How to Study in UP if I Didn’t Pass the UPCAT?

UP’s entrance exam, known as the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) is a comprehensive, challenging, and tough exam to take.

Some questions may appear easy and downright simple to answer, but once your score is compared with thousands of other applicants, you need to have an ultra-high UPCAT score in order to be ranked ahead of other examinees. Take note, too, that the UPCAT exam is just one part of the admission equation; your entire high school grades, as the other element in the admission formula, matter as well.

So congrats if you’ll pass the UPCAT and will soon be a UP student! We’re sure that you worked really hard for it.

But if you won’t be able to make it, don’t fret. There are other options that you might want to consider if you still want to enroll in the University of the Philippines (UP).

* For more detailed steps on how to study in UP if you did not pass UPCAT, click this link: 7 ways to become a legit UP student without passing the UPCAT


How to study in UP without passing the UPCAT

How to study in UP if you didn’t pass the UPCAT

1. Through International Qualifications

Any Filipino citizen or foreign applicant who has graduated (or is graduating) from a secondary school / high school in another country, and has not enrolled in any college yet, may be admitted to UP by automatic admission OR by taking the UPCAT.

An international applicant may apply for automatic admission if the applicant meets the following requirements:

1. Completion of a high school program in the country where s/he had secondary education (including the completion of a one- or two-year pre-university education in a country where such is a prerequisite for admission to a bachelor’s degree program); AND

2. Qualifications for college admission by any of the following national or international foreign-administered examinations: the SAT, OR the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Examination, OR the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB), OR other equivalent examinations approved by UP.

a. SAT: (scores must not have been taken more than 4 years before application)

Minimum SAT Scores Old SAT Redesigned SAT
TOTAL SCORE 1200 1270
Math 600 620
Critical Reading 600
Evidence-based Writing + Critical Reading 650

b. GCE: 2 ordinary (O) level passes and 3 advanced (A) level passes; OR

c. International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma

3. In the case of an applicant whose native language or whose medium of instruction in the secondary school is not English, a minimum score (500 if paper based or 173 if computer based) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

2. Through the Iskolar ng Bayan Program

If you’re a Filipino citizen from the Top 10 of the graduating classes of public high schools in the Philippines, you may apply for automatic admission as a first year UP student, provided other UP admission requirements are met, as provided by a transitory provision of the Iskolar ng Bayan Law of 2014.

All eligible applicants must indicate their campus and degree program of choice. Applicants who prefer a campus outside their region DO NOT QUALIFY for automatic admission under the Iskolar ng Bayan program and will have to take the UPCAT for admission. Be aware that there are limited slots per campus for the Iskolar ng Bayan Program.

3. Through the VAAS Program

The Varsity Athletic Admission System (VAAS), administered by the College of Human Kinetics of UP Diliman, is an selective admission program that intends to recruit exemplary “athletes, Filipiniana dancers, and pep squad members who may not have taken or may not have passed the UPCAT.”

Applicants are required to undergo several tryouts for weeks, depending on the team that they want to enter. Once accepted, VAAS students are required to represent UP in national or international sports competitions in order to maintain their status as UP students. Aside from their obligation as participants in various competitions, they must enroll in five academic subjects every semester for two semesters per academic year. VAAS awardees must also pass four out of five subjects every sem.

4. Through the Talent Determination Test (TDT)

Are you a talented singer, musician, painter, sculptor, visual artist, and the like? Then you may be admitted to UP via the Talent Determination Test (without having to take the UPCAT). The College of Music and College of Fine Arts in UP Diliman administer the TDT. Think of it as similar to X Factor or Pilipinas Got Talent or American Idol or The Voice. You need to prove that you are “talented” in order to be given a slot as a UP student. Inquire with the UP Diliman College of Fine Arts or College of Music if you are interested to take the TDT.

More details here: Schedule of Talent Determination Test (TDT) 2018 in UP Diliman

5. Through the Wait List

Not all UPCAT passers decide to enroll in UP. Because of that, some colleges will have extra slots originally allotted to the exam passers. Prior to the registration period, these slots are sometimes given to other UPCAT examinees whose UPCAT score is close to the college’s cut-off score.

Simply inquire with the UP Office of the University Registrar (OUR) to know which colleges have a waiting list which can accommodate you. Or you may inquire directly with any college you prefer to ask if they have a wait list. Some colleges fill up all slots before the registration period and, sometimes, they call or email students in the wait list to ensure slots are completely filled up. This may be your chance, so inquire with the OUR or the college directly if you can be part of the wait list!

6. By Transferring to UP After 1 or 2 Years in Another University

Even if you’ve been studying already in another university, if you’re still dreaming of becoming a UP student, you may still be admitted to UP by becoming a Transfer student.

Any student from other universities may apply for transfer to any UP campus after earning 33 academic units in another school with a weighted average of 2.00 or better as translated on the UP marking system. These, however, are just the minimum qualifications. Whether you will eventually be admitted to your desired college will depend on that college’s transfer admission policy.

For additional details regarding the transfer procedures to UP, please contact the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) of the respective UP constituent university.

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