Ucla Undergraduate Admission Essay

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at UCLA is 17%. For every 100 applicants, only 17 are admitted.

This means the school is extremely selective. Meeting their GPA requirements and SAT/ACT requirements is very important to getting past their first round of filters and proving your academic preparation. If you don't meet their expectations, your chance of getting is nearly zero.

After crossing this hurdle, you'll need to impress UCLA application readers through their other application requirements, including extracurriculars, essays, and letters of recommendation. We'll cover more below.

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

The average GPA at UCLA is 4.31.

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 4.31, UCLA requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes - AP or IB courses - to show that college-level academics is a breeze.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 4.31, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to UCLA. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

UCLA SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1370 (Old: 1947)

The average SAT score composite at UCLA is a 1370 on the 1600 SAT scale.

On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1947.

This score makes UCLA Moderately Competitive for SAT test scores.


UCLA SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1250, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1500. In other words, a 1250 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1500 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math690620770
Reading343137
Writing353237
Composite137012501500

UCLA SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1750, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 2170. In other words, a 1750 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 2170 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math665600750
Reading634570700
Writing648580720
Composite194717502170

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

UCLA has the Score Choice policy of "All Scores."

This means that UCLA requires you to send all SAT scores you've ever taken to their office.

This sounds daunting, but most schools don't actually consider all your scores equally. For example, if you scored an 1300 on one test and a 1500 on another, they won't actually average the two tests.

In fact, we researched the score policies at UCLA, and they have the following policy:

We require all scores and will use the highest scores from a single administration.

Source

Some students are still worried about submitting too many test scores. They're afraid that UCLA will look down on too many attempts to raise your score. But how many is too many?

From our research and talking to admissions officers, we've learned that 4-6 tests is a safe number to submit. The college understands that you want to have the best chance of admission, and retaking the test is a good way to do this. Within a reasonable number of tests, they honestly don't care how many times you've taken it. They'll just focus on your score.

If you take it more than 6 times, colleges start wondering why you're not improving with each test. They'll question your study skills and ability to improve.

But below 6 tests, we strongly encourage retaking the test to maximize your chances. If your SAT score is currently below a 1500, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You don't have much to lose, and you can potentially raise your score and significantly boost your chances of getting in.


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UCLA ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, UCLA likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 29

The average ACT score at UCLA is 29. This score makes UCLA Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 25, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 33.

Even though UCLA likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 25 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 29 and above that a 25 will look academically weak.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 33 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to UCLA, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 33.


Studying for the ACT instead? Want to learn how to improve your ACT score by 4 points?

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.


SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

UCLA requires you to take the SAT/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.


SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that UCLA requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.


Our Expert's Notes

We did more detailed research into this school and found the following information.


FAQs from Prospective Freshman Applicants

Here are the most common questions we get from freshmen who are planning to apply UCLA.

Q: What is the next available term that I can apply to UCLA?

A: The next opportunity to apply will be for Fall Quarter 2018; the application will be available in August.
(The deadline for Fall Quarter 2017 was November 30, 2016.)

Q: How do I apply?

A: You can fill out and submit a UC application on the University of California's admissions site during the filing period.

Q: Where do I send transcripts or letters of recommendation?

A: UCLA does not usually want letters of recommendation or transcripts for the admission selection process. Our review is based on self-reported information provided on the UC Application form. In the event that we would need anything like this from you during our selection process, we would request them from you specifically.

Students who are admitted (and who intend to enroll) are required to submit official transcripts; instructions about where and when to send transcripts are included in the admission packets.

Q: How do I sign up for my admission interview?

A: UCLA does not have an interview process. Applicants to non-arts majors are reviewed solely based on information contained in their applications. (Applicants to Dance, Ethnomusicology, Music, or Theater will, however, need to audition—see below.)

Q: What should I say in my answers to the personal insight questions?

A: The personal insight question choices can be found in the UC Application. They give students flexibility and control in what personal stories they want to tell. You should use the personal insight questions to give us a more complete picture of you by augmenting—not repeating—the information elsewhere in the application. The tips we have to offer you are surprisingly straightforward and based on a lot of common sense—the sort that is easily lost under the pressure of the application process.

Link here for some basic tips

Q: I'm planning to apply to the Art (Design, Music, Theater, World Arts and Cultures) major for Fall, what additional information is required?

A: Depending on your major, you will have to submit a portfolio or perform an audition (in addition to other requirements). Follow the links below for detailed information on supplemental requirements and how to complete them.

Q: Where do I get information on financial aid and scholarships?

A: Some scholarship information is listed in the UC Application, but most financial aid is dependent on the amount of money the school has for a particular quarter and the needs of the students attending. The first step in finding out whether you qualify for financial aid is to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form between January 1 and and March 2 for financial aid beginning in the following fall term. For more information, contact the UCLA Financial Aid Office.

Q: What are the requirements for the ACT and SAT?

A: You must take one of the following:

  • ACT, plus the ACT Writing Test
  • SAT
    Note:  The SAT exam changed significantly as of  March, 2016. Applicants may submit scores from either or both the old and new SAT, however those who take the new SAT must complete the essay section for UCLA (or any University of California campus) to recognize the exam. We will accept scores from either the old or new SAT for all freshman applicants who graduate from high school prior to 2020; applicants who graduate in 2020 or later must take the new SAT.

Note: for each test above, we will use the sitting with the overall highest composite score; we do not combine test scores from multiple sittings.

SAT Subject Tests are not required, however applicants to the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science are strongly encouraged to take the following SAT Subject Tests: Math Level 2 and a science test (Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics) that is closely related to the applicant's intended major.

Q: If I take the ACT/SAT Test more than once, does UCLA combine the scores and take the average of all of them, or do you only look at the first score?

A: If you take the ACT/SAT more than once, we automatically consider the sitting with the highest composite score. We do not combine scores from different sittings or penalize you for taking the tests more than once. (Likewise, if you take the same SAT Subject Test more than once we will use the highest score.)

We must receive official reports of your scores from the testing agencies and all exams must be completed no later than the first week in December of the year in which you file your application (i.e., a student who applies for admission to the fall 2018 term in November 2017 would have to take all required tests by December 2017).

Q: I'm an international student; do I need to take the ACT, SATs or just the TOEFL?

A: International applicants are not exempt from the ACT/SAT requirement. All freshman applicants must take either the ACT (plus the writing section) or the SAT (including the essay portion, if taken March, 2016 or later) by the December of the year they file their application.

Note: International students whose language of instruction is not English are also required to take either the Test of English as as Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

More on the TOEFL/IELTS

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