How to Get Into UCLA: All You Need to Know

Monday, July 17, 2023



When to Apply to UCLA 

As a part of the University of California system, UCLA participates in the UC application. This is the only way for a prospective student to apply to UCLA. The University of California system does not use the Common App. When a student applies to any school in the University of California system, they apply using the same UC application. That means that if you apply to one UC school, you can apply to any other UC school using the same application. The UC application deadline is November 30, slightly earlier than most regular applications for admission.

Early, Rolling, and Regular Decision 

The University of California system only offers Regular Decision. Even students who consider UCLA or any other University of California school their first choice cannot apply early.

Waitlisted Applications 

The waitlist is one of three possible admissions decisions an applicant may receive after applying to UCLA, with the other two being admission or denial. When a student is offered a spot on the waitlist, they are offered the opportunity to potentially replace an admitted student’s spot. Universities only offer admission to waitlisted students if they have space in the class after the enrollment deadline for admitted students. Students must officially accept their place on the waitlist in order to possibly receive an offer of admission as a result of their waitlist status. That said, being admitted off the waitlist is quite rare.

How Hard Is It to Get Into UCLA: Early Prep 

The answer to the question “how hard is it to get into UCLA?” is a multi-faceted one. That said, no matter where you’re coming from, gaining admission to UCLA is not a walk in the park. UCLA is one of the most selective schools in the University of California system. Further, it is much more competitive for a student to gain admission to UCLA if they are not a resident of the state of California. For example, you can build your profile in a number of ways, especially if you are still years away from submitting an application. Read on to learn more about how to build your profile and deepen your level of engagement with UCLA.

Build Your Profile 

UCLA is looking for academically talented individuals who are engaged in their communities and committed to making an impact in Los Angeles and in the state of California during their time at the school. As a prospective student, you can build your applicant profile to tell a story that matches with what UCLA is looking for. Your academic profile should demonstrate strong academic capabilities and improvement over time (or the ability to maintain a high standard consistently). Maintaining an upward grade trend will help your application immensely. Colleges are now looking for specialized, or what we call “pointy,” students. This makes sense: if well-rounded means students who have dipped their toes in many different interests and passions, a pointy student is one who demonstrates a commitment to just a few passions or interests. Build your profile by working toward a pointy narrative in a particular direction. This will help strengthen your candidacy to UCLA and other highly competitive institutions.

Visit the Campus and a Class 

One of the best ways to find out if UCLA is the right kind of college for you is by visiting campus. UCLA is one of the smallest colleges in the UC system in terms of land mass, considering that it’s in a large, dense urban center. The university is its own mini universe within Westwood and the greater city of LA. It’s difficult to get a sense of it without visiting and walking through the campus. Luckily, the UCLA office of admissions has several college visit options. The more you can get to know the school before you apply, the better.

Connect With a Student

Connecting with a student is one of the best possible ways to deepen your understanding and engagement with a school during the application process. You can connect to a student through the UCLA office of admissions. The admissions staff is there to engage with prospective students, answer their questions, and offer perspective on what it’s really like to be a student at UCLA.

Learn About Any Student Experiences 

By connecting with a current student, prospective students can learn about student experiences, which is a great way to deepen your knowledge of what the university has to offer and how you might fit into the campus life there.

How Do You Actually Get Into UCLA? The Application 

Now that you’ve learned about the different ways to build your profile and engage with UCLA, it’s time to learn about what it actually takes to get into UCLA. Below is a breakdown of UCLA’s admissions trends, separated by holistic admissions factors, from GPA to essays. Though an applicant’s high school transcript is typically one of the most important elements of their application, the University of California system doesn’t require transcripts with applications. Instead, they ask students to self-report their academic history and grades. Then, if a student is admitted and would like to enroll, they are required to send official transcripts, which must match their self-reported grades.

GPA Requirements 

It’s important to understand UCLA’s GPA requirements and how they differ if you’re an in-state applicant or an out-of-state applicant. The minimum high school GPA requirement for in-state applicants is a 3.0, while it’s a 3.4 for out-of-state applicants.

SAT and ACT Scores 

UCLA does not consider SAT or ACT scores for admission due to the University of California system’s test-blind policy. None of the UC schools consider test scores for scholarship purposes either. Applicants can still elect to submit scores, however. While they will not be used as a means of assessment, test scores can be used to fulfill a minimum requirement for course placement if a student is admitted and decides to enroll.

Personal Statement 

The UC system has its own application and does not participate in the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Rather than just one personal statement, the University of California system requires four essays between 250 and 350 words in length. Students should select the four essay questions for which they believe they can write the strongest essays. It’s important to make sure there’s not too much overlap from one essay answer to another, so none of the essays read too similarly.

Letters of Recommendation 

The University of California system does not require or accept any letters of recommendation as part of their process. This means they do not want counselor or teacher recommendations from applicants. Remember to follow directions — if a school specifically states they do not accept letters of recommendation, do not send them.

Contribution to the UCLA Community 

Among the list of factors that UCLA considers for admissions is “likeliness to make a significant contribution to the campus community.” This means UCLA takes student involvement and engagement seriously. They will assess an applicant’s likeliness to contribute to the UCLA community based on how much that applicant has contributed to their communities in the past.

Class Profile 

As we already mentioned, students can apply to any of the UC schools using the same application. So, you may wonder how many people apply to UCLA. The most recent data for the freshman class of 2022 shows 149,815 applicants and 12,844 admits. The UCLA acceptance rate for fall 2022 was 9%. The class size was 6,461 students.

What Makes UCLA Unique? 

UCLA is unique in that it’s the major public research university in the city of Los Angeles. UCLA is also well-known for its athletic culture. The UCLA Bruins play in the NCAA Division I conference, an enticing factor for student athletes. UCLA is a large, highly selective public university located in an urban center. This university is an excellent option for an academically talented student who wants to meaningfully engage with the world around them.

Admissions Counseling 

To gain admission to UCLA and other highly selective schools, most students could benefit from expert admissions guidance. IvyWise’s admissions experts are here to guide you through the college admissions process, from building a strategic application plan to essay brainstorming and submission. Take the first step towards getting into your best-fit university and schedule an Initial Consultation.



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