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C Grade Or Lower Transfer To A UC

C Grade or Lower in Final CCC Terms

How to handle C grades

Perhaps you are one of the many UC transfer applicants who submitted your application last November, and are now worried about whether a C grade or lower this winter or spring will affect your chances of admission. Or perhaps you are worried about dropped courses.

There is never an easy answer to these situations. The UCs request that you notify them immediately if you are receiving any grade that is a C- or lower.  I cannot stress enough the need to notify the UCs the minute you believe this is the likely outcome. Each campus wants to work with you. They may have options you aren’t aware of or they may let it slide. But it always plays out best the sooner you alert them.

As to whether a C grade or lower will impact your chances, I can only give you some common scenarios. But be aware these are all fluid — meaning what might work in one situation will NOT work in another.

Getting a C grade during your last winter or spring term
How the UC may react to a C grade will depend on several factors:  Your current GPA, the selectivity of the major, whether or not the course is the required math or English being taken last term, whether the course fulfills a major requirement, or if the C grade lowers that term’s GPA below an established limit (usually, but not always, 3.0). Very often the UCs accept a C grade; in fact, I might say more often than not the odds are in your favor — but not always. And if they don’t accept the C, it usually revolves around one of the aforementioned items. Having said that, you may get a C in a required course, or your major may be selective, or any of the above things may deliver a C and you will still be accepted.  But trust me, I have seen plenty of situations in which a C ruined an applicant’s chances. One situation comes to mind — a student made the mistake of taking the required quantitative math last term (never a good idea); however, he was accepted to UCLA, with the proviso that he needed at least a B in the math course. He got a C and was rescinded.

Getting a C- or lower
You must report these grades immediately to the UC so you can (hopefully) work out a remedy.  Obviously, a C- is better than a D. If you get a D, especially in a major requirement you might very well get rescinded. If it is a selective major you can basically count on it.

Adding or dropping a course
It is not unusual that a planned course doesn’t materialize for various reasons — maybe it was not offered, maybe there was a waitlist, maybe it conflicted with another course.  Assuming it is not affecting your minimum count of 60 semester units needed for admittance, and assuming it is not a course needed for your major or IGETC, the dropped class most likely will have no bearing.  However, let the UC know immediately and explain why you dropped the course. If it is an IGETC course, you may run into trouble if the department insists IGETC must be completed by spring (e.g., Berkeley’s College of Letters and Science) or if it is a selective major, as you are no longer as competitive as other applicants.  If it is a major course requirement that you dropped, it will depend on the largesse of the department, but it could put you in a bad position.  The key is to let the UC know as early as possible, regardless of the course in question. The UC may not care at all, or they may let you make up a required course in summer or later at the UC.

Adding a course should not be an issue. But again, give a heads up to the UC.

Those pesky Provisional Contracts
The vagueness that accompanies the C grade becomes more apparent when a student is accepted and receives what is called the Provisional Contract. These contracts outline the rules that must be followed during the final winter and/or spring terms. Any violation can lead to a rescind of admittance. Provisional contracts vary. Here is where you might get a side hook out of nowhere telling you they don’t want a C.

Provisional contracts are sent to every admitted applicant and quite often are standard issue: if you get more than two Cs, or any grade that is C- or lower, let the UC know immediately. But sometimes they are far stricter. For instance, all remaining courses must receive a B grade or better; or [insert course name] must receive a B grade (refer to the math example above).

My advice is to always try your best to avoid a C, and if you must get one, at least aim for a non-required course. And definitely try not to get a C if you were accepted to Berkeley, as they appear to be the strictest.

Where to send changes
If you have any of these grade issues or have added or dropped a course, send an email to every UC to which you applied via its campus portal. Also send a general email to [email protected], along with your full name and UC ID number.

–> To check your current or projected cumulative GPA, use this calculator.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Hi Lindy!
    I recently was admitted as a transfer student to UC Berkeley as an economics major.
    I have straight A’s in all my classes but I got a C in calculus II , which was a major required course for me in my transfer. I also received a B in a general class.
    My conditions of admission stated, “no individual grade lower than a C”.

    Does this mean I will be rescinded?
    Thank you so much for your time.
    Best Regards,
    Tracy H.

  2. Hi,
    I am a communications/journalism major, and if I get a C my first semester of college in stats, will the effect my standing with UC’s?

  3. I am a transfer student, and I got a Grade C in Math 7 this spring, whcih is the major preparatory course.
    I have recieved the admission from ucla, and this the requirement in contract letter:
    “Complete the following course pattern by June with C grades or better: two (2) transferable courses in English composition; one (1) transferable course in mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning; and four (4) transferable courses in at least two of the following subject areas: arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and physical and biological sciences.”
    In addtion, my gpa is 4.0 , so will my admission be withdrawn ?

