- UC Admission Stats
- Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC) and Statewide Eligibility
- Out-of-State and International Students
The University of California system has 9 undergraduate campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. There is also a San Francisco campus but only graduate-level degrees are offered there. While all of the campuses use the same set of admission criteria (Comprehensive Review), each campus determines how each criterion weighs in the admission process. Each campus searches for a different set of students and that is why you often hear about “weird” results (getting rejected from Davis but accepted at Berkeley or getting into Berkeley and UCLA but rejected at San Diego). If you are particularly interested in certain UC campuses, make sure you find out what those campuses look for in their applicants. This is tricky because you only fill out one online application for the UCs to apply to all of the campuses. You will need to be flexible in stressing the characteristics that will make you stand out to the campuses you are especially interested in while making sure you still appeal to the rest of the UCs as well.
The UCs evaluate applications in context, meaning that you are compared to your peers (those who attend the same high school as you). Depending on the UC campus (each has its own evaluation process and data set), you may be compared to others from your high school in the current applicant pool of that particular UC campus, others from your high school in the current applicant pool of the UC system in general (any UC campus), and/or others from your high school in the current and previous applicant pool (up to 3 years prior) of the particular UC campus or the UC system in general. This means that you should not compare your achievements to random people in online forums. Talk to your school counselor to find out what a typical UC-bound student at your high school should be expected to achieve and do your best to top that.
When evaluating applications, all UCs (all of them, really!) will look at the different criteria in terms of them being neutral or adding value to the application. Students are never “dinged” for anything on the application. There is never anything “bad” about the application. So stop worrying about things that may look “bad” on your application and start focusing on achieving things that will “add value” to your application.
Go to UC Admission Information – Campus-Specific and click on the “Freshman Admission Profile” link under each UC campus name to view the detailed breakdown of GPA, SAT, ACT, and other statistics of the admitted students from the previous year.
You can generate your own queries using the admission/enrollment data provided by the UCs at StatFinder. The data set is complete with freshman and transfer information from Fall 1994 to present. The information you get from it is a bit more detailed than what’s in most UC brochures; the GPA breakdown intervals are smaller with 0.19 increments and measuring up to 4.20 and you can see overall admit rates for the different schools/colleges within each UC campus. The query setup can get a little confusing, keep trying different table configurations until you get the right query results.
Your high school must participate in the ELC program for you to receive the ELC designation (top 9%). Certain UC campuses may guarantee acceptance to ELC students. This guarantee is determined every year based on available space at each UC campus. In the past, Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, and Santa Barbara have guaranteed acceptance at one point or another. If you receive the ELC designation, be sure to use the application the UC system has set up for you or enter your ELC identification number into your current application. The UC campuses that are open for guaranteed acceptance will contact you or post the guarantee language on their website during the application cycle in November.
All seniors graduating from California high schools who meet the Admissions index (top 9% statewide) will be guaranteed acceptance to one UC campus (most likely Merced). You will simply apply to the campuses you want to attend and if you are not accepted at any of those campuses, the UC system will automatically forward your application to one of the less competitive campuses (the campus will accept you on the condition that you pay the application fee).
Out-of-state and international applicants are generally at a disadvantage because the UCs are state-supported institutions and therefore give preference to California residents. The only exception is UCLA where no preference is given for state of residency (out-of-state applicants have similar acceptance rate compared to in-state applicants).
Out-of-state and international applicants should follow the a-g requirements (through regular coursework or other methods) and take the appropriate tests as required. The UC evaluation criteria are the same for in-state, out-of-state, and international applicants. However, out-of-state and international applicants are held to a higher performance standard.
There isn’t a whole lot of help available from the UCs for out-of-state applicants. You will simply have to do some guesswork when it comes to your a-g requirements. The minimum GPA to meet eligibility for out-of-state applicants is 3.4.
There is quite a bit of help for international applicants from the UCs both at the system and the campus level. Visit the UC International Students portal to get started. Check the websites of the UC campuses you are interested in applying for more information; there is almost always a section devoted to international applicants.
