UPCAT RESULT: 7 Ways to become UP student if you didn’t pass UPCAT


Congratulations to all UPCAT passers for AY 2019-2020!

The University of the Philippines (UP) has confirmed that results of the UPCAT or UP College Admission Test, held last October 2018, will be made available “in the next few days”. This means the much-awaited UPCAT results will likely be posted during the first week of April.

According to the official announcement of the UP System:

The UP System Office of Admissions will soon be releasing the UPCAT 2019 results. You are requested to visit our website upcat.up.edu.ph regularly in the next few days for the announcement of the release.

From the University of the Philippines (UP) Facebook page and official website

Are you excited to know the UPCAT results? Check out our informative UPCAT guide below while you’re waiting for the official announcement.

UPCAT Result 2019 and List of Passers

UPCAT Passing Rate

Historically, the UPCAT passing rate is around 16%, which means only 16 out of every 100 applicants get to become a UP student.

This low admission rate goes to show that the UP selection process is very stringent and indeed limited only to the best and brightest high school students in the country. Take a look at the number of UPCAT qualifiers versus the total number of applicants from 2015 to 2018 below.

Number of UPCAT Applicants vs. Passers

YearNo. of UPCAT PassersNo. of ApplicantsUPCAT Passing Rate
2019To be announced soon!167,000Likely less than 10%
201814,354103,00013.9%
20171,5916,02026.4%
20161,5585,04630.9%
201514,99888,55416.9%

Data source: UP Office of Admissions and Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs

The table above is interesting for a number of reasons.

One, the total number of applicants this coming academic year 2019-2020 was the highest ever in the history of UP. According to UP Vice President for Public Affairs Dr. Jose Dalisay, Jr, in an interview by ABS-CBN, applications rose from 103,000 in 2018 to a jaw-dropping 167,000 UPCAT applicants in 2019, primarily due to the “Free Tuition” policy now implemented in UP. This means the affordable cost of education in UP has likely become a big come-on to graduating high school students and their parents.

Two, because of the overwhelming number of UPCAT takers, given that UP will likely not change the number of admitted students this year and will most probably stick to the annual number of 15,000+ admitted students as in previous years, this year’s UPCAT passing rate will surely to go down. We expect the UPCAT passing rate in 2019 to fall below 10% — much lower from its normal average of 16%.

Three, UP had two years of erratic number of applicants, qualifiers, and passing rates during the years 2016 and 2017. As can be seen in the table above, UP received a total of 5,000 to 6,000 applications during those two years — sharp declines from the 88,554 applications just a year before, in 2015.

The number of admitted students were also small — 1,558 in 2016 and 1,591 in 2017 — way, way below the historical average of 15,000 admitted students from previous years. With a small number of admitted students divided by the much, much smaller number of applications, the UPCAT passing rate in 2016 and 2017 rose to 30.9% and 26.4%, respectively — clearly an aberration from the normal average of 15-16%.

These erratic years were a product of the K-12 senior high school transition implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd), which saw UPCAT applicants come only from a handful of schools that were previously given approval by the DepEd to implement K-12 transition programs.

Because of this K-12 transition policy, thousands of secondary schools, including most public high schools in the country, had to retain their students for two additional years, in 2016 and in 2017, so that students can take Grade 11 and Grade 12 prior to high school graduation.

Because of this, a staggering 99% of UPCAT qualifiers in 2016 came from private schools as reported by ABS-CBN. Out of the 1,558 applicants who passed the UPCAT, only seven (7) — yes, seven! — were from public high schools in the Philippines. The rest of UPCAT passers, totaling 1,551, were graduates of private high schools.

No. 1 course choice in UP: BSBAA

Which course is constantly the favorite top choice among UPCAT applicants? Data shows that in the past years, the top degree programs of choice (meaning, the courses with the most number of UPCAT applicants) include:

  1. BS Business Administration & Accountancy (BSBAA)
  2. BS Business Administration (BSBA)

For several years now, the number 1 course in UP chosen by thousands of UPCAT applicants nationwide is the BSBAA program, with more than 9,000 applicants every year (including 7,000+ 1st Choice and 2,000+ 2nd Choice applicants).

BSBAA if top course choice in UP

BSBAA is a five-year quota degree program admitting only 100 students every year. That means the passing rate in BSBAA is a very low 1%! Only 1 out of 100 applicants successfully gets admitted into the BSBAA program. We’ll see if this trend will remain in this year’s UPCAT.

UPCAT Passers: Males vs. Females

This is another interesting trivia about the UPCAT: every year, female high school graduates outnumber males in terms of passing the UPCAT.

This was based on a study published by Thinking Machines, which shows that “for the past seven years, women have consistently outnumbered men three to one among UPCAT passers.”

Every year from 2012 to 2015, for instance, around 60% of UPCAT passers were females, while only around 40% were males. The gap only narrowed in 2016 and 2017 during the irregular K-12 transition years, but in 2018, the gender gap returned to “normal”.

