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How To Study in UP Without Passing the UPCAT

How To Study in UP Without Passing the UPCAT

The UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) is considered to be one of the hardest college entrance exams in the Philippines. This is mainly due to two things: the sheer number of applicants vying for slots every year and the difficulty of the actual exam itself.

Reviewing for the UPCAT? Check out our Ultimate UPCAT Reviewer

Every year, the UPCAT receives more than 100,000 applicants. But out of the vast sea of applicants, only 15% (less than 15,000) of the applicants are successfully given an admission slot into the UP. 

Your University Predicted Grade (UPG) will determine if you are accepted into UP or not. It is 60% your UPCAT score and 40% your high school grades. Applicants are ranked according to the UPG and the slots are given to the Top 15% of the batch.

This means that even though you technically get a passing UPG, if the slots in the UP campuses you were applying for are full, you are considered to have failed the UPCAT.

But don’t worry! There’s still a chance for you to pursue your dream of studying in UP. Out of the Top 15%, not all of them will apply for admission in UP. This means there are suddenly free slots up for grabs!

If you’re one of those students who failed the UPCAT but are still determined to study in UP, check out the different ways to gain an admission slot.


1. Filing an Appeal for Reconsideration

Upon receiving your UPCAT results, you are given the option of filing an appeal for reconsideration. However, this will depend on your UPG as different UP campuses have different cut-off grades for appeals and reconsiderations. To know more, check out our article on how to file for appeal for reconsiderations.


2. Varsity Athletic Admission System (VAAS program)

a. What is the Varsity Athletic Admission System?

The Varsity Athletic Admission System is a qualifying program administered by the College of Human Kinetics (UP CHK) that awards academic slots to exceptional athletes and dancers who may have not taken or passed the UPCAT.

To know more details about the application process for the VAAS program, check out this article.

In addition to the requirements stated in the article, you will need to submit an original copy of your UPCAT results with a grade of 2.8 or better.


3. Talent Determination Test

a. What is the Talent Determination Test?

The Talent Determination Test (TDT) assesses an applicant for admission based on knowledge, creativity, but mostly skill. Applicants who plan to pursue a degree program in the UP College of Fine Arts (UP CFA) or UP College of Music (UPCMu) are required to take the TDT regardless of their UPCAT results.

Note: You can only enroll for a Certificate in Fine Arts if you are an UPCAT Non-Qualifier. Enrollees in the Certificate in Fine Arts program are not allowed to shift and must finish the 3-year program. If the enrollee is able to maintain the minimum required grade average, they may opt for another year to obtain a Bachelor’s degree.

For more in-depth information on the application process for the Talent Determination Test, check out this article.


4. Transferring From Another University (T2 Applications)

a. What are Transferee 2 applications?

The T2 application process refers to applicants who have enrolled in another university (besides UP) but wish to transfer and gain admission into UP.

Although not considered as T2 applicants, applicants who have finished an undergraduate degree program in another university (besides UP), but wish to enroll in another undergraduate degree program in UP also fall in the same application process.

Note: Only undergraduate degree programs are considered for T2 applications. Those who wish to enroll in a graduate program will follow a different application process. For more information, contact the OUR (Office of the University Registrar) of the respective UP constituent university.

b. Qualifications

To apply for a T2 application, you must satisfy the following:

  • Must have enrolled in an accredited university (not UP)
  • Must have completed at least 33 academic units in their university
  • Must satisfy the GWA (General Weighted Average) of the degree program applied for
  • Must satisfy other admission requirements prescribed by the degree program applied for

c. How to apply

Step 1. Research early on your target UP campus and degree program.

Start preparing early by choosing which UP campus and degree program you will be aiming for. Different degree programs and UP college units have different requirements so you should always contact the Office of the College Secretary (OCS) of the UP college unit first to know more.

For example: You are currently a student studying at ABC university and would like to transfer to BS Mathematics in UP Diliman. Since you’re applying for UP Diliman, you need to check out the UP Diliman OUR website to know more. 