      1. Excuse me, there is another requirement:
        “You must notify our office immediately of any withdrawals, incomplete grades, drop in academic performance (including 2 or more C grades, any D and/or F grades, any C grades in major preparatory courses), or other changes to your class schedule.”

      2. In addition, June 1st is the deadline of all the UC’s admission, and ucla admission office will reply me within 15 days, just play it safe, so should I accept other UC’s admissions ? (UCD,UCSD,UCSB,UCR, and I am waiting for the response for waitilist of UCB). by the way, I have send my spring grade to ucla admission office.

  4. Hi Lindy,

    I was accepted to UCLA to study biology as a transfer student. I received a C in organic chemistry, which violates my admission contract. I am currently writing the 1000 character explanation for why I received a low grade and was wondering if you had any advice on how to explain the illness of a parent as an extenuating circumstance? UCLA is the only school I have ever dreamed of going to and even though I received A’s in the other three classes I took this semester, I am extremely afraid my admission will be rescinded.


      1. Thank you for your response. In regards to a C, the contract says “Notify our office immediately of any withdrawals, incomplete grades, drop in academic performance (including two or more C grades, any D and/or F grades, and any C grades in major preparatory classes), or other changes to your class schedule”. There is nothing explicit about a final term GPA but it does say that I must complete the 7-course pattern outlined with C’s or better. My GPA will 0.16 percent with the one C.

      2. I see. Okay, you will need to explain the extenuating circumstances. The UCs are quite understanding and with your other grades all being As, I suspect they will let it pass, although I cannot guarantee. You could offer to audit the course during summer (meaning not a retake, but a refresher). I can tell you they will say to skip that but it will show passion on your end and commitment. They will like that.

  5. Hi! I got into UCLA as a math major with a 3.67 gpa and ended with getting 2 C’s in my two math classes, but this is the first time I have ever received C’s. It was a big transition to go back in person and I had a loss in the family. I reported it and explained it. Will I get withdrawn?

  6. What should I do. I got accepted to UCLA, for Electrical Engineering, but in my final semester at my community college I got a C in a major prep class. In the academic contract it says that I must report a C if it was received in a major prep class. I submitted my C grade to UCLA, but they will not get back to me for 15 days. I must submit my SIR to UC campuses in 1 day. I have the option to commit to either UCSB or UCSD where they only required a 2.0 in my final semester, but I really want to go to UCLA. What are the chances UCLA will rescind my offer if I roll the dice and submit my SIR to them without knowing yet what they think about my C in a major prep class.

  7. I got into UCLA as a transfer (molecular biology major) and I am TAP certified. I am getting a C in a biology class and might end up with another C in organic chemistry II (this class is recommended but not required for admission). This drop in grades was because of the death of someone close to me. What are my chances of getting rescinded?

  8. Hi Lindy!

    Hi Lindy!

    I’m accepted to UC Davis as a Math major. I got a C in my Math 130 class where it required me to get a B. Will I be rescinded of this?

    Here is the Condition of Admission:

    1). Maintain Academic Performance

    Complete all transferable in progress or planned courses with a GPA of 2.80 or higher, with no grade less than “C,” by the end of your spring term. To achieve the minimum overall UC-transferable grade point average required, you may need to achieve higher than “C” grades. In addition, you must be in good standing at each collegiate institution that you have attended.

    Note: You may verify the courses that have been determined transferable by viewing your transfer credit summary at MyAdmissions.

    2). Complete the following required course(s) with a minimum grade point average of 2.80, and grade(s) of “C” or better by the end of spring term:

    MATH 130 with B

    1. You need to reach out to them and beg for mercy. Don’t wait. The longer you wait the more likely a definitive no. I’m sorry to say there’s a very good chance you will be rescinded.

  9. Hi Lindy!
    I got a grade of “C-“ in my high school AP biology course for the first semester of senior year. Do UCs check +/- grades? Is a “C-“ just counted as a “C”? Do I need to report my grade of “C-“ to the UCs? Please let me know. Thank you

  10. Hi Lindy, I just recently got accepted into Berkeley and I have a C- in Calc BC my last semester (I already took my final and this grade is pretty much set). In the conditions of admissions, it states that I need to have grades no lower than a C. I’m just wondering if C- is just a C in their terms. If not, I will have to be in contact with them, correct?

    1. C- is not considered a passing grade for a major requirement. I’m not sure how they’ll take it. If you see this, please let me know how it went. Sorry for late reply.

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Lindy is an independent UC admissions consultant, who works with both transfers and freshmen. She also has just completed her first novel, a supernatural thriller set in San Francisco.

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