Due to budget cuts, most UC campuses are looking to accept more out-of-state and/or international applicants. If you are interested in attending the UCs, it is important to indicate somewhere on your application that you intend to enroll if you were accepted (especially for out-of-state applicants because the enrollment rate from accepted students have been low historically) and that you can afford the fees (especially for international applicants because there is no financial aid available).
Most UCs no longer designate popular majors as “impacted” when making admission decisions. Generally speaking, all majors within a college or school are equally competitive. For example, all majors within the College of Natural Resources at Berkeley are equally competitive and all majors within the College of Letters and Science at UCLA are equally competitive. There are some exceptions (UCSD and engineering) but you can generally stop stressing about picking an “easy” major.
Every UC campus offers some form of study in business but not all are Business Administration majors, many offer majors in Business Economics or Management Science.
Berkeley – Business Administration. Freshman applicants for the business major should apply to Undeclared – Pre-Business Administration in the College of Letters and Science. Berkeley students still need to apply for transfer into the business major. The admit rate for Berkeley students into the business major was 43% for Fall 2014.
Davis – Managerial Economics
Irvine – Business Administration or Business Information Management in the Paul Merage School of Business or Business Economics in the School of Social Sciences. The Business Administration major is fairly competitive, with a Fall 2014 admit rate of 11.8%. The Business Information Management and Business Economics majors are less competitive, with Fall 2014 admit rates of 31.8% and 56.6%, respectively.
UCLA – Business Economics, also known as BizEcon. Freshman applicants are not admitted directly into the major. You must complete all pre-major requirements at UCLA before you can apply for admission into the major.
Merced – Management
Riverside – Business Administration
San Diego – Management Science
Santa Barbara – Economics & Accounting
UCI is the only UC campus that offers a criminology major: Criminology, Law and Society.
Berkeley offers Legal Studies for those of you who are interested in the law and Molecular Toxicology for those of you who are interested in hazardous and beneficial effects of natural and human-made toxic agents (i.e. figuring out how the victim was poisoned).
Davis has a Forensic Chemistry major, which focuses on the “identification and quantitative analysis of scientific evidence.”
The evaluation focus for engineering majors is on the number and level of math and science courses completed (at a minimum, aim to complete AP Physics and AP Calculus AB or BC, and other AP courses appropriate for your intended engineering major; for example, AP Biology if you intend to apply to bioengineering, AP Chemistry if you intend to apply to chemical engineering, and AP Computer Science if you intend to apply to computer science/engineering), grades in those courses, and test scores in math and science (SAT Subject Tests in Math Level 2 and a science are highly recommended). Strong extracurriculars in the math, science, and engineering fields, especially in selective research programs, are highly desirable.
Berkeley College of Engineering publishes a comprehensive Prospective freshman FAQs that should answer most questions you may have regarding admissions.
UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has detailed admission stats of their freshman applicants available online. UCLA may consider you for an alternate engineering major if you are not accepted to your first choice engineering major.
UCs with undergraduate nursing programs:
UCLA – Nursing – Prelicensure. Freshman admit rate is approximately 2.6% (typically only about half of those who declare nursing on the UC application file the required nursing supplemental application and that skews the admit rate) and transfer admit rate is approximately 7.3% (Fall 2014). There is a ranked waitlist for the nursing applicants who are not initially accepted. Alternate major is NOT considered.
Irvine – Nursing Science. Freshman admit rate is approximately 4% and transfer admit rate is approximately 17% (Fall 2014). There is NO waitlist for nursing applicants (if you are offered waitlist option, it is for the UCI campus ONLY, NOT for the nursing major). Alternate major is considered if the student qualified for UCI admission but was not accepted into nursing.
Davis just started a nursing program so it will be a while before the undergraduate major is launched.