See below this interesting gender disparity among UPCAT passers.

More females pass the UPCAT than males

More females pass the UPCAT than males

Year% of Male UPCAT Passers% of Female UPCAT Passers
201841%59%
201747%53%
201648%52%
201540%60%
201440%60%
201339%61%
201237%63%

How to study in UP even if you did not pass UPCAT

Without a doubt, there is a tough and rigorous competition for admission in UP. Very, very few applicants, therefore, are given a chance to study in UP.

Worse, the UPCAT passing rate in 2019 is expected to decline to less than 10% from 16% in previous years. This is because of the overwhelmingly high number of UPCAT applicants estimated by the UP Office of Admissions to have reached 167,000 for A.Y. 2019-2020.

As such, once the UPCAT results are released, thousands of high school graduates will unfortunately have to contend with the fact that they won’t be admitted to their desired UP campus.

But fret not, because there are other valid methods for admission. Here are seven (7) alternative methods that will enable a UP hopeful to enter the University of the Philippines as a legitimate student.

How to study in UP if you did not pass UPCAT

1. Through the “Iskolar ng Bayan” Law

Thanks to Republic Act No. 10648 (RA 10648), also known as the “Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014”, several public high school students will gain automatic admission to a UP university in the region where they reside.

Specifically, the Top 10 graduates of public high schools in the Philippines are automatically admitted to a UP campus located in the same region as their high school. In fact, there is no need for them to take the UPCAT anymore. Take note that this rule applies only to top 10 graduates of public high schools; graduates of private schools do not have this privilege.

At the same time, the rule of automatic admission under the “Iskolar ng Bayan” law allows eligible students to enroll only in a UP campus in the same region as their high school.

For example, a public high school student, who graduated No. 3 in a public high school in Davao City (located in Region XI in Mindanao), will be allowed automatic admission only to UP Mindanao — the UP campus located near Region XI in Mindanao. The student will not be granted automatic admission to any other campus (UP Diliman, UP Manila, or UPLB, etc.). Students, of course, may still apply for admission but they must take and pass the UPCAT to be able to enroll in any of those campuses.

How to avail of Automatic Admission under “Iskolar ng Bayan” law

The primary qualifications to be able to avail the automatic admission privilege under RA 10648 (Iskolar ng Bayan program) are as follows:

  • 1. a Filipino citizen;
  • 2. enrolling for the first time in college and has no credited previous college work;
  • 3. has completed Grade 12 and graduated from any public high school in the country within two years prior to 2018-2019;
  • 4. must provide a certification from the public high school, duly signed by the school principal that the student belongs to the Top 10 of the graduating class; and
  • 5. must choose the UP campus located in the region where the student resides or where the high school is located.

2. By filing an Appeal Letter

Very few applicants know this, but even if you failed the UPCAT, it is possible to get in to the University of the Philippines (UP) by filing an appeal or by submitting a request for reconsideration.

Many of the UPCAT qualifiers eventually decide not to enroll, which means their slots open up and are made available to other applicants. If you failed to be admitted to the course or degree program of your choice, you may file an appeal for admission to the UP Office of the University Registrar (OUR). If your UPG or University Predicted Grade is within the cut-off UPG of the campus and your desired course has available slots, you may luckily be admitted. I personally know dozens of students and graduates who entered UP via this route.

To submit an appeal, you must visit the Registrar’s Office of the UP campus and present your “Non-Qualifier’s Slip” which you received via postal mail. Be warned, though, because there is no guarantee of acceptance since the admission decision will depend on: (1) your UPG; (2) the cut-off admission UPG of the campus; and (3) availability of slots in the program.

3. By being part of the “Waiting List”

All UPCAT applicants are force-ranked, by UPG, in the degree program of their choice. For example, if a quota course such as the BS Business Administration and Accountancy (BSBAA) only accepts 100 students, the college will rank, based on UPG, and admit the top 100 students who chose BSBAA program as their first choice.

Some of the qualifiers, however, will not enroll in UP probably because they have decided to study in another university or that they will pursue studies abroad. As a consequence, the 100 student quota won’t get filled up. The college, in some cases, will decide to admit “waitlisted” students in order to meet the program quota. If this happens, they will contact those applicants in the “wait list” — that is, students ranked No. 101 or 102 or 103 and so on — and offer them a slot.

There is nothing you can do, unfortunately, but to simply wait since this is solely dependent on the decision of the college. But you may follow up with the UP Office of the University Registrar (OUR) to inquire if the college you applied to is accommodating and processing waitlisted students.

4. By applying to the Varsity Program

Are you a top-notch athlete, dancer, or cheerleader?

If so, you may be eligible to become a UP student even if you did not pass the UPCAT via the Varsity Athletic Admission System or VAAS program of UP Diliman’s College of Human Kinetics.

