How To Get Into UCLA: Breaking Down Admissions Requirements - Crimson Education UK (2023)

Hailed as one of the top public universities in the world, University of California, Los Angeles attracts thousands of applicants each year. The university received 169,800applications for the Fall 2023 admission, making it the most applied-to of all universities in the United States. In 2022, the university accepted 12,844 to its extremely competitive pool of students.

UCLA Overview

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), began in 1882 as the State Normal School of Los Angeles. Its primary purpose was to train teachers. It became the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the second institution in the UC system. In 1926, UCLA formally adopted the “Bruins” nickname when their athletic teams joined the Pacific Coast Conference.

With more than 1,000 student organizations, including more than 65 Greek chapters, students are sure to find their niche on campus. UCLA has a variety of athletics as well, including golf, tennis and water polo, among others.

UCLA is known for its prestigious School of Theater, Film, and Television and School of Dentistry. While Biology, Business Economics, Psychology, and Political Science are some of their most popular majors, UCLA offers 130 world-class undergraduate majors through its seven academic divisions. These divisions include:

  • The College of Letters and Science
  • School of the Arts and Architecture
  • Samueli School of Engineering
  • Herb Alpert School of Music
  • School of Nursing
  • Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • School of Theater, Film, and Television

Do you want to study at UCLA but don’t know where to begin? Crimson helps students reach their university admissions goals. Our Strategists can help you put together a robust application that stands out from the rest! Learn more about our US Admissions Support program.

How hard is it to get into UCLA?

UCLA is one of the hardest schools to gain acceptance. More people apply to UCLA each year than any other university in the United States. Now that the UC school application does not require SAT and ACT scores, more students are applying. The average GPA of admitted UCLA freshmen rose to 4.5 with an average of 52 terms of college-prep courses, including 23 terms of AP courses. It’s tough to get into UCLA, but not impossible! If you have exceptional grades and receive high scores on your AP exams, you can stand out from the rest by showing how you align with UCLA’s values. Showcasing your grit, creativity, and leadership through your extracurricular activities and providing strong, thoughtful answers to the personal insight questions demonstrates your unique attributes and why you’d be the perfect addition to the UCLA campus community.

Typically, UCLA admits about 12% of applicants.However, in the 2021/22 admission cycle the acceptance rate dropped to 10.7%. In Fall 2022, UCLA received a record number of applications (169,800 freshmen and transfer students).

UCLA Admissions Statistics 2021/22
Average GPA (Weighted)Total ApplicantsOverall Acceptance RateInternational Student Acceptance RateCrimson Student Acceptance Rate

What do you need to get into UCLA?

UCLA does not accept the Common App. If you want to apply to UCLA, you will need to fill out theUC Application. This universal application allows you to apply to any of the nine UC schools at one time.You should apply to more than one UC school because it will significantly increase your chances of getting into the UC system. Even though UCLA might be your first choice, the otherUC schoolsalso offer world-class education and countless opportunities to grow.

UC Application Sections at a Glance

1. About You

This section is where you include basic information about you and your family.

2. Campuses & Majors

In this section, you’ll select which campuses you’d like to apply to and mark your major if you have one. You may choose “undecided” if you haven’t chosen a major yet.

3. Academic History

This section is where you’ll record your courses and grades. At a minimum, you must earn a 3.0 GPA or better (3.4 for nonresidents) in all college preparatory courses. No grades can be lower than a C.

The following are the freshmen profile GPA and honors course statistics for the Fall 2020 school year:

Fully Weighted GPAUnweighted GPAHonors Courses
25th Percentile4.343.9219
75th Percentile4.684.0030

4. Test Scores

The UC schools do not consider ACT and SAT scores in their admission decisions. If you need an alternative method of fulfilling your minimum eligibility requirements, you may add these scores as part of your application.

You will record your scores for AP exams, IB exams, TOEFL or IELTS, and International exams on separate pages. If you haven’t taken these tests yet, you’ll need to indicate if you’re planning on taking them in the future.

