Here are the most common questions we get from students who are considering UCLA.
Q: How can I get an application?
A: Fill out and submit the University of California (UC) online application.
Q: When should
A: Fall quarters (which begin in late September): you must apply during the previous November. (For example, applicants for Fall Quarter 2014 must submit their applications by Friday, November 30, 2013.)
The next available term is Fall Quarter 2014.
Winter quarters: UCLA is not open to new students for winter quarters.
Spring quarters: UCLA is not open to new students for spring quarters.
Q: What are the average GPA and test scores for freshmen admitted to UCLA?
A: These statistics and many more are available on our Freshman Profile page.
This is often the first question prospective freshmen ask us. Many students instinctively focus on GPA and test scores without fully understanding how these numbers are used in our admission process. These statistics are only two of the elements we use in our academic review; we carefully balance many factors to gain a complete sense of an applicant's achievements.
Here are some of the additional criteria we will use to evaluate your application:
- The quality, content, and level of college prep courses you have taken throughout your entire high school program, especially coursework completed beyond the minimum courses required for eligibility to the University of California.
- The strength of your senior year coursework.
- The number of and performance in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), school-designated honors, and college courses you have taken, particularly in your junior and senior years.
- The degree to which you have challenged yourself within the context of your own high school.
So you can see that GPA and test scores are just two of the elements we will examine within the larger context of your academic achievements.
Q: Which counts more in admission decisions--grades or test scores?
A: GPA--combined with the quantity and level of your high school courses--is of primary importance (a strong GPA, for instance, on an academic program that lacks honors level courses or does not include courses well beyond those needed for basic UC eligibility, will not likely result in admission). That being said, test scores are still an important element.
First and foremost, you should take the most challenging courses you are able to handle. This is also the best way to prepare for your standardized tests. It is also a good idea to be prepared to take the tests more than once--in other words, don't wait until your senior year. That way, if you do not perform your best on some tests, you have a chance retake them in the fall of your senior year.
We also find academic strength in AP exams with scores of 3 and above (and IB exams with scores of 5 and above).
It should be noted, however, that because UCLA does not use a mathematical formula when evaluating applicants, there is no fixed numerical weight attached to either GPA or test scores.
Q: Is it easier to be admitted to UCLA as a freshman or as a transfer student?
A: To be admitted as a transfer student is not necessarily harder or easier than being admitted as a freshman; the two paths are different. For freshman applicants we look primarily at the performance in high school and on the standardized tests, whereas transfer applicants do not provide information about their high school curriculum and are not required to take standardized tests. For transfer applicants, the degree of preparation for the major and the college GPA are crucial considerations; strong preference is given to students ready for upper division coursework in their major. Some majors at the transfer level are highly competitive, and preparedness and GPA are even more important for applicants to these majors.
Instead of thinking of freshman vs. transfer admission in terms of "easier" or "harder," we encourage you to reflect upon your own personal circumstances and preparedness for university work when deciding which path to UCLA is more appropriate for you.
Q: What's the difference between being eligible for admission and being competitive?
A: First, let's define eligibility: To be "eligible," applicants must meet all of the minimum requirements for admission to the University of California (UC).
Freshmen can follow three paths of eligibility
to the UC system:
1) eligibility in the statewide context (students who satisfy subject, scholarship, and examination requirements);
2) eligibility in the local context (students in the top 4% of their participating high school); or
3) eligibility by examination alone (based on a formula using ACT and SAT scores).
For more information about eligibility requirements, visit the UC's Admissions Site.
Transfer applicants must meet different eligibility requirements which can be found in the UC's Transfer Admission site.
Merely being eligible by meeting one or all of these criteria means that applicants have at least met the minimum academic preparation necessary for admission to the one of the campuses in the UC system. However, since several UC campuses, including UCLA, receive far more applications from eligible applicants than we have room to accept, students who apply here must exceed minimum eligibility to be a likely candidate for admission. This brings us to the next term--competitive:
Since we cannot admit all UC-eligible applicants, students who are admitted usually have academic achievements far higher than that of minimum eligibility. So, to gain admission, an applicant must also be "competitive," or among the strongest achieving students to apply. Last year, UCLA admitted approximately 25% of the freshmen who applied.
Q: Does my choice of major have an impact on my chances for admission?
A: For freshmen applying to a major in UCLA's College of Letters and Science (L&S), choice of major will neither enhance nor diminish their prospects for admission. In fact, a large number of freshman applicants apply as "undeclared." Major is a factor for freshmen applying to non-L&S schools at UCLA (Arts and Architecture; Engineering; Nursing; Theater, Film and Television).