Here’s a pro tip: you can look for the transferee primer by going to the OUR website or simply by Googling the following keywords: (UP campus) primer (target year of application) to get to the document directly like this:

how to study in up without passing upcat 1

Note: If the primer for the target year of application is not available yet, you may refer to the previous year’s primer for more details. However, it is important to note that the requirements in the primer are subject to change each year depending on the number of slots available. This means that sometimes, a UP college unit may or may not be accepting shiftees or transferees for that academic year.

Once you’re able to view the primer, you should see something like this:

how to study in up without passing upcat 2
Screenshot taken from the UPD 2020 Primer

Take note of the deadlines listed in the primer.

Step 2. Set your target GWA and aim as high as possible.

When there are shiftees and transferees for a degree program, they are ranked according to GWA, subjects taken, individual subject grades, interviews, and other factors depending on the degree program.

To gain an upper hand against your fellow shiftees and transferees, you must obtain a higher GWA than the minimum required. Using the example above, if the BS Math program requires a 1.75 GWA, it’s better to aim for a 1.5 or higher.

To know the GWA equivalence of your university’s grading system, you may refer to the Primer for College Secretaries found on the official OUR website or simply click here.

Step 3. Gather the requirements and apply.

Note: Transferee applications are only accepted every first semester of an academic year.

Following the example above, since the BS Math program is offered by the College of Science, you will need to contact the College of Science through email. You may find out how to contact them by going to the UP college unit’s website.

Although the requirements may change depending on the degree program, you are generally asked to send the following requirements:

  • Accomplished Undergraduate Admission Application Form (at least 2 copies)
  • Certified True Copy of Grades (signed and sealed by the Registrar of your school/university, original)
  • Two (2) copies of 2×2 Photo ID
  • Official Receipt of Application Fee (PHP 100.00)

Another note: Due to the recent pandemic, all transferee applications shall be referred to the OUR for processing in the meantime. This is subject to change based on the current situation. Refer to the OUR website of the target UP campus for more details.

Step 4. Wait for the results of the evaluation.

Once you’ve submitted everything, you will be asked to wait for the results of the evaluation. If you have qualified for a degree program slot, you will be sent an email containing instructions for admissions and additional requirements. The results usually take around 2 weeks or less to be released.

d. Important things to consider

  • Be prepared for a “fresh” start. You are likely to start out with a freshman standing again once you’re enrolled in UP. Even if you shifted from a related or similar course, not all of your subjects will be credited. Take note that only GEs (General Education), PEs, and NSTP can be credited provided that your GE/s and PE/s have an equivalent subject in UP. Otherwise, they will not be credited. 
  • Popular courses are harder to get. This is because of the limited number of slots that open up every year and a large number of shiftees and transferees vying for those slots. Plan out carefully which degree program you want to apply for and make sure your grades are above average.
  • Prepare for a fight. There is a level of priority when it comes to shiftees and transferees for a degree program. The list goes in descending order of priority:

Shiftee 1 (S1) – applicants within the UP college unit as the degree program

Shiftee 2 (S2) – applicants within the same UP campus

Transferee 1 (T1) – applicants from other UP constituent universities

Transferee 2 (T2) – applicants from other universities

Despite having the lowest priority, don’t be discouraged. I personally know a lot of T2 applicants who made it into their dream course. It’s definitely possible.


Tips and Warnings

  • Ask a friend from UP or a UP alumni for tips. If you have a friend who is a student or an alumnus of your target degree program and campus, ask them about updates directly from their home college. If you also know someone who’s a successful T2 applicant, you can get some insight into what they did to get accepted.
  • Don’t give up. If UP is your dream university and you really want to transfer, don’t get intimidated by the limited number of slots and cut-off grade. Just try, apply, and hope for the best. You never know what could happen.

Related: The Ultimate UPCAT Reviewer (with Free Practice Tests and Answer Keys)

Ruth Raganit

Ruth Raganit obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of the Philippines – Diliman. Her love affair with Earth sciences began when she saw a pretty rock and wondered how it came to be. She also likes playing video games, doing digital art, and reading manga.

Browse all articles written by Ruth Raganit

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