4. Activities & Awards

Record the activities and awards you’re most proud of and the ones that you believe would make you a great candidate for UCLA admission. Six categories classify the awards and honors:

  • Award or honor
  • Educational preparation programs
  • Extracurricular activity
  • Other coursework
  • Volunteering/Community service
  • Work Experience

5. Scholarships & Programs

In this section, you can select any scholarship categories that apply to you. The UC system offers support services while you’re at a UC. If you’re interested in their Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), you indicate it in this section.

6. Personal Insight Questions

The UC schools put together a list of eight personal insight questions. You must respond to four of these questions and each response is limited to 350 words. These questions help personalize your application and show the admissions officers a little bit about your personality, interests, background, and achievements. You should write them in your unique voice.

For more information about the Personal Insight Questions please visit this helpful page on the UC application website.

How does UCLA evaluate applications?

The University of California uses a system called a 13-Factor Comprehensive Review System to evaluate applicants. Each campus works with the UC Office of the President to set specific goals and determine how many first-year and transfer students they expect to enroll each fall.

UCLA seeks to enroll students who will contribute to their dynamic learning community. They look for applicants with leadership skills, initiative, tenacity, and intellectual curiosity. While grades and curriculum choices indicate academic achievement, UCLA considers a broad range of criteria when determining who they admit. The criteria include quantitative and qualitative factors as well as academic and personal accomplishments.

Professionally trained readers review each application using the following faculty-approved criteria. You can find the full explanations for each criterion here.

  • A full record of achievement in college preparatory work in high school
  • Personal qualities of the applicant
  • Likely contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus
  • Achievement in academic enrichment programs.
  • Other evidence of achievement
  • Opportunities
  • Challenges

UCLA’s Samueli School of Engineering, School of Nursing, School of the Arts and Architecture, Herb Alpert School of Music, and the School of Theater, Film, and Television all take additional specific considerations, depending on the school.

How to Stand Out in Your UCLA Application

Admissions officers look at thousands of applications each year. How do you make your UCLA application stand out? Here’s are some helpful tips on how to stand out in your UCLA application:

1. Identify your goals as a UCLA student

Do you want to pursue leadership opportunities? How do you hope to positively contribute to the university? By answering these questions, you will have a stronger idea of what you are looking for and how you can make a difference on the UCLA campus.

2. Allow your true self to shine through your application

Rather than writing what you think admissions officers want to read, be honest and raw. Talk about growth experiences and what you learned from them.

3. Talk to students who currently attend UCLA

Ask them about their application, the methods and practices that worked for them, and the types of activities they included.

4. Focus on AP classes and activities that truly interest you.

You will excel in areas you’re passionate about and ones that benefit others.

5. Learn as much as you can about the UC application process and UCLA

Join online communities, read books and blogs, and meet with your school’s counselors to learn as much as you can about UCLA and the UC applications.

6. Speak to a Crimson college advisor

Our highly trained education and application specialists will walk you through every step of the UCLA application process, ensuring you include everything that will make your application stand out from the rest.

Is UCLA right for you?

UCLA might not be the school for you if you prefer small class sizes. Many lectures have more than 200 students, although some classes break into discussion sections which helps students get more one-on-one attention. It’s hard to connect with professors and TAs due to the sheer number of people in a class. UCLA is also a research university so students looking for a traditional liberal arts education may want to choose a different university.

Before choosing UCLA, examine the pros and cons and determine if they align with your interests, goals, and personality. If your academics and expectations align with UCLA, you should apply! If not, you might like one of the other UC schools more. You might even consider a private liberal arts university.

Life After UCLA

UCLA graduates learn how to navigate the real world well before graduation. With ample internship and research opportunities, students learn what life beyond college may look like for them. UCLA has a 93% graduate rate and many graduates find jobs in research, finance, and computer science. Companies like Accenture, Amazon, Deloitte, Disney, Facebook, and Google love hiring graduates from UCLA.

