How To Get Into UCLA: A Detailed Guide

Mar 29, 2021

UCLA is a University that claims to drive its campus, students, and faculties by optimism. And why shouldn't they? It is the University that rejects the status quo and finds opportunity is dissatisfaction.

With this optimism, UCLA succeeded in achieving many things. UCLA has 14 faculty MacArthur Fellows, 14 Nobel Prizes, and 118 NCAA. It also consists of 261 Olympic medals, which is more than most countries.

Getting admission to a top college like this is not an easy task. However, if you wish to study at UCLA, we've created a guide for you. This guide will help you to know how to get into UCLA, from its score requirement to application requirements to everything else related to admission. 

But before we move towards requirements, let's see an overview of UCLA.

UCLA Overview

Founded in 1919, the University of California, Los Angeles is in LA, California, the USA. Ernest Carroll Moore and Edward Augustus Dickson established the University.

As per the "2021 US news ranking", UCLA is the 20th best University in the United States. As per the "2021 QS World University Ranking," UCLA is the World's 36th best University.

The tuition fee for admitted students at UCLA is $13,226(2020-21) for students living in the state (California). For students who are living out of the state, the tuition fee is $42,980. The total enrollment in the school is 45,742. The student to faculty ratio in UCLA is 18:1. For every 18 students, there's 1 teacher, which gives all students personalized attention. 50% of classes in UCLA consist of fewer than 20 students.

UCLA has significant names in the World as its alumni. Some notable alumni are James Franco (American Actor), Carol Burnett (American Actress), Jackie Robinson (American Basketball Player), John Williams (American Composer).

University of California, Los Angeles

What UCLA Looks For In An Applicant?

When admitting new students, there is a broad range of factors. UCLA wants a student who can bring leadership and perspective with his rich experience and personal story. They want an intellectually curious student willing to contribute to the UCLA community and benefit from it. 

There are 14 Criteria that UCLA considers, which focus on 3 things. These 3 things are:

Strong Academic Performance

A strong performance in academics is essential if you want to get admission. But keep in mind that the GPA and test scores are not the only things they will see as academics.

They will see how many courses you took in high school, how rigorous your high school curriculum was. The way you challenged yourself in academia is significant as it reflects your hard work and performance above your comfort zone. To show UCLA that you challenged yourself, you can go for honor or advance courses. 

Special Talents, Accomplishments, And Awards

With your academics, UCLA wants to know what unique talents you have. They want to know your achievements and awards. It will help them to know how you are outside the classroom.

Personal Character

In the personal insight section, UCLA will ask you some questions regarding your nature. This question will help UCLA to know how you are as a human being. With this help, the College will evaluate how you are suitable to UCLA and how UCLA is suitable to you.

UCLA SAT score requirements

UCLA SAT score requirement is high. The SAT 25th percentile score of UCLA is 1360. It means only less than 25% of admitted students hold a score below 1360. 

The SAT 75th percentile score of UCLA is 1550. It means about 75% of admitted students hold scored less than 1550. The Average (50th Percentile) SAT score of UCLA we could find is 1455.

You can also aim for percentile scores of both sections separately. For Math, the 25th percentile score is 690, and the 75th percentile score is 790. 

For EBRW, the 25th percentile score and the 75th percentile score are 670 and 760, respectively. Here, we can see you require more marks in the Math section to reach the equal percentile score as EBRW.

If you believe you are weak in one section, try to score higher than needed in the other section. So, even if you get more points than needed in one section but got less in another, you can still get to the needed composite score.

If you want to increase your score, we will recommend "APGuru's Flagship SAT Prep Program." It will help you to reach your target SAT score.

UCLA Required SAT Scores

SAT Score Policy

For SAT, UCLA considers your highest composite SAT score. So, you need to send your highest SAT score across multiple attempts. Note, UCLA doesn't do any superscoring.

The policy gives an advantage to the applicant. You can attempt many times and only send the highest score.

UCLA ACT Score Requirements

The composite ACT 25th percentile score of UCLA is 29, and the 75th percentile score is 32. UCLA doesn't have any minimum score conditions. But, a lower sum than the 25th percentile will make situations challenging for you to get admitted.

The ACT composite score is the average score of all 4 section scores. To get the desired composite score, you require to score around what you expected in each section.

If you want to increase your ACT score, we will recommend "APguru's Flagship ACT Prep Program." It will help you to reach your target ACT score.

ACT Score Policy:

UCLA doesn't do superscoring for ACT score. For ACT, the College will consider your "highest single composite score." It means, if you attempted the ACT exam multiple times, the College would consider the composite ACT score across all the attempts.

Hence, I recommend you to attempt ACT many times before applying.

UCLA GPA Requirements

UCLA has a specific way to calculate GPA. To see how to calculate GPA go here. UCLA has different GPA requirements for California resident students and non-resident students. 

