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Ranked at number 20, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is one of the most highly-rated and prestigious universities in the world. It is a large university with more than 27,000 undergraduates, 150 majors and over 850 student organizations. There are 6 different departments at UCLA: College of Letters and Science, Herb Alpert School of Music, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, School the Arts and Architecture, School of Nursing, and School of Theater, Film, and Television. Popular majors include Computer Science, Biology and Economics. Besides the sheer number of opportunities offered at UCLA, other well known perks include the pleasant Southern California weather and the easy access to the city of Los Angeles.

The acceptance rate at UCLA is 14%, making it incredibly selective not just among the other UC schools but across all US universities. UCLA, as with all schools under the University of California, follows a single application deadline of November 30. This is unlike many US universities that offer both early and regular admission rounds.

To get into UCLA, you will need stellar grades, outstanding SAT/ACT scores, well-written essays and a well-rounded profile.

Grade Requirements

US universities track high school performance based on a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) on a scale of 4. UCLA requires a minimum of 3.4 GPA for non-California residents (and 3.0 GPA for residents) and no grades lower than a C in required high school courses. This translates to 35 IB points, and ABB in A levels.

Of course, to stand a competitive chance of admissions, it is necessary to consider the average GPA rather than the minimum. 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.

If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.9, you’ll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate (only valid for students applying this year, i.e. 2021-2022 admissions cycle). This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

SAT and ACT Requirements

(only valid for students applying this year)

The average SAT score at UCLA is a 1405/1600 SAT scale. However, as an international student, you will need to be at or above the 75th percentile of 1510 (790 in math and 740 in reading) to be competitive. UCLA follows a policy of requiring scores from all SAT attempts and will consider the highest scores from a single test date. If your score is currently below a 1510, we strongly recommend that you consider retaking it. 

The average ACT score at UCLA is 31/36, with the 75th percentile ACT score being 34. Unlike the SAT score policy at UCLA, only one ACT score out of all your attempts needs to be sent. 

Although the application deadline is November 30th, standardized test scores can be submitted before January 15 of the subsequent year. Although optional, you should consider taking the essay for both ACT and SAT in order to meet entry level writing requirements for certain courses at UCLA.

Best Application Practices

Impressive extracurricular experiences and strong essays also make up a substantial component of your UCLA application. When filling out the application, you’ll have to answer four personal insight questions (350 words) out of eight total options.

When choosing extracurricular activities, do note that UCLA places particular emphasis on research and service. Students can demonstrate their interest in research by conducting independent research projects, or doing internships at local labs or institutes.

UCLA also looks for students who will contribute positively to the campus and successful applicants will have a record of being civic-minded and engaging with their communities. You can demonstrate this by initiating community projects in your local neighborhood or school, joining volunteering organizations or even engaging in independent activities such as tutoring.

Students who show special talent or come from a disadvantaged background will often get a close look even if their grades and test scores are a bit below the norm.

Need help with your UCLA Application?

Prep Zone Academy offers comprehensive college application consulting services, and college application essay is one of our fields of expertise. Beyond proof-reading, our consultants take the time to get to know you and help with crafting an essay that highlights your authentic voice.

If you’d like to engage our services, fill in the following form or call us at +65 6812 9999. Our hotline is always active.


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Anjali K

Anjali K

Anjali majored in Life Sciences at Yale-NUS College, Singapore and has worked as an admissions fellow at her college. Since graduation, she has helped students in their applications to top universities in the UK and US. Having secured a perfect score for the IB diploma, she also has over four years of experience in tutoring students for the same.

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