College Entrance Tests in Some Philippine Universities

How well did you fare at the UPCAT given last August 3 and 4? How was the experience? Difficult? Taxing? Nerve-wracking? I am sure it was. Well, it’s got be. It’s a ticket for an entry to the premier University here in our country.

It’s quite an advantage for seniors (graduating high school students) that University of the Philippines had scheduled the UPCAT Continue reading

Guide in Choosing A College University


This is a Guest Post by R. Marcelo

So, you passed the UPCAT, the ACET, the Freshmen Admissions Test at DLSU, the USTET and other college entrance tests given by other prominent universities here in our country.


It was another step heading towards achieving your goals.

What will be your next step? Getting ready for college life? A more challenging phase in every student’s life.

But, have you made up your mind on which university to choose?  Considering you passed all the Big Four’s college entrance tests?

I would want to help you with your dilemma. However, given that you are qualified to enroll in those schools, honestly, you’ll be on a roller-coaster decision process. Oh! My. The Big Four (UP, ADMU, DLSU, and UST) are considered the top universities here in our country. For the past consecutive years, all four have been included in the top 500 world university rankings conducted by international university ranking entities in the world.

How lucky and bright your future will be when you get to be accepted into one of these top caliber universities.

How will you decide?

Let me take you on a brief summary about the Big Four.

Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU)

Who wouldn’t want to experience collegiate life in Ateneo? Walk the ground at the Loyola campus with your latest gadgets and have conyo chit-chats with your schoolmates. Sosyal^_^.

If you prefer to be an Atenista and don their Blue Eagles shirt, prepare for a semestral academic classes (2 semesters per school year) paying 70k plus (Philippine pesos) on tuition costs per semester. Tuition fees at Ateneo.

So, if you happen to pass the ACET and got a good scoring, it will be indicated how much tuition are you going to pay (percentage discounts). And, even if it is a premier private school with staggering fees, they also offer 100% full scholarship and other stipends to deserving students. However, you’ll be facing tough competition in securing scholarship as there are many student applicants every year. Because, truly, the university upholds their foremost objective: Ateneans aim for excellence.

Please do check out ADMU website on the scheduled confirmation dates of your enrollment. And also, it is important to check out what are the necessary requirements to bring on the said appointment date. Reservation fee for your slot is 4k PHP. This is waived when you decide not to enroll in the school.

De La Salle University (DLSU)

Choosing to be a Green Archer means you’ll be gasping in awe each day you set foot in the Taft Avenue branch -engineering marvels on every edifice particularly those newly constructed. DLSU took pride in giving quality education and providing top-notch facilities to the students.

At DLSU, they’ve adopted the trimestral academic calendar, meaning there’s classes all year round cut into at least 12 weeks per semester. Tuition costs at DLSU vary on the programs taken. Undergraduate courses may be between 40k-50k per semester. The university offer grants, scholarship and discounts to deserving students.

If you happen to elect DLSU as your undergraduate program university, check on their website for the date needed to confirm your enrollment. The university is charging 5k PHP as reservation fee for the slot provided for you. Same as in Ateneo, reservation fee is waived when you decide not to enroll but the same amount is credited to your tuition costs when you decide to enroll.

University of Santo Tomas (UST)

A National Historical Landmark, UST is the oldest university here in our country. Pass through the Arc of the Centuries, is an event conducted to formally welcome every freshmen into the campus. At UST, you get to experience their most popular event, The Paskuhan, which is a night of student festivities. UST has the most diverse undergraduate program along with UP, of course. Check out their website how much is tuition costs on every academic programs.

University of the Philippines (UP) –Peyups

Considered as the “premier” university in the Philippines. This is a state-run university. Meaning it is given allocation from the national budget. The reason why the university can support as many students, the Iskolar ng Bayan. Hence, application/admission process (the UPCAT itself) is very competitive. Certain grade predictors along with the UPCAT score is considered in every applicant.

Once you’re chosen UP, expect loads of xeroxes (textbooks aren’t required to be purchased) and many hours reading in the library. There’s no uniform required in UP except in some campuses and/or degree programs. So, haul up on more jeans and shirts into your closet especially if you’ve gotten a slot in UP Diliman. The biggest branch in the whole UP System. The one with a bigger dormitory, too.

