An Open Letter to the University of California

Dear UC President Janet Napolitano, the UC Board of Regents, Chancellor Gary May, Chancellor Carol Christ, Chancellor Howard Gillman, Chancellor Nathan Bostrom, Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, Chancellor Harry T. Yang, Chancellor Cynthia K. Larive:

In reviewing the University of California’s changes to admissions policies for Fall 2021 admissions, affecting current high school students, I respectfully ask for guidance on the following questions.

About the Test Optional Policy for Fall 2021 Admisisons:

  • How will students who do not submit SAT or ACT scores be considered for admissions for Fall 2021, given UC admissions has never been test optional?
  • In cases where students are applying for already impacted majors, like engineering, where additional SAT Subject Scores have been highly recommended for applicants in previous admissions cycles, including this Fall 2020, how will they be considered for admissions if they do not submit SAT or ACT scores nor SAT Subject Scores?
  • How will applicants who submit SAT Subject Scores, without submitting SAT or ACT scores, be evaluated for admissions?  
  • Will students have the option to submit SAT or ACT scores to a particular UC campus(es), but not others given the University of California application is a single form?
  • If students submit lower than average SAT or ACT scores, in comparison to admissions statistics, will that be more “harmful” to their evaluation than not submitting test scores at all? Or will UC admissions officers ignore the SAT or ACT score, simply considering the applicant “test-optional”? 
  • Why will the UC not consider extending the test-optional admissions policy beyond Fall 2021?

About Pass/No Pass, versus academic letter grades

  • How will the UC admissions officers account for a reduction in GPA if an applicant attends a high school where grades have been changed to a Pass-No Pass?
  • Will the minimum 3.0 GPA required for California residents to be eligible for admissions be waived for the Class of 2021 and Class of 2022, since with “Pass” students can meet the A-G academic requirements for admissions, but may not earn the minimum GPA since “Pass” marks will not be calculated as part of the GPA? 
  • How will the UC account for differences in GPA when evaluating applicants in the Classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023, as some school districts may choose a Pass/No Pass grading policy, but other school districts will not?

About awarding college credits for Spring 2020 AP Exams

  • Why did the UC decide that a 45 minute AP Exam is equal to the rigor of the previous 3 hour exam format meriting college credits?

About school profiles for applicants affected by widespread school closures in Spring 2020

  • Will the University of California require additional information from high school and district administrators to explain the specific continuity or lack of continuity in instruction for each applicant to contextualize their academic and extracurricular resumes?
  • How will the UC admissions officers account for the differences in instruction, thus the differences in academic achievements amongst applicants?

Without clarification, students may unwitting disqualify themselves for UC admissions. As UC alumni earn more than any other Californians with bachelors degrees within six years of graduation, any reduction in access to the University of California can have fiscal consquences for tens of thousands of Californians, as well as a staggering impact on California’s economy for generations to come.

With regards,

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM

UC San Diego ’95

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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