Some of UCLA’s most famous alumni include:

  • James Franco, Actor, Producer, Director, Writer
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA Basketball Player
  • Taylor Wang, Astronaut
  • Jackie Robinson, Professional Baseball Player
  • Francis Ford-Coppola, Film Director, Producer, Screenwriter
  • Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States
  • John Williams, Composer
  • Terence Tao, Mathematician

Harvard and UCLA Grads: My Favorite College Memory

Final Thoughts

UCLA is looking for independent thinkers who want to make a real difference on the campus, in the community, and worldwide. Most students take advantage of learning opportunities on campus and in the surrounding Los Angeles area. If you’re ready to make your mark on the world, UCLA is a great place to start.

Crimson Education is the world’s leading university admissions support company specializing in helping students gain entry to some of the world’s most competitive universities. Our admissions advisors understand everything about the University of California system. They can direct you to the classes you should take, extracurriculars, and activities that pair well with your future major and address any questions you have about UCLA. Book a free consultation with an admissions counselor today. Learn more through our Admissions Support program.


How much is UCLA tuition?

UCLA’s in-state tuition and fees are $13,268 per academic year. UCLA’s out-of-state tuition and fees are $43,022 per academic year.

Is UCLA a private school?

No, UCLA is a public university founded in 1919.

When does UCLA send acceptance letters?

UCLA makes its freshman admissions decisions by April 1. Students have until May 1 to commit to the school. Transfer students are notified by April 30 and have until June 1 to commit.

How many students are at UCLA?

UCLA is home to about31,500 undergraduate and 12,800 graduate students.

Big Questions Ep. 1: UCLA

Key Resources & Further Reading

  • Join our free webinars on college applications
  • Free eBooks and guides to help with the college application process
  • How to Crush your US College Application
  • UC Schools Ranked
  • How to get into Ivy League Schools
  • How to get into Harvard
  • How to get into MIT
  • Why Aim for top US Universities


How can I increase my chances of getting into UCLA? ›

Simply defined, strong grades are required for admittance to UCLA, and the institution considers them “extremely essential” when making admissions choices. Furthermore, you'll need to have a high GPA to get into UCLA and meet both the school's academic criteria and the Academic Index criterion.

What programs are the hardest to get into at UCLA? ›

Here is a list of the most competitive and impacted majors at UCLA (admit rate):
UCLA Capped MajorsUCLA Impacted Majors Admit Rate
Nursing (2%)2%
Theater (3%)3%
Computer Engineering (6%)6%
Communication (9%)9%
2 more rows
Nov 3, 2022

Is it easier to get into UCLA undeclared? ›

You can declare a major, or apply as undeclared, on your UC application form. For freshmen applying to a major in the College, your choice of major will neither help nor hurt your prospects for admission. In fact, a large number of freshman applicants apply as undeclared.

Can you get into UCLA with a 3.5 GPA? ›

California applicants must earn at least a 3.0 GPA and nonresidents must earn a minimum 3.4 GPA in all A-G or college-preparatory courses to meet this requirement.

What's the easiest major to get into UCLA? ›

10 Easiest Majors to Transfer into UCLA
1.African American Studies55%
2.Asian Humanities63%
3.Gender Studies59%
4.Pre-European Studies67%
6 more rows
Jan 19, 2017

What kind of student does UCLA look for? ›

We value leadership ability, character, motivation, tenacity, initiative, originality, creativity, intellectual independence, responsibility, insight, maturity, and demonstrated concern for others and for the community. Traditional measures of academic achievement may not capture these qualities.

What are the top 3 majors for UCLA? ›

At the University of California-Los Angeles, the most popular majors students study are Sociology, Political Science and Government, General, and Econometrics and Quantitative Economics.

What are the lowest GPA UCLA accepts? ›

At a minimum, you must earn a 3.0 GPA or better (3.4 for nonresidents) in all college preparatory courses. No grades can be lower than a C.

