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UCLA is the most applied-to university in the USA. Combining incredible research prowess and outstanding academic innovation with a location in one of the most diverse and famous beachside cities, it is no wonder why UCLA is so popular. Coming in at #21 on the Times Higher Education ranking and tying for #1 public university in the US News rankings, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is one of the world’s most highly-rated and prestigious universities. For Fall 2022, UCLA received 149,815 applications from prospective first-year students, with 12,844 being admitted, making it extremely competitive with an acceptance rate of 9%.

It is a large university with 32,119 undergraduates, 150 majors, and over 850 student organizations. But don’t let those numbers scare you; like most top US universities, nearly half of the classes on campus include fewer than 20 students. Unlike other US universities, The University of California follows a single application deadline of November 30. You will need stellar grades, 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 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 admission, it is necessary to consider the average GPA rather than the minimum. With a 4.0 GPA being average, you should have straight A’s/ 6s and 7s in all classes to compete with other UCLA 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 4.0, you can aim to participate in (international/national) academic competitions, consider taking additional courses outside school, and/or do some research projects outside of school. This will help you compete more effectively against applicants with higher GPAs than you.

UCLA 2022 Incoming Freshman Profile

Middle 25% - 75%
Weighted GPA
4.40 - 4.73
Unweighted GPA
3.95 - 4.00

SAT & ACT Requirements

The UC system has shifted away from standardized tests at different campuses at different paces. We contacted the admissions offices directly to get an update for 2023:

“UCLA will not consider SAT or ACT scores for admission or scholarship purposes. (If you choose to submit test scores as part of your application, they may be used as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility or for course placement after you enroll.)”

For more information, you can visit their website at:

Best Application Practices

The good news about UC schools is that with one application, you can apply to all of the University of California campuses. The bad news is that it is not in the Common App, so unfortunately, you will need to fill out a completely new application system to apply. But luckily, we have some tricks to help this process.

Another major difference in the UC application is that students share four short essays instead of having one major Personal Statement. When filling out the application, you’ll have to answer four personal insight questions (350 words) out of eight total options. With four essays to craft, we urge students not to wait until the last minute to complete the UC application! Students should share impressive extracurricular experiences and create strong essays that will make up a substantial component of the UCLA application.

Depending on your application strategy, you might develop a Personal Statement and other essays for other US schools. A great tip for planning your essays is to see which school will have the earliest deadline considering most schools have an Early Decision (ED) and/or Early Action (EA) around November 1. In many cases, students will need to finish their Personal Statement and other additional essays for their ED and EA options, and thus, since the UC deadline will fall after the early deadline, students can end up using parts of those essays to develop the UC essays. Sometimes, Personal Statements and additional ED and EA essays can easily transition into the four UC essays. In other cases, students must compose several original essays to match the prompts. For students who chose not to apply ED or EA, the UC deadline may be their earliest deadline. In that case, students start by striving to compose four great essays and evaluate how that content can be used for other applications in Regular Decision.

Another major difference we see between the UC system and the Common App system is the activity sheet. While the UC system allows up to 20 activities and 350 characters to describe them, the Common App only allows ten activities with 150 characters. Thus, if you plan to apply to UC and other USA schools, even though the UC deadline might be after your ED or EA deadlines, start with the UC activity sheet format when creating your activity list. Then make a copy, cut down the list to the 10 top activities, and cut the descriptions to 150 characters for the Common App. When choosing extracurricular activities, note that UCLA emphasizes leadership, research, and innovation. Leadership can be demonstrated through various extracurricular activities, and what matters is your demonstrated commitment to the organization rather than the number of leadership positions you hold. UCLA is looking for someone who is heavily invested in and contributes to the success of their club, team, or organization.

Finally, students from countries requiring entry into military service upon completing secondary education should not apply until the obligation has been met. UCLA generally does not allow students to defer admission to a later term.

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