Dr. Matthew C. Andrews, Advisor, College Inside Track

Dr. Andrews advises executives and educational leaders as well as individual students and families to reach educational goals. He shows leaders how to build school systems, education technology, and research-based programs for success in education. He conducts research on human development, evaluates school programs, designs innovative curriculum, teaches entrepreneurship, and advises leaders to meet educational goals. Dr. Andrews was the founding middle school administrator and designer of educational programs for the Yew Chung International School of Silicon Valley. 

Dr. Andrews may be best known for his research on Youth Purpose and Good Work at the Stanford Center on Adolescence. He is a revolutionary teacher, administrator, and advisor for schools that defined new standards for the 21st Century, including Bullis Charter School, East Palo Alto Academy, and Singularity University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Child Adolescent Development and Education from Stanford University in 2011, as well as Masters Degrees, Teaching and Administration credentials from the University of Minnesota, University of California, UCSB and UCLA.


Aspiring students, caring parents, wise advisors and policymakers desire the knowledge of admissions processes and policies. UCLA is a public university and foundation for California’s economy, US immigration, and education of California’s citizens along with international elites. Collaborating with prestigious universities, governments, and businesses all over the world, UCLA is at the forefront of technology, science, law, medicine, athletics, performing arts, civic endeavors, and the cultural vitality of people worldwide. Let us research and reflect further on how students are admitted.

UCLA stands as an example that sparks further discussion for professional educators, professors, and policymakers to reflect on the international education system. Admitting diverse students from around the world who demonstrate substantial purposes, UCLA contributes to the intellectual and cultural vitality of California with students who thrive in educational programs offered on campus and online. The university admits accomplished and motivated students of different credentials with a passion to explore all of what UCLA has to offer. There is no formula for admissions, but there are strategies for the right students to optimize the right opportunities and be admitted to the right program.

College admissions in the United States can be confusing because the requirements for specific educational programs, schools, and colleges vary significantly across more than 5,000 institutions. Each admissions requirement is specific to the college, and also to the student’s school context, so a Student Resident of California has a different context than an International or Non-Resident Student. Mentors and educators who can advise aspiring students in the correct coursework, test preparation, and extra-curricular activities within their local, school context, provide great advantages. 

Good grades and test scores are easily quantifiable, but community leadership within the context of a student’s opportunities and challenges is a more allusive concept for many professional educators to grasp. Data drives decisions for many school leaders, while advisors need to reflect upon the long-term scope of preparing students for career and life. 

A University with Colleges, Schools, Departments and Major Programs

UCLA is a public University that comprises many different colleges and schools with particular knowledge and resources that are divided into Departments. At present, there are 109 Academic Departments and more than 125 Majors at UCLA. Aspiring students need to know where they want to go!

Admissions to Graduate School most likely requires an Undergraduate Degree and is the best course of study for aspiring professionals, including engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, and professors. Admissions requirements and review processes vary by the college within UCLA, and also across colleges in the US, so it will help to detail a few specific examples at UCLA. International students that are admitted to graduate school and continuing studies at UCLA are often at various stages of their career; however, they all must meet the particular prerequisites of the particular school of study.

The strategy for successful admissions is to know the right school for the right student at the right time. Students and advisers can further research admissions requirements online, right now. The higher education system in California is designed so that UCLA is one of many universities that is directly connected to state and community colleges.

Academic Rigor, Cultural and Intellectual Vitality, and Community Leadership

Universities, such as UCLA, are a multiplicity with functions including academic, scientific, intellectual, multidisciplinary, multicultural, research, innovation, leadership training, and progress for humanity.  Wise advisors know how to place students in the right place at the right time along their career track while savvy school leaders enlist the whole community in preparation for students. Focus on 3 priorities in college preparation:

  1. Complete Prerequisite, Highly Rigorous Coursework in Career Direction
  2. Complete Qualifying Tests or Tasks for Particular School 
  3. Demonstrate Accomplishments and Motivation to Contribute to Something Greater

The coursework, tests, tasks, and accomplishments may be more standard for Undergraduate Education while the prerequisites for Graduate Education vary significantly, so we understand that the program to become a Dentist has different prerequisites than one to become an Aerospace Engineer. Policymakers attend to the inherent biases in recruitment and potential consequences of the selection process. Aspiring students need to research and begin early for college and careers, so they may take the inside track through college!