This Varsity program aims to recruit “exemplary athletes, Filipiniana dancers, and pep squad members” who will have an obligation to represent the university in national or international sports competition. The VAAS tryouts follow a tough and selective admission, so make sure that you’ll stand out and will prove to be one of the best. Varsity applicants undergo several rigorous tryouts which may last for weeks.

Varsity Program Application Requirements

To apply, you must submit these requirements to the assigned team coach prior to the scheduled tryouts:

  • 1. Original copy of your UPCAT result (must have obtained UPG grade of 2.80 or better);
  • 2. Photocopy of Grade 12 report card;
  • 3. Personal Information sheet (if you are already accepted by the coach)
  • 4. If you did not take the UPCAT, submit Certified True Copy of Grades during your entire stay in high school. Your weighted average should be at least 85%.
  • 5. Certificate of athletic/dance achievements from your former coach, if any;
  • 6. Photocopy of birth certificate;
  • 7. Contract to be submitted (3 copies) to the Sports Program Office, if you are already accepted by the coach
  • 8. For transferees from other universities: Submit Transcript of Records from your current university and all other requirements above, except for the Grade 12 report card. You must have completed 33 units, with a weighted average of 2.5, in your current university to apply.

As a Varsity student, you still have academic obligations just like any other UP student. Thus, you are required to:

  • enroll in at least five (5) academic subjects every semester for two semesters per academic year; and
  • pass at least 4 out of 5 subjects every sem.

Contact UP Diliman’s College of Human Kinetics (CHK) if you’re interested to apply in the Varsity program. CHK’s contact details are as follows:

5. By taking the Talent Determination Test

Do you have the “X Factor” or the makings of an “Idol Philippines”? Or perhaps you’re the next Ryan Cayabyab (National Artist for Music), Guillermo Tolentino (National Artist for Visual Arts), or Larry Alcala (National Artist for Visual Arts)?

If you’ve got the talent, then you can use it to enter UP via the Talent Determination Test (TDT). The TDT is administered in UP Diliman by two colleges: College of Fine Arts (CFA) and College of Music. You only need to undergo and pass auditions in order to earn a slot. Be ready, though, because the auditions will surely be highly competitive since you’ll be competing for limited slots with other highly talented applicants.

The TDT (Talent Determination Test) is usually scheduled in May every year, right before the opening of classes in August, but make sure you contact the College of Music or College of Fine Arts for the exact TDT audition schedules:

6. Via International Qualifications

If you’re a Filipino (or a foreign citizen) who has graduated or is graduating from a secondary school in another country and has not enrolled yet in any college program, you may be admitted as a full-time UP student without having to take the UPCAT.

Automatic admission to UP is possible for international applicants who can meet 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 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;
  • 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).

7. By applying as a Transferee from another university

Transfer admission is possible only for students who have spent at least one year in another college or university in the Philippines. The specific requirement is that the applicant, at the time of application, should have already earned 33 academic units in another school with a weighted average of 2.00 or better.

The 33 academic units are only the minimum requirement, though, since some colleges have stricter criteria or additional requirements. Take note that not all colleges in UP accept transferees from other universities. You will need to contact the Office of the University Registrar of the respective UP campus for more details regarding the transferee application.

UPCAT Results 2019: List of Passers for A.Y. 2019-2020

Excited to find out if you passed the UPCAT? The final list of passers will released this week since UP has confirmed this in their official announcement:

For UPCAT 2019 Examinees:

The UP System Office of Admissions will soon be releasing the UPCAT 2019 results. You are requested to visit our website upcat.up.edu.ph regularly in the next few days for the announcement of the release.

Official Announcement from the University of the Philippines (UP)

To motivate you, here’s a screenshot of the UPCAT list of passers last year, showing qualifiers and incoming freshmen for AY 2018-2019. You will be part of the list of passers for AY 2019-2020, just believe!

UPCAT list of passers
UPCAT list of passers

Are you going to be the next batch of UP students? The official results will be released and announced in the UPCAT website (upcat.up.edu.ph), and we will re-post the UPCAT 2019 list of passers here as well — so stay tuned!

Mabuhay ang mga bagong Iskolar ng Bayan!


2 thoughts on “UPCAT RESULT: 7 Ways to become UP student if you didn’t pass UPCAT”

  1. May other way pa ba para makapag enrol sa fine arts kahit na hindi ako nakapasa ng TDT? Please reply, I need answers…I really want to take UP fine arts ?

  2. Joseph Romeo E. Alfaras

    Im a graduate already of a private university here in Iloilo.. I didnt pass a long time ago sa UPCAT exam, thats why I decided to study elsewhere aside from UP. But now im planning to pursue another degree in Music, im afraid that I will not be able to be take UPCAT exam again… Is it still possible to take UPCAT? even if 5 yrs ago I was not able to make it?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top