For tuition costs at UP, as I said, budget is provided by the government. However, tuition is not AT ALL FREE AT UP. Tuition and other expenses are subsidized by the government and as part of the socialized tuition (STFAP) the cost of tuition a student pays depends on the family’s income. Thus, the lower your family’s income is, the lower is your tuition fee. The highest payment I made for one full semester is around 13k pesos (19 units).

I hope I helped out even with the short information I have stated here. Deciding for a college university is for you and your parents to decide -weighing all the factors: tuition costs, school facilities, accessibility, university vision. However, decision ultimately rest solely on you -your goals, your dreams. When you know what you want to achieve, definitely, you’ll reach the decision what would be the best university for you.

Here’s few blogposts my mom writes hereon which led me to the university where I am now…These may help in your quest.

Preparation for College -College Entrance Test and more

Deciding on a University

Registration and Enrollment Day

How Much is the Tuition Costs -STFAP and Bracket syatem

By sharing your thoughts and plans to your parents, they may be able to help you decide. Choosing a college university is crucial. For, it will be one of the deciding factor in finding a sustainable career for you.

Guest Author:

R. Marcelo
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biology Class 2012
University of the Philippines- Baguio

Secondary Education: Bongabon National High School Class 2008

Good luck graduates.


Feel free to click on the comment section below this post to write down your queries and I will happily reply back the soonest.

(Indicate your name/email on the box provided)

Many thanks.

Surviving the UPCAT

Guest post by Jus Marbella, a UP alumnus

Barely a month from now, those who aspire to enter the premiere university in the country will once again battle it out in perhaps the most prestigious exams for would-be college students—the University of the Philippines College Admission Test. This year, UPCAT is slated on August 4 and 5, according to the University’s Academic calendar posted in its website.

Just the thought that, five years ago, I myself tackled perhaps the most challenging exam in my life gives me chills. I remember how I woke up very early in the morning, praying hard that I will survive the UPCAT. My father drove me to the testing center, which was 45 minutes away from our home, and on the way I was browsing a science book hoping that I could inject additional knowledge in my brain at the last minute.

But I was wrong. My mind was no longer able to accommodate more information on how the gravity is able to put things stick on earth’s surface, or how this chemical causes this chemical to combust. My mind was racing with thoughts like, “Can I ace this one hell of an exam?” “Will I be able to answer the questions?” and “How is it going to be like.”

But there was no point asking those questions to myself, because just the next moment, I found myself writing my name on a sheet then shading rows of circles. The atmosphere in the testing room was just so intense that all my co-examinees are all-eyes on their papers. There was good three to four hours before I finished answering. And the moment I passed my sheet, I was feeling tired and sluggish. Maybe the exam sheets sucked up all my energy, I told myself.

Then came the results. It was my classmate who told me that the results are out, and she already has did the favor of looking my name on the list. I don’t know if I ever thanked my classmate, because the moment she told me I passed, I was over the moon. So on June 2008, I entered UP and became a full-fledged Iskolar ng Bayan.

To UPCAT takers this August, some tips:

  1. Relax. There is no use getting tensed the whole time you are taking the exam. Your trembling hands might make you shade the letter C, when the correct answer was really D.
  2. Sleep the night before. This is a standard rule in taking any exam, not just the UPCAT.
  3.  Review Sessions are not the sole key to passing the exam. Well, they may help you increase your chances of passing. But these sessions sometimes are unreasonably pricey, which is ironic since you are aiming to enter a cheap school.
  4. Pray. Ask help and guidance from the One who gave you all the knowledge after all. Divine intervention is all that matters for some people, like me.

See, an average student like I am who didn’t even took review classes passed the UPCAT and eventually survived my undergraduate program at UP.

Good luck on the examinees this year. Hope you will make it to meet “oble”…

wearing the Sablay

a challenge in choosing a university program

Is your daughter taking up  nursing degree? I have been asked that question longer than I can recall. Starting when the daughter graduated in high school in 2008, she was also frequently asked what would be her planned degree course. She performed much better in her Science classes than in Math subjects. Though, she didn’t have concrete plans, it always played on her mind the dream of becoming a doctor. She knew also that in our current capacity, we couldn’t afford to send her to med school. Thus, when UPCAT application came in, applicants must check the appropriate campus choices with corresponding program choices, too.

On the UPCAT application form, we prioritized UP Manila Campus where she picked Nursing degree as her first priority course, then Public Health as the second program.  For the second campus choice, she checked on UP Baguio campus and selecting Biology as the priority degree program.