An applicant must demonstrate proof that she/he is capable of contributing to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the university. A transcript from a secondary school or college is sufficient to demonstrate performance in coursework; however, students must complete particular coursework to meet the prerequisites of a particular college program. UCLA Undergraduate Admissions and many other colleges assign a higher value to more rigorous coursework than standard tracks.

Policies and deadlines are specific to college programs, many students do apply to US colleges while they are in secondary school and apply to Transfer. In India many students are interested in Computer Science at various stages of their career, so UCLA Admissions states that “Students enrolled in the India or Pakistan post-secondary system must apply as undergraduates unless they have earned a Bachelor’s degree in engineering or a Master’s degree in any other area, in which case they should apply for admission to a graduate program.”  

The policy for California residents is different from international students, so some international students become residents, however, policy states, “Transfer students who were classified as residents of California at their previous school should not assume that they will be classified as residents at UCLA.” Students, families, and educators benefit from knowing educational policies regarding admissions, coursework, testing, and finance.

In addition to meeting coursework requirements, most Undergraduate applicants to UCLA need to demonstrate academic proficiency on an entrance exam by taking either the SAT or ACT. Furthermore, students whose instructional language in secondary school is not primarily English will also need to demonstrate proficiency with a test, either TOEFL or IELTS. The acronyms can be overwhelming, and the coursework and testing requirements vary for Undergraduate, Transfer, and Graduate Admissions, so students need the right strategy.

A student’s grades in coursework and score on a standardized test are easily quantified and compared; however, understanding the caliber and model of accomplished and motivated leaders sought by US colleges can be more allusive. One of the multiple missions of UCLA is to train global leaders, so the admissions processes are designed to select diverse students with the greatest potential to contribute to the vitality of the university and community after graduation. Students and advisors will benefit from research on admissions requirements to gain insights into preparing for UCLA and other colleges.

Admissions officers seek applicants that are authentic and genuine, who act with integrity and greater purpose; however, these personal qualities are not easily quantified. The website for UCLA Admissions explains:

“UCLA expects an application to be the work of the student and any deviation violates University policy which may lead to rejection of application materials, revocation of an admission offer, cancellation of admission, or involuntary withdrawal from the University. There is no formula for gaining admission to UCLA. Students with vastly different credentials come from thousands of secondary schools across the country and around the world. What unifies our students are the talents they bring to UCLA and their passion to explore all that UCLA has to offer.”

Admissions to Graduate Education requires more particular prerequisite coursework, tests, tasks, and achievements that Undergraduate applications. The capstone of graduate studies is unique dissertation research that contributes to a field of study and professorships; or, professional students complete required graduate coursework to qualify for state examinations within the field, such as state boards and residency in Medicine, Law, Engineering, and Education.

The many Graduate Schools at UCLA train professionals while Continuing Education provides opportunities for professionals to learn throughout their career and life. The requirements for admissions are specific to field and profession. The capstone of research-based programs, including Biology and Psychology, is the dissertation of unique research that contributes to a particular field of study; most students in the sciences earn a Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D., after years of research following their Bachelor of Science, B.S. degrees; however there is no need to be overwhelmed with acronyms, we find humor reminding them that their B.S. is Piled Higher and Deeper with a Ph.D. Graduate School and Continuing Education are at the forefront of training professional leaders. 

How to Prepare for Undergraduate Admissions in the United States

First, research the prerequisites to the particular college program of interest. UCLA is a public institution and tends to be more transparent than most, as it can be easier to find public information. Terms may vary, but aspiring students can research for themselves, “Freshmen Selection” and “Profile of Admitted Freshmen” at a particular college, such as “Freshmen Selection at the University of California, Berkeley,” to find more detailed information.

UCLA, UC Berkeley, and universities comprise of many smaller colleges, so most professionals have multiple degrees, Undergraduate and Graduate degrees. School is only a step toward the bigger picture with greater purpose; consider, many prolific inventors in technology were not preparing for a particular degree in computer science. They had a passion for solving problems with software and a greater purpose to learn quickly to improve people’s lives with technology. Many inventors learned how to learn many years before applying to college.

The Colleges, Schools, Academic Departments, and Majors that comprise UCLA are designed to train the next generation of leaders, conduct research in particular fields, and educate for the greater good through the distribution of information to the public. Students admitted to UCLA excel in academics, demonstrate leadership beyond the classroom, and enact personal qualities during times of crisis to adapt, adjust and accommodate to contribute to their community.

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