UCs with undergraduate pharmacology programs:
Davis – Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Irvine – Pharmaceutical Sciences
San Diego – not quite an undergraduate program: Seven-Year B.S. Chemistry/Doctor of Pharmacy Program (scroll midway down the page)
Santa Barbara – Pharmacology
The UCSD Medical Scholars Program is an 8-year combined Bachelor/M.D. program for high school seniors who are California residents. The program accepts up to twelve highly qualified high school seniors each year, and grants them provisional acceptance into the UCSD School of Medicine. The program application is by invitation only; interested students who qualify for the program should apply for regular admission to UCSD.
Each UC campus publishes its own admission guidelines and provides admission, enrollment, and campus data. If you are interested in applying to a particular campus, you should review its guidelines to find out what the campus looks for in the applicants, admission data to see the type of students who get accepted, and campus data to get an idea of what the campus is like, statistically speaking.
Berkeley Freshman Admission Profile (with detailed stats)
Berkeley Common Data Set – look at Basis for Selection (Section C7) of the most recent data set for the relative importance of each admission criterion
Berkeley – Campus Statistics – click on Applicant and Registered Student Data to see the available enrollment and student data
Berkeley is general achievement oriented (academic and extracurricular) and the campus is especially interested in students who will take advantage of what Berkeley has to offer and become agents of social change.
Davis Freshman Admission Profile (with detailed stats)
Davis Common Data Set – look at Basis for Selection (Section C7) of the most recent data set for the relative importance of each admission criterion
Davis – Student Affairs Research and Information – search the different campus data available
Irvine Freshman Admission Profile (with detailed stats)
Irvine Common Data Set – look at Basis for Selection (Section C7) of the most recent data set for the relative importance of each admission criterion
Irvine – Office of Institutional Research – see the different campus and student data available in the navigation panel to the left
UCLA Freshman Admission Profile (with detailed stats)
UCLA Common Data Set – look at Basis for Selection (Section C7) of the most recent data set for the relative importance of each admission criterion
UCLA – Office of Analysis and Information Management – see the different campus and student data available in the navigation panel to the left
UCLA is academic achievement oriented, meaning exceptional grades and stellar test scores are essential to be competitive.
Merced Freshman Admission Profile (with detailed stats)
Merced Common Data Set – look at Basis for Selection (Section C7) of the most recent data set for the relative importance of each admission criterion
Merced – Institutional Planning & Analysis – scroll down to see the different campus and student data available
Riverside Freshman Admission Profile (with detailed stats)
Riverside Freshman Selection Criteria (scroll down to Understand Our Selection Process)
Riverside Common Data Set – look at Basis for Selection (Section C7) of the most recent data set for the relative importance of each admission criterion
Riverside – Strategic Academic Research and Analysis – see the different campus and student data available in the navigation panel to the left
San Diego Freshman Admission Profile (with detailed stats)
San Diego Common Data Set – look at Basis for Selection (Section C7) of the most recent data set for the relative importance of each admission criterion
San Diego – Student Research & Information – see the different campus and student data available in the navigation panel to the left
UCSD still uses the “impacted” designation for certain majors; however, your chance of admission does NOT change as long as you select an alternate major that is not “impacted.”
Your chance of admission does NOT vary between the six colleges.
UCSD has a web portal that explains the six-college system. Each of the six colleges has a different theme, a different set of general education requirements, and a different student body; so rank the colleges based on your preference. Not ranking your choices means UCSD will assign you to whichever college has space. Be sure to take a look at the FAQ for answers to common questions such as whether you can switch to a different college later.
Santa Barbara Freshman Admission Profile (with detailed stats)
Santa Barbara Common Data Set – look at Basis for Selection (Section C7) of the most recent data set for the relative importance of each admission criterion
Santa Barbara – Institutional Research & Planning – scroll down to see the different campus and student data available
Santa Cruz Freshman Admission Profile (with detailed stats)
Santa Cruz Freshman Selection Criteria (scroll midway down to Selection Policy for UC Santa Cruz)
Santa Cruz Common Data Set – look at Basis for Selection (Section C7) of the most recent data set for the relative importance of each admission criterion
Santa Cruz – Institutional Research and Policy Studies – see the different campus and student data available in the navigation panel to the left