else, make sure you let them know that there might be a delay. Communication is key. They did not change their commitment deadline of May 1st, but they did say that they will consider extenuating circumstances on a case by case basis. And due to that communication, make sure you reach out to that campus immediately.
Additionally, if there’s any issues with final transcripts, they’re extending that time as well and being sensitive, but you need to contact the campus and let them know. Again, communication is key.
Beyond just these changes, I also want to go ahead and discuss how you can stand out as an applicant during this time. I know that there’s some students on the wait list and there’s also some students who want to continue to really stand out for the University of California because that’s their first choice and here are some of the ideas that I came up with in brainstorming. The first thing is that you need to continue to show academic commitment, whether you’re on the wait list or whether you’re applying next fall or the year after. What you do in your current classes will matter to some extent and the fact that it’s now your turn to take ownership of your education and you can really try to make the most of it.
If you’re having troubles in your current class or a specific subject, make sure to either reach out to your teacher, another student who is either in the class or has taken the class, or other resources like Khan Academy to try to do your best in light of these circumstances. Additionally, beyond academics, I think right now is a great time for students to think really hard about what can I do right now to contribute to my community. Some of the things I thought of were with technology, you can volunteer as an online tutor or reach out to senior citizens in your community and see if they need anything. For example, simple things like going to the grocery store or taking in their trash. These are going to be meaningful right now and really show how you’re committed as a citizen to your community in light of the events.
I think it’s also important to think about ways you can challenge yourself. Obviously you want to do your best in your current classes but you may also want to think about looking forward, possibly signing up for a community college this summer and taking a class there, or you can even take a class on UC Scout which is available year round or you can even do it this summer. But those things are also available to you to help you develop academically.
Finally, , I just wanted you to realize that the University of California is sensitive to how stressful this time is and they are making changes. You as a student and as families, it’s really important that you stay on top of these changes and also use these changes to your benefit. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Website is listed, and also you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to set up a consultation. I’m available for online consultations. Thank you so much. Take care.