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Last updated March 21, 2024

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How to Use the UCLA Common Data Set

Key Takeaway

UCLA values course rigor, GPA, and essays most, followed by extracurriculars, talent, personal character, and volunteer/work experience. Standardized test scores and demonstrated interest are not considered. Nearly 60% of students had a 4.0 high school GPA, and the acceptance rate is around 8.57%. To increase chances of acceptance, focus on academic excellence, highlight personal qualities and extracurricular involvement, and write strong essays.

The UCLA Common Data Set is a valuable resource that can give your UCLA application a boost. It shows you what UCLA admissions officers value most in applicants, which is information you can use to shape your UC application.

Let's begin.

How UCLA Evaluates Applicants — based on CDS data

When you apply to UCLA, your application is judged based on a range of different factors—like your GPA, application essays, and extracurricular activities, among others.

UCLA values course rigor, GPA, and essays the highest. Next up, UCLA admissions officers look at your extracurriculars, talent, personal character, and volunteer and