Gladly, she passed the UPCAT, but not the Nursing degree which she primarily preferred.

Before sending out the application form, we knew how hard is it to passed the examination and we knew for a fact that nursing programs will be the top choice among graduating high school examinees, as well. Hence, we knew it was like picking a needle under the haystack when we selected the nursing degree at UP. Because UP runs on a government budget, it could only offer UPCAT passers few available slots for the quota degrees. Nursing degree, being included in that quota degree.

She may never get to enroll in her first choice of program. But, we’re glad she had made it to UP. Now, in her senior year, I asked her if she would still wanted to pursue nursing. “I never wanted to take Nursing. I wanted to become a doctor.” she replied.

Let’s see. She has a full year ahead of her to decide.

(admission and guidelines for UPCAT)

issues and my nostalgia

The growing debate over RH Bill has been alarmingly DISAPPOINTING, far as I am concerned. If one should have the time to read (RE: READ) its context, no doubt that the purposes should it be implemented, is of  great significance. POPULATION CONTROL. No doubt, as it is the main target of the bill. Digging deep and UNDERSTANDING the proponents, twas where my DOUBTS in this bureaucratic and corrupt government system lies. We’re going nowhere but the dogs.


I digress…

Watching local news last night, I caught up the swift reaction of viewers in Jessica Soho’s previous report about how an aspiring UPCAT passer wanting to study in the Philippines’ premier state university, UP. But, tuition cost prevented the UP aspirant from enrolling because her parents couldn’t afford P7 k plus tuition cost. Her story was aired by Jessica Soho (VIDEO HERE) the other night and last night came the news that one good samaritan offered her free four-year scholarship.

Miss Soho reported also how many UPCAT passers weren’t able to enroll at UP because of tuition costs. I guess, with this issue , the government should review the educational system while waiting for the fate of the RH Bill. I always believed that education puts one person an edge over somebody, let alone A GOOD EDUCATION.

Though UP made it to the top 200 top universities in Asia, it is saddening that most universities/schools we have (not to mention those fly-by-night schools) can only produce more profits to the owners but producing less competitive graduates. Sorry.

For my part, I wished to teach my kids values/morals that they can never learn inside campuses. Armed with tenets, I wished to make my kids be of good example to other kids in the communities and not  be juvenile delinquents. Please Lord.

My mom used to be a teacher when she was alive. She used to teach at a far-flung village here in our town. She’s my first teacher. Teaching me ABC’s and 123’s. Though, she may be busy neglecting my homework, she was always there guiding me, giving me enough courage to excel in school. She would often tell me, “if others can, so do you, and you can go further”. That was her most USED PHRASE. I so missed her, MY FAVORITE TEACHER.

These were my photos in grade school. Mom was always a proud mom accompanying me every recognition day even if it meant skipping her own class. On my elementary graduation, I personally asked dad to escort me on the stage.

I missed my mom, and my dad, too. Dad may not be the best father figure I have, but very thankful that through him, I had been given this chance to live and share life beautifully with the family I have now.


UP Bracketing and Tuition Fees

Just got back from the municipal hall. Me and my sis-in-law agreed to have a rendezvous at the said place at 9 in the morning. I accompanied her to the DSWD Department where she submitted documents pertaining to the death of her mother. DSWD, as we learned, is the office who facilitates Senior Citizen’s death benefits.

After submitting the required papers, I dropped by the Assessor’s Office to get me a copy of tax declaration for the titled lot were our house is erected. I needed the copy for the daughter to bring on her enrollment schedule this June 1. UP always asked (yearly) for ITR (of hubby) and property declaration. In our case, since we divulged in her enrollment data that we owned this house and lot, papers were needed for verification. Plus the value of the said property.

Why needed? ITR and property declared were the basis if in case a UP student needed to apply for re-bracketing. By default, UP assigned all newly scholars (those who passed the UPCAT) and incoming older students, assigned to Bracket B. Upon enrollment and once a student passed the required papers, an assessment is made on the income and assets the family has. Thus, the basis for every UP student on her tuition costs is the ITR and family assets.

During daughter’s first year enrollment (2008), we haven’t had any clue on this. Sending her to Bracket B when we paid her tuition. Which is very minimal, in case somebody’s wondering. UP tuition costs is government subsidized, thus, what we, parents were paying were only part of what the Filipino taxpayers were actually paying for, thus coined the term, ISKOLAR NG BAYAN.