Is UCLA harder than Harvard? ›

UCLA is a state school, so it is not really comparable to a college like Harvard. Though UCLA does have a low acceptance rate, the acceptance rate for Harvard is 5%, being much lower than UCLA. So even though UCLA is hard to get into, it is still not at the level of difficulty that Harvard is.

Can I get into UCLA with a few BS? ›

You'll need nearly straight A's to get into UCLA. The unweighted GPA for students admitted in Fall 2022 was a 4.0 average.

Does applying undecided hurt your chances? ›

For most colleges, choosing “undecided” as your major will not affect your chances of getting accepted. Admissions officers understand that some students won't be ready to commit to a degree path right out of high school.

What is UCLA known for academically? ›

In just over a century, UCLA has become one of the leading research universities in the world. We take pride in our history of Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows, National Medal of Science winners and a Fields Medal recipient, but what matters most is how you use this stage to create a better future.

Does UC look at senior grades? ›

UCs do look at courses you take in senior year and take the rigor into consideration when evaluating you for admission; but as long as you maintain satisfactory grades (typically an unweighted B average, with no non-passing grades, is sufficient), your performance in your senior year courses will not affect your ...

Does UCLA care about extracurriculars? ›

Does UCLA care about extracurriculars? In response to your question, the answer is yes; UCLA does care about extracurricular activities since they offer students opportunities to gain significant experiences outside of the classroom.

Does UCLA look at weighted or unweighted GPA? ›

Academic GPA (calculated using A-G courses taken from the summer after 9th grade to the summer after 11th grade with AP/IB/UC-approved Honors/community college courses carrying an extra grade point; for the purpose of admission evaluation, UCLA looks at unweighted and fully weighted GPA – no GPA cap).

What are the top 5 majors for UCLA? ›

The most popular majors at University of California, Los Angeles include: Social Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Psychology; Engineering; Mathematics and Statistics; Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies; Visual and Performing Arts; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; and English Language ...

Is it easier to get into UCLA or Berkeley? ›

The difference in admissions rates between the two schools is actually wider among in-state applicants. For the 2022 fall semester, Berkeley admitted 14% of California residents, while UCLA accepted 9% — a five percentage-point difference.

What GPA is good enough for UCLA? ›

GPA and test scores of middle 25%-75% students
High School GPA4.18 - 4.32
ACT Composite Score29 - 32
ACT English Language Arts30 - 35
SAT Evidence Based Reading & Writing670 - 760
2 more rows

What grade does UCLA look at? ›

All GPAs are calculated from courses completed in grades 10 and 11. The fully weighted GPA includes an extra grade point for all UC-approved honors courses (which include AP, IB, school-based honors and transferable college courses) in which a grade of C or higher is earned. The maximum value possible is 5.00.

Does UCLA favor out of state students? ›

As a public institution, we prioritize admission for California residents.

Does UCLA look at high school grades? ›

UCs do look at courses you take in freshman and senior years; the grades and rigor of your coursework are considered in context of your overall curriculum. But freshman and senior year grades are NOT included in the GPA calculation.

What majors pay the most at UCLA? ›

Average Salary by UCLA Professional Schools

This is apparent through engineering and nursing having the highest salaries, while music has the lowest.

Is UCLA better than Stanford? ›

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is one of the top public universities in Los Angeles, United States. It is ranked #44 in QS World University Rankings 2023. Stanford University is one of the top private universities in Stanford, United States. It is ranked #3 in QS World University Rankings 2023.

