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About this blog: I post articles to offer timely and substantive college admission guidance on important topics and issues. Originally from New York, I have a B.S. from Hunter College in NYC and advanced professional degrees from the University of...  (More)

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Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC)

Uploaded: May 30, 2023
What is Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC)?

Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) is a program that guarantees students in the top 9% of their California high school class admission into the University of California system. Students must also earn at least a 3.0 GPA and they must have fulfilled the A-G course requirements. You can find a list of the A-G course requirements on the UC ELC page. As long as these requirements are met, applicants can expect to attend a UC after they graduate from high school, but not necessarily the UC of their choice.

Why was the ELC program started?

The ELC program, which began in 2000, was designed to improve equity and diversity in UC admissions. The program’s specific goal was to be “race-neutral”. Because ELC is conducted at a school level rather than a state-wide level, high achievers are determined relative to their local educational opportunities and context. This is a more equitable approach as it is a better way to recognize outstanding performance while at the same time capturing the racial and socioeconomic diversity of California.

Initially, the admission guarantee was only offered to the top 4% of students in their high school class. However, in 2012, this was expanded to the top 9%. There are currently over 1,600 California high schools participating in ELC.

How do I get ELC status?

You can get ELC status if your school participates in the ELC program and if you have met the A-G subjects and GPA criteria. All you have to do is apply to a UC. But watch out for mail that asks you to give the state permission to collect information about you from your high school. Your high school may not participate in the program, or some misinformation could be on file. I have seen that kind of letter/email and it is good to respond to anything specific to receive be sure you receive your ELC status.

Is it important that I submit a good UC application?

YES! Even if you “know” you are in the top 9% of your class, be sure to do an excellent job on your UC application. While you should always strive to do your best, there are two specific reasons for putting effort into your application in relation to ELC. First, ELC status uses a UC-calculated GPA that meets or exceeds the 9% benchmark. This GPA is based on past transcripts submitted by your high school. Just being in the top 9% compared to your peers does not guarantee that you will satisfy the UC-calculated benchmark.

The second reason to take your application seriously is that achieving ELC helps you get admitted to the UC of your dreams. It has been reported that students with ELC status are accepted at a higher rate at top UCs. Although you might not get into the school of your choice, you will be offered a space on a UC campus.
How can my school join ELC?

The ELC program is eager to include all eligible California schools, so ask your school to apply for the ELC program if they aren’t already part of it. Contact ELC@ucop.edu if your school wants to participate and did not in the prior year.

Elizabeth LaScala PhD guides college, transfer and graduate school applicants through the complex world of admissions. She helps students choose majors and programs of interest, develops best match college lists, offers personalized essay coaching, and tools and strategies to help students tackle each step of the admissions process with confidence and success. Elizabeth helps students from all backgrounds to maximize scholarship opportunities and financial aid awards. Call (925) 385-0562 or visit Elizabeth at her website to learn more.
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