On her sophomore year, daughter , upon passing the necessary documents required by UP, she was accepted on Bracket C, paying only P12K on the supposed P16k tuition per semester.

Take note, we didn’t apply for any other Bracket such as Bracket D, or Bracket E. UP will decide on which bracket you fall into. It’s important that you input the true data in the scholarship form. If  a student truly deserves the lower tuition costs, UP’s not too strict. As again, ITR is necessary, statement of assets…Where both papers were not available, like a farmer head of the family, TAX EXEMPTION CLEARANCE MAY BE SECURED AT ANY BIR OFFICES. If a student needed more subsidies on book costs, laboratory, and some forms of allowances, there’s the STPAF who handles every concern once an UPCAT passer decides to enroll into the UP System.

May I say that my one of my sister-in-law, when her son passed the UPCAT last year, she called me right after their registration at UPLB, asking me what did I do that  we were paying under B Bracket, wherefore, they were under Bracket A, paying tuition as high as P20k ^_^.

Socialized tuition, that is.

summer classes again

Eldest daughter was supposed to be home this weekend. When I called her yesterday, she told me that there were few more term papers that needs to be submitted before she could finally call it a vacation. Okay. Then, I was suddenly taken aback of her decision to enroll for her summer classes at UP Diliman. She said she was just waiting for the confirmation of the said subject description. I don’t know what she’s up to this time.

When she was about to enter college in 2008, I was the one filling out application forms for her entrance examinations in different universities. I am the one who facilitates her UPCAT application. So, when she passed the UPCAT in January 2008, I am most thrilled and excited!. Furthermore, I am the one who fills out her registration form when we went to UP for her freshmen enrollment. I am the one who arranged a slot in the university’s female only dormitory. I am a stage mom then. After three years and finally in her junior year now, I was literally fired out in her decision making ^_^. It seems she now knows more than I do before:(

As me and her father have complete trust in her, we let her decide what she thought is best for her studies. We support her 110%. The university registrar has been sending her grades at the end of every semester. And, we were glad that she has not earned, so far, a grade of 5.0. Else, i’ll faint!

Anyhow, it’ll be one year more and we’re hoping we’ll gonna hear graduation march. Crossing my fingers.

Attending University of the Philippines

this post is in response to an fb friend and some commenters on a previous post about UPCAT result.  fb friend ask me how did i let go of daughter, who needs to attend school away from us. as i said in my old post, she passed the UPCAT, a test given to thousands of graduating high school students aspiring for UP academic programs.

UP Oblation

as i said, letting-go of a kid is hard, a lot harder than stretching a week’s budget! i have to call her everyday, checking if she had eaten, calling her again every night, asking so many questions. sometimes i couldn’t eat because i was thinking, what could she be eating at her dorm? i do get paranoid most of the times.i couldn’t visit her, much as i would want to, i have two other kids to attend to, plus some other things that needed my attention here. so, slowly, i did get the hang of it…

2008, freshie year of daughter, we tag along to make her company on registration day

and now, she’s enjoying her stay at the university (away from my nagging voice, haha). she just arrived last night, first semester had ended. she has at least three weeks off before second semester began. as for those asking tuition cost at UP, yes, it is subsidized by the government twas was coined, ISKOLAR NG BAYAN. but, it aint really free. our government cannot shoulder all the costs, hence tuition rate is socialized (?). you’ll pay on the amount your family is earning. so-called bracketing in the UP SYSTEM. daughter was in bracket B, paying 14-16k/sem on a 17-19 unit load. she did applied for re-bracketing, writing an appeal that states our family status and expenses. we’re hoping for a lesser tuition this second sem. yay!

THIS POST IS FOR YAMI, too. (a prelude, SIS)
Let me share you my daughter’s University choices.

Passing the UPCAT and more College Entrance Tests

28 JANUARY 2008: PASSING THE UPCAT 2008-2009

Hooray to my eldest daughter for passing the UP college Admission Test. She got her first choice of campus at UP Baguio with her first priority program in BS Biology. Isn’t that a feat for a girl so young at fifteen and will soon be in college? That’s awesome!

