Last Updated on August 28, 2023
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public land-grant research university in Los Angeles, California. UCLA’s academic roots were established in 1882 as a teachers college then known as the southern branch of the California State Normal School (now San José State University). This school was absorbed with the official founding of UCLA as the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the second-oldest of the 10-campus University of California system (after UC Berkeley). UCLA offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines, enrolling about 31,600 undergraduate and 14,300 graduate and professional students. UCLA had 168,000 undergraduate applicants for Fall 2021, including transfers, making the school the most applied-to university in the United States.
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Ucla Acceptance Rate
The historical trajectory of UCLA admissions can best be understood through a once-per-decade peek at the university’s shifting acceptance rates. In 1980, nearly three-quarters of those who applied were accepted, by 1990, this had dropped to the low-40s, by 2000, it had fallen to the high 20s, by 2010, the low-20s and now, in 2022, the acceptance rate rests at 11%.
Want some even more intimidating stats? Among those who sported a 4.39 or better GPA, just 36% were admitted. Those that took 22 or more honors/AP classes in high school found success just 27% of the time. Now that UCLA boasts a similar acceptance rate to likes of Georgetown and Carnegie Mellon and is even more selective than Berkeley, this begs the question, “What is the secret to getting in!?”
While there are rarely “secrets” in the world of college admissions, an examination of the available data, demographic info, and recent trends can illuminate the process at a given institution. Toward that aim, this article will provide:
1) A deep-dive into just how highly-selective the UCLA admissions process truly is.
2) Data that will help you better assess how you measure up to the competition.
3) How the UCLA admissions committee operates and what they look for in a successful candidate.
To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:
- UCLA’s Class of 2025 acceptance rate
- SAT/ACT policy at UCLA and GPAs of admitted applicants
- Admissions trends from the Class of 2025
- The demographics of current UCLA undergraduates
- UCLA’s yield rate
- How UCLA’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
- Tips for applying to UCLA
- How to assess whether applying to UCLA is even worth the $70 application fee (for you)
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
UCLA: Acceptance Rate – Class of 2025
UCLA admitted just 15,028 of the 139,490 freshman applicants who sought admission into the Class of 2025. This equates to just a 11% acceptance rate. The previous year (most recent data available), when the overall acceptance rate was a more favorable 14%, California residents were accepted at a 14% clip while out-of-state students were successful 21% of the time. However, as you will see in the next section, it is actually far more difficult to gain entry as a non-resident.
UCLA Admissions – SAT/ACT Policy, and GPA
Among those who enrolled in the Class of 2025, the mid-50% unweighted GPA was 3.92-4.0 and the weighted GPA range was 4.36-4.68.
In general, despite enjoying a higher acceptance rate, in-state applicants have lower measurables than their out-of-state counterparts. In one recent cycle (when test scores were part of the application process), California residents possessed a mid-50% unweighted GPA of 4.30-4.60, SAT scores of 1250-1500, and ACT composites of 26-34. Out-of-state admits had a GPA range of 4.35-4.80, SATs between 1390 and 1530, and ACTs of 31-34. Admitted students generally took 17 to 25 honors/advanced courses in high school.
As a test-blind institution, UCLA does not consider standardized test scores.
Admissions Trends & Notes
- The most significant note is that all University of California schools have adopted a test-blind policy.
- 33% of the Class of 2025 were first-generation students.
- 30% of first-years are from underrepresented backgrounds.
- 50% of the most recent freshman class received need-based aid.
- The yield rate increased from 41% to 44% between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 freshman classes, meaning that more admitted students are choosing UCLA now than in previous years.
Who Actually Gets Into UCLA?
Let’s look at the demographics of UCLA undergraduates:
Most UCLA students hailed from the Golden State and paid in-state tuition. The total geographic breakdown is as follows:
- Percent California (residents) – 75%
- # of other U.S. States (non-residents) – 47
- # of other countries (non-resident, international) = 84
- Percent from Southern California: 46%
- Percent from the rest of California: 29%
Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of the Class of 2025, the breakdown is as follows:
- Asian American: 38%
- Hispanic: 22%
- African American: 7%
- International: 10%
- White: 28%
The breakdown by gender of the entire Bruin student body shows far more women than men:
- Male: 41%
- Female: 59%
One recent freshman class included students from the following types of high schools
- Los Angeles County Public: 21%
- Other CA Public: 40%
- Los Angeles County Private: 3%
- Other CA Private: 6%
- Outside California (Public/Private): 30%
ucla admission requirements
In addition to your UC application, we take both your academic record and your personal experiences into consideration during the review process. At UCLA, we seek students who have excelled academically and gained valuable perspective from the personal experiences that have helped shape their lives.
Read on to find out more.
The Criteria We Consider
When reviewing an application, we implement a holistic review process, which includes looking at some of the following criteria:
- Achievement in high school or college coursework
- Personal qualities
- Likely contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of our campus
- Achievement in academic enrichment programs
- Other achievements in any field of intellectual or creative endeavor, including the performing arts, athletics, community service, etc.
You must complete 15 A-G courses with at least 11 courses finished prior to the beginning of your last year of high school. To be competitive in the UCLA admission process, applicants should present an academic profile much stronger than any minimum UC admission requirements. See below for a listing of the A-G requirements:
- 2 years history/social science
- 4 years of college-preparatory English
- 3 years of mathematics (4 years recommended)
- 2 years of laboratory science (3 years recommended)
- 2 years of language other than English (3 years recommended)
- 1 year of visual and performing arts (if available)
- 1 year of college-preparatory elective
Keep in mind that there is no single academic path we expect all students to follow. However, competitive applicants earn high marks in the most rigorous curriculum available to them.
Each application for admission is reviewed within the context of courses available to that student. If a particular required subject is not available, we’ll consider your application without it.Calculate your GPA
Standardized Testing (SAT/ACT)
UCLA will not consider SAT or ACT scores for admission or scholarship purposes through fall 2024.
If you choose to submit test scores as part of your application, they may be used to determine your eligibility for the California statewide admissions guarantee, as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility or for course placement after you enroll.
Details regarding UC’s testing policy are provided on the UC admission website for future application terms beyond 2022.
UCLA’s ACT number: 0448
UCLA’s College Board (SAT) number: 4837
Personal Insight Questions
These personal questions are just that — personal. This is your chance to augment the information elsewhere in your application and give us more insight into you during the review process. Our hope is to hear your true, authentic voice in your responses.
As a freshman applicant, you may respond to four of eight questions. Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words. Which questions you choose to answer is entirely up to you. You should select questions that are most relevant to your experience and that best reflect your individual circumstances.