It’s a good idea to prepare for the UPCAT. Sometimes, however, people can put too much emphasis on it, especially when there are other ways of getting into UP without taking the UPCAT or without passing it.
If you’re absolutely determined to attend the state university, you may want to consider taking a certificate course, such as music or fine arts. A number of UP colleges offer these, and they will readily accept you provided you pass their screening processes.
Your best bet would be to inquire at the college of your choice because the specific processes tend to vary across colleges. Nevertheless, a common ingredient involves passing a talent determination test of your more artistic capabilities.
Depending on your UPCAT performance, it’s also possible to get in if your grades are near the cut-off to get you waitlisted. While it seems that everyone and their mother wants to get into UP, the reality is that some people will give up a highly-coveted slot in favor of another course or another school, and you can take that if it’s available. It will take a certain amount of patient waiting and good timing, but it can be done.
The key is to keep the communication lines open between you and the department of your course of choice. They will inform you if a slot opens up for you. While waiting, you may want to shift to another course (ask the department for one that doesn’t lock you to it) in the meantime and then shift back to your original choice. Even if that slot doesn’t open up, you still have a choice of pursuing the same course in one of the other UP satellite campuses.
If you’d rather not wait and jump into college life straight away, you also have the option of attending another college (another UP campus if you make its cut-off or another university if you don’t) in the meantime. You can then transfer back to Diliman once you’ve earned enough units (specifically 33 academic units, usually in a year or so) and you’ve maintained an average there equivalent to UP’s 2.0 or higher.
Finally, there’s one other way for foreign students: if you’ve taken your SAT and you have a grade of at least 1200 in Critical Reading and Math, then UP will accept that in place of the UPCAT. There’s a catch, however: you can only choose from a limited number of courses. What’s more, you’ll only be allowed to do this after the UPCAT takers have chosen their courses.
If the UPCAT isn’t your cup of tea, don’t despair. There’s more than one way to get into the state university. Pray for wisdom and guidance, take a look at the options available to you, make your choice and keep trying!