She also passed the UST entrance test. She said ust test was much easier than the up test. Yabang no. But i believed her. She was so confident she’d passed both test. She didn’t apply to any other tests given by any other universities; ie. acet, dlsu. We couldn’t afford the cost of tuition fees. At least in UP, the government subsidize half or less the fees without sacrificing the quality of the education. Hey, it’s the premier state university here in our poverty-stricken country! Thanks, to those politician marching last monday (”Black Monday’ protest). You see, whenever money talks, they easily marches on the streets. Why are they so much afraid if their budget will be slashed? Kasi naman po, it would mean less streets roads and waiting sheds to be built, ay, kawawa naman mga tao sa small barangays, my katwiran pala. Ngek, reality check, less budget means less kupit for every politician. Need i cite examples? Nope, more will cry wolf.

Wait, lumayo na ako sa main entree ko! As i said i’m flabbergasted at the sight of my daughter’s name in the UPCAT Results 2008. I gave her two choices: push through her program at UP, i’ll buy her laptop! Go at UST, i’ll trade her not-so-expensive nokia phone for a much older phone. Why, she asked yesterday. I’ve seen the fees at UST web and its more than double the fees at UP. Besides, she may not need an expensive phone at UST, it will just be an easy prey for those snatchers probably living at some entry-exit points near UST!
Case is nearly close as to where she will pursue college. Whew!
At some point, i was more excited when she passed the upcat. Less tuition. yes. But more of prestige. You see, entering UP gives me the satisfaction that my daughter’s future is as bright as the sun lingering in the sky. Wait, entering is just the first step though.She must plow hard and sow the seeds of labor to be able to harvest the much coveted black toga. That’s five years of labor. After that, she’ll come out of the UP system with a dazzling halo on her head.
Am i dreaming?

02 FEBRUARY 2008: USTET 2008

bonjour! i’ve run out of words lately! i’m configuring my mind… oops, nothing. let me just say my daughter passed (again?) the ustet given last november 11 at philippine statesman college. she passed her first choice program in medical technology. does she ever dream of becoming a doctor in the not-so-distant future? well, I DO. she doesn’t even like the program bs biology in upbaguio where she also passed! she doesn’t like nursing either! so why bother take the test and passed and later enroll in either of the two universities?

…look, i’m the mom here.isn’t it often said that mother always knows best! no!it’s more like “you should do this, you shouldn’t do that”-thing in me.

…now, didn’t i tell you i haven’t had much to write for now. i got this virus in my brain that seems like hibernating for days i can’t think, i can’t decide … i’m sorry i’m at lost for words! next time again…
au revoir!


…whew! what a taxing graduation it is! more than 5 hours of program!have i been continuing my ardent passion for dieting that i usually skip breakfast, i have been the first one to breakdown as i felt my stomach was eating up my intestines, that the sugars i got from the candies i brought was not enough to pacify the howling i heard from my belly… that i nearly get nauseated, ever thanks to the heavy downpour as it sends not only chilly winds but also it signals good blessings to the ever optimistic and high spirited high school grads.

…faces we’re beaming with rapture, of realization of their dream, a dream that should lead them to the threshold of yet another dream that would be the basis of their impending lives. as one honor student addresses, one should never stop dreaming for it will serve as their ladder towards future endeavors. the drama unfolded by the lives of other honor students warm the hearts of the audience, apparently, they send the message to every grads that whatever social status each student belongs it isn’t a hindrance to every aspiration. even dampen by emotional strain, every student should need to rise above their heads, for no obstacle that shall ruin the days yet to come for all the graduates. that’s the spirit of a true blue zealot!

…what made me welded on my seat is the speaker’s prudent chatters, his minimalist style makes it easy for 15-17 year olds to comprehend his subtle messages. “READ, READ, AND READ” “while you can, still, READ”!…that’s his opening salvo! as a reader, with the perpetual hope of still yearning to learn more through life’s aphorisms, and the incessant quest for more available thingamajigs that could send my brain spinning like hell!… READING, i may say, is the only reinforcement i ought to possess my whole life, apart from wealth, physical characteristics. reading is gratifying, more than fulfilling…, “it takes me places i’ve never been, places i can never imagine’… reading is so rewarding that finishing a book does not end there, it ends when you can impart something of importance in what you’ve learned from things you READ.

…i shall ask these graduates to emulate the things disclosed by the speaker, READ, READ, AND READ… there’s so much to it…

…my warmest congratulations to all graduating class batch 2008…you make a step further in achieving your visions…you just make your parents proud…go ahead, don’t hesitate to make another step…make your parents more delighted by enduring more conquests…make your community more honorable by adhering to your ideals.

(next on my item is my thought about my daughter being one of the graduates)