Which major makes the most money? ›

10 college majors that make the most money
  • Accounting.
  • Biomedical engineering.
  • Mathematics or Statistics.
  • Finance.
  • Nursing.
  • Information technology.
  • Engineering.
  • Computer science.
Mar 10, 2023

What is a B+ at UCLA? ›

Option One: A through F (with +/-)
B+< 90% to 87%
B< 87% to 83%
B-< 83%to 80%
C+< 80% to 77%
9 more rows
Feb 28, 2023

Why is UCLA so popular? ›

Now, you might ask “Why is UCLA so prestigious?” UCLA has ties to people who have won the highest accolades in the world, including five Turing Award winners and 27 Nobel Prize winners. Together with UC Berkeley, UCLA is ranked as the 20th best university in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Does UCLA require an essay? ›

The UCLA Essay Prompts. Anyone applying to UCLA (or any UC for that matter) will need to answer four of the UC personal insight questions, at 350 words each. You'll choose from eight prompts.

Is UCLA as prestigious as Ivy League? ›

USC, UCLA, and Stanford are among the most prestigious universities outside the Ivy League. These top universities have challenging classes, distinguished professors, competitive acceptance rates, and distinguished alumni networks like their Ivy League counterparts.

What is the #1 hardest school to get into? ›

Niche, a ranking and review site, recently published its list of the “2023 Hardest Colleges to Get Into.” Using data from the U.S. Department of Education on various colleges' acceptance rates and SAT/ACT scores, they found, unsurprisingly, Harvard University to be the most difficult college to get into.

Is UCLA like an Ivy League? ›

These Ivy League equivalents include research universities and small liberal arts colleges. The Public Ivies consist of renowned public universities like UCLA and UT Austin. The Little Ivies include colleges such as Amherst, Bowdoin, Colby, and Vassar.

Can an average student get into UCLA? ›

UCLA is a pretty competitive school, accepting only 9 out of every 100 freshman students that apply. For this reason, a perfect GPA will get you accepted; getting into UCLA requires profile differentiation and hard work. Thousands of candidates apply every year.

Can I get into an ivy with two Bs? ›

An Ivy League school might accept a student who had all As and one or two Bs in the highest-level classes, but it probably wouldn't accept a student who had flawless grades in all mid- or low-level classes. These schools are looking for students who are up for an intellectual challenge and genuinely enjoy learning.

Does UCLA offer full ride scholarships? ›

Scholarships are merit-based, need-based, and non-need-based monetary awards. They may range from paying a portion of your tuition to fully funding all costs linked to your college education.

Will it hurt my chances for college admission if I don t get a good score on an AP exam? ›

While your AP scores won't affect your college admission chances, many schools may still request (or even require) that you submit the information once you receive your results.

How likely is it to get rejected from a college? ›

Almost every senior receives at least one college rejection letter. This is tough advice, but try not to take the rejection personally. Most U.S. colleges admit a majority of applicants. Only 3.4% of schools fall into the most selective category, meaning they admit fewer than 10% of applicants.

Does applying early give you a better chance? ›

Early action often does not offer a higher acceptance rate but provides the benefit of learning early what the admission decision from the college is. On the other hand, students often do benefit from getting their application in early.”

What is the dropout rate for UCLA? ›

The UCLA graduation rate is now over 90% for freshmen, at a rate of six years, including time off. For first-year students who graduated in 2021-22, it took an average of 11.6 registered quarters (excluding time off) to finish their degrees.

What is the average GPA in UCLA? ›

Average GPA: 3.9

The average GPA at UCLA is 3.9. This makes UCLA Extremely Competitive for GPAs. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 3.9, UCLA requires you to be at the top of your class.

What is the gender ratio at UCLA? ›

University of California, Los Angeles has a total undergraduate enrollment of 32,119 (fall 2021), with a gender distribution of 40% male students and 60% female students.

Does UC accept D grades? ›

Getting a C- or lower

You must report these grades immediately to the UC so you can (hopefully) work out a remedy. Obviously, a C- is better than a D. If you get a D, especially in a major requirement you might very well get rescinded. If it is a selective major you can basically count on it.

Which UC is the easiest to get into? ›

The easiest UC schools to get into include UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, and UC Merced, all of which have acceptance rates over 50%. Located 40 minutes outside San Jose, UCSC earns high marks for its picturesque campus and close beach access.

