Thursday, October 16, 2014

Eligibility in the Local Context #college #education #students

If you are the parent of a high school student in California you may or may not be aware of Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC). I will admit, I was not. It wasn't until I attended an informational college night at our daughter's high school that I first found out about this program. 

Being the parent of a very goal-oriented child/young adult can be a challenge. You have to try and help balance the time they spend on school work, and their over-achieving nature, with being sure they experience life. At the same time, you truly have to appreciate that determination. Well, in California, that determination pays off in a big way and it is something every parent should know!

California has a program called Eligibility in the Local Context. Basically, if your child meets all the course requirements to enter college, and is within the top percentage of their high school, they are guaranteed admission into the UC school system. (I believe the only two schools exempt from automatic acceptance are UC Berkeley and UCLA, however ELC status will improve your child's chances.) From their website:

"To be designated as ELC, a student must have attended an eligible, participating California high school, satisfactorily completed a specific pattern of 11 UC-approved courses prior to the start of senior year, and have a UC-calculated GPA that meets or exceeds the top 9 percent GPA benchmark established by UC for their school. To maintain the ELC status, the student must satisfy the general admissions requirements including the successful completion of the 15 required “a-g” courses, maintain a 3.0 GPA and submit an official copy of ACT with Writing or SAT Reasoning Test scores."

Before you get too excited, be sure to read the fine print. It says, "the top 9 percent GPA benchmark established by UC for their school." Unless the overall GPA is extremely low for your child's high school, a 3.0 is not going to give them automatic entrance. That is the reality of the situation. Gaining entrance into college is extremely competitive. I know for a fact that GPAs ranged well over 4.0 in my daughter's school. 

How can you help your child? If they are up to the challenge, you can encourage them to:

  • Take honors courses in their Freshman year to acquaint them with a more demanding course load
  • Take AP courses in their sophomore, junior, and senior years (which will also give them college credit and get some of those general education courses out of the way)
  • DO NOT push your child beyond their capabilities; it will only damage their self-esteem and lower their GPA if they cannot keep up
  • Provide the necessary tools and a good working environment for them to study
  • Be supportive, check in daily, and make sure they are balancing life
Find out if your child is on track for the ELC program in their junior year. Taking away the added pressure of worrying about whether or not they will be accepted into a 4-year college will allow them to focus on their studies and enjoy their final year, which should be full of memories and camaraderie with friends.

For more information, please go to: Eligibility in the Local Context

Now, if you really want to help get your child on track---start with them when they are young. Early readers become better students. Give them a head start in life. Read to your child today!

Wishing your child every success,

K. Lamb

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