The University of California school system is a coveted establishment. Often a top choice for incoming freshmen, the nine schools making up the UC system are known for their picky selection process and overwhelming demand. As time has progressed, the standards for admittance have been pushed even higher and California colleges are amongst the most challenging to get into. Newly adding to this dilemma are the record lows for the acceptance of out-of-state applicants. Lawmakers in California have successfully pushed the UC system to prioritize in-state residents for admittance, further lowering the chances of acceptance for those out-of-state.

The Push for Local Applicants

In the past, non-California residents were much more valuable to the school system, as these students paid approximately $30,000 more annually compared to locals (1). This was especially valuable following the recession in 2008 when out-of-staters were recruited heavily in order to keep the doors open at several colleges. As the economy stabilized, local students were still not prioritized, likely because of the large amount of money earned from out-of-state students (2). However, local pushback and government pressure are looking to slow down the trend of accepting so many out-of-staters (1).

The government in California has recently agreed to a budget of $98.8 million aimed specifically at prioritizing in-state students. The program works by offsetting the potential funding losses for colleges– essentially reimbursements for the out-of-state money lost.

Additional incentives for UC schools were also established, encouraging more in-state selection for additional funding (1).

How Does This Affect Nevada Students?

Over the past year, offers to out-of-state applicants decreased by 19% (5,359 students). In addition, international student acceptance decreased by 12.2% (2,442 students) (2). Since the selection pool for non-Californians has shrunken so much, acceptance into the UC system requires higher standards than ever from out-of-state students.

A few things Nevada students can do to increase their value to the UC’s are by taking AP and honors classes, IB if possible, and taking part in high-level extra-curricular activities with an emphasis on community service and social justice.

What Nevada Students Need To Know

Although California is making a commitment to its local students, it is still possible to get into a UC school with proper preparation. Since California residency has been prioritized, out-of-state students must adhere to a new set of qualifications.

  • Students must now earn a minimum GPA of 3.4 or better with no grades lower than a C, and the grades earned must come from classes approved by UC.
  • When calculating an out-of-state student’s GPA, UC will grant credit for AP or IB courses only, but not for school-designated honors courses.
  • Grades are self-reported in the application, but must be verified by an official transcript upon acceptance.
  • Letters of recommendation are no longer a part of the application review (3).


At Cultivate Academics, we have studied the UC guidelines carefully and prepared ourselves with strategies that will give your student the greatest chance of acceptance. Reach out to us today for custom-tailored tutoring and admissions preparation that will help your student find the right path for them and give them the strategies and tools necessary to meet their goals. Get Started Here