For transfer students, major choice is extremely important for all applicants. Our evaluation of transfer applications is based largely on students' preparation for the major they select and their GPAs in the completed preparatory courses. We give preference to applicants with strong academic records who will be ready to begin upper division coursework in their major when they enter UCLA.
All applicants--freshman and transfer--should be aware that applicants to majors in the School of the Arts and Architecture; the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the School of Nursing; and the School of Theater, Film, and Television are evaluated differently than applicants to the College of Letters and Science:
The majors in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science are very competitive--especially Bioengineering. All engineering applicants will be expected to have especially strong performances in math and science courses.
The School of Nursing has a separate application in addition to the general UC application that all applicants to the school must complete.
Q: What tips can you give me about writing the personal statement?
A: The personal statement is a chance for you to tell us more about yourself, your life experiences, and your personal qualities so that we can have a clearer idea of your personal and intellectual development.
Applicants must respond to two essay prompts. They are deliberately broad to allow you to use the personal statement 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 to 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.
Q: How can I find out more about the different majors at UCLA?
A: Students are attracted to UCLA for its wealth of distinguished academic and research programs. Five exceptional schools on campus offer undergraduate instruction leading to a Bachelor's degree. We encourage you to investigate all of them.
- College of Letters and Science
- School of the Arts and Architecture
- School of Engineering and Applied Science
- School of Nursing
- School of Theater, Film, and Television
Q: Is it better to take a regular-level course and get an A or take an AP course and get a B?
A: We are looking for students who are taking advantage of the opportunities available to them. at their schools. IF you have the opportunity to take advanced courses, take them.
The University of California adds extra "weight" to grades received in UC-certified honors, AP/IB, and transferable college courses. (For more information about how letter grades are assigned point values in calculating GPAs, refer to the UC's page on calculating your GPA.
At UCLA we recognize that honors, AP/IB, and college courses are more rigorous and require high levels of commitment and effort. By choosing the most advanced courses for which you are prepared-and by doing well in them-you can send a powerful message about your desire to challenge yourself in an academic environment and about your preparation for the demands of UCLA's academic programs.
Q: Which is better to take: honors, AP/IB, or college courses?
A: UC-certified honors, AP/IB, and transferable college courses are equally meritorious in the sense that they are all challenging courses, and they all add extra weight to an applicant's GPA.
(For more information about the definition of honors-level courses, refer to the UC's document on honors courses.)
The benefit of an AP/IB course is that it is part of a nationally standardized program culminating in an exam that, if passed, can earn college credit. Similarly, satisfactory grades received in transferable college courses will also earn credit at UCLA. High school honors courses, in contrast, will not earn college credit. If you are still in high school and are interested in completing college courses, you can access a list of UC-transferable courses offered at California community colleges at www.assist.org.
Q: I am getting involved in a lot of extracurricular activities and sometimes I can't keep up with my classes. Won't my activities make up for any drop in my grades?
A: Of course, a strong academic performance combined with sustained, meaningful involvement in extracurricular activities is the ideal. But if it comes down to a choice between excelling in your coursework or your extracurricular activities, choose your academics.
Q: What are the best extracurricular activities to be involved in?
A: We do not consider any one kind of extracurricular activity inherently "better" than another. What is important is that students select activities that are truly meaningful to them and that they really get involved with them. We look for long-standing dedication and significant time commitment to an activity, and we notice students' progression to positions of leadership or recognition of achievement.
Q: Do you have limits on the number of students you can accept from a given high school or community college?
A: No. There is no limit on the number of students UCLA can accept from a given school. Each student is evaluated on the basis of his or her individual achievements and potential for contributing to UCLA. We evaluate freshman applicants in the context of their individual high schools as well as in the context of the applicant pool as a whole. We evaluate transfer applicants based on their preparation and performance within the pool of applicants to their majors as well as in the context of the entire transfer pool. Students should take advantage of all the academic and intellectual opportunities available to them in their schools and communities.
Q: How many out-of-state and international students apply to UCLA, and how many are admitted?
A: UCLA received almost 24,000 applications from out-of-state and international freshman applicants for the fall 2012 term. Over 7,000 of them were admitted. Since UCLA is a state-supported institution, the vast majority (about 90%) of our undergraduates are California residents. UCLA, however, enrolls students from all 50 states and from over 100 countries.
Q: How can I get on UCLA's admissions mailing list?
Q: Does UCLA have an Open House?
A: UCLA does not hold a general Open House for prospective students, although some departments do have such events. You should check with the department you are interested in.