For students in California, the GPA requirement is 3.0. For non-residential students, the GPA requirement is 3.4. You need a high school grade of "A" to receive this much GPA. If you know that you will not get that much GPA score, focus on gaining more points in SAT / ACT.

UCLA Application Requirement


Unlike many other colleges, UCLA doesn't accept the Common App or Coalition App. To apply for any course at UCLA, you need to create a UCLA application account. To create an account, go here.

Application Fee or Fee Waiver:

While applying, you need to submit $70 as application fees. Keep in mind; the application fee is non-refundable. You can pay the application fee by mail or by credit card. 

If paying the application fee difficult for you, you can also take an application fee waiver. UCLA will waive your application fee up to 4 campuses. It means if you apply for more than 4 campuses, you need to pay for each additional campus $70 as an application fee.

Note: The fee waiver is for permanent residents, United States citizens, and applicants who are eligible for AB540 benefits. UCLA doesn't provide a fee waiver for international students.


The transcript is a report consist of your academic performance. You need to submit the transcript after you get admitted.

Test Score:

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, UCLA will not consider SAT/ACT scores to make the admission decision. But you can still send SAT scores if you want to. 

If you submit the score, it may get considered to determine how eligible you are for California statewide admissions guarantee. They may use it as an alternative method to fulfill minimum requirements eligibility.

Annual Income:

You need to provide your parents' annual income if you are dependent or your income if you are independent. It's optional if you are not applying for a fee waiver, or else it's required.

Social Security Number:

You need to submit a social security number if you have one.

Citizenship Status:

You need to enter your country of citizenship. If you're not from the USA, you also need to give the immigration status and visa type. 

California Statewide Student ID

If you are from California, you can provide California Statewide Student ID. This ID is provided to all students of K12 public schools in California. However, it's an optional requirement.

Personal Insight Questions

During application, the College will provide you 8 questions, from which you need to answer 4. The question will check your interest in personal development and your intellectual curiosity.

You have a maximum of 350 words to write your answer. It's up to you how you answer the question. UCLA recommends you choose the question relevant to your experience.

Check out the below youtube video, which explains how to write personal insight questions provided by UCLA:

What If You Are An International applicant?

There are students at UCLA from more than 90 countries. For an international student, you have to check the education system requirements for your country here. One additional requirement for international students is the English proficiency test requirement. You need to present proficiency in English if you aspire to get accepted. For this, you can take tests like:

We will also recommend you to the checkout International Admission Guide.

UCLA Acceptance Rate

You need to know the acceptance rate of UCLA to know how selective they are. The acceptance rate describes how many percentages of candidates get confirmed. The top colleges in the World are very selective while admitting applicants. And as UCLA is one of the most reputable colleges in the World, the acceptance rate is low.

The current general acceptance rate of UCLA is 12.4%. It means, in every 100 candidates, around 12 get accepted. 

In short: fewer applicants get selected. You can be one of the few students who get admitted to UCLA if you work hard.

What if Not Accepted? 

What if you got rejected by UCLA? Does this mean all hope is lost? No, not yet, because there are still other options to pursue, which isn't the usual type. It's no guarantee you'll get in, but you've already tried applying, so trying it out won't be too much of a hassle. Here it is:

Alternative Option A: Go To Another College And Transfer To UCLA Later

You can try applying for a different college and transfer to UCLA later. The requirements for transferring are here. You'll be surprised to know it's 24.09% for the transfer acceptance rate. The rate is higher than the regular acceptance rates, so it won't be too much of a stretch. 

But because UCLA has already seen your application, it'll be quite a challenge to convince them you're not the same student they rejected. But by using the time you'll be having at a different college to develop your spike further and do other things that'll boost up your profile with UCLA, you may finally get accepted into the campus.

Alternative Option B: Apply Again After A Gap Year

The next alternative is to reapply after completing a gap year. What's a gap year? It's the year between your high school and applying for College, where you will not be doing any course. 

It's a riskier option to go for because when you reapply, UCLA may see you didn't do much with your time and might reject you again. 

But doing a gap year may be beneficial. The pros of doing a gap year include expanding your perspective, gaining professional knowledge, and making a difference. It's a process of building up yourself in ways that can help your overall growth as a person. 

It's also another way of growing up your spike and maintaining excellence in other fields of interest. If you're ready to take the danger while building up to be the student UCLA wants, you can go for this option. 


UCLA can show the World that a university doesn't need to have a traditional sense to be a part of the City of Angels. As you've learned, it's got many great things that thrill the students who become part of it. 

Add to the fact that a celebrity may pop in from time to time, plus the food, academic offerings, and other cool stuff that you can never get anywhere else. So if you're eager to gain your admission, follow our guide, and soon enough, you'll be already sitting in the grass with a smile! 


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