Do colleges care if you take less classes senior year? ›

Senior Year: It Still Counts

Senioritis does not exist anymore. Colleges do consider fall grades, and even after admission your high school classes and grades still matter. Though it is far more common for a school to request a senior year schedule, there are many colleges that will ask for final grades.

What type of student is UCLA looking for? ›

We value leadership ability, character, motivation, tenacity, initiative, originality, creativity, intellectual independence, responsibility, insight, maturity, and demonstrated concern for others and for the community. Traditional measures of academic achievement may not capture these qualities.

Is a 4.3 GPA good enough for UCLA? ›

What is UCLA Looking For? such as AP courses. The average admitted GPA for the College of Letters & Science at UCLA is 4.2. For the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, the average admitted GPA is over 4.3.

What majors at UCLA are impacted? ›

Conclusion. In conclusion, the most impacted majors at UCLA are Film & Television (1%), Computer Science (2%), Nursing (2%), Theater (3%), Computer Engineering (6%), and Communications (9%). These majors reflect the diversity of students at UCLA and those in the entire UC system.

What is the lowest GPA UCLA will accept? ›

You must have a 3.0 GPA (3.4 for non-residents) or higher and no grades lower than a C in required high school courses.

How often does UCLA rescind acceptance? ›

It's a little-known practice, but it can dump as much as 2% of an incoming class. For example, UCLA has begun to send out letters informing some students that their “academic record no longer meets the standards for admission.” So the coveted acceptances to the freshman class, celebrated just months ago, are withdrawn.

What is the minimum unweighted GPA for UCLA? ›

The minimum GPA to be considered for undergraduate, first-year admission to a UC is a 3.0 for California students and a 3.4 for out-of-state students. Any applications with GPAs below those will not be considered.

Is UCLA actually hard to get into? ›

UCLA is one of the hardest schools to gain acceptance.

More people apply to UCLA each year than any other university in the United States. Now that the UC school application does not require SAT and ACT scores, more students are applying.

What are the chances of getting into UCLA? ›

What GPA does UCLA want? ›

GPA and test scores of middle 25%-75% students
High School GPA4.18 - 4.32
ACT Composite Score29 - 32
ACT English Language Arts30 - 35
SAT Evidence Based Reading & Writing670 - 760
2 more rows

What is the least competitive major at UCLA? ›

At UCLA (overall acceptance rate of 14%), history majors have a whopping 52% acceptance rate, art history has a 40% acceptance rate, political science is 40%, sociology is 40%, and anthropology is 44%.

What is the lowest GPA that got into UCLA? ›

You must have a 3.0 GPA (3.4 for non-residents) or higher and no grades lower than a C in required high school courses. You can also substitute SAT subject tests for courses. If you don't meet the requirements, it is possible to gain admission with a high enough score on the ACT/SAT plus on two SAT subject tests.

What is the most common degree at UCLA? ›

The most popular majors at University of California, Los Angeles include: Social Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Psychology; Engineering; Mathematics and Statistics; Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies; Visual and Performing Arts; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; and English Language ...

Do you need all A's to get into UCLA? ›

You'll need nearly straight As in all your classes to compete with other applicants since the average unweighted GPA of students admitted into UCLA is a 3.9. You'll also probably need to take AP or IB classes to show that you can do well at advanced coursework., especially if your GPA is below the average.

Do you need straight A's to get into UCLA? ›

At an average of 3.9 GPA, UCLA requires straight A's/ 6s and 7s in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes – AP, IB and H2 in A levels – to show that you are ready for challenging college-level academics.

Is it harder to get into UCLA or Berkeley? ›

About the same number of high school seniors from the nine-county area applied to UCLA as Berkeley in 2022 — roughly 23,000 of them. And while it was harder to get into UCLA, Berkeley's 59% enrollment rate — the share of admitted students who enroll in the fall — was slightly higher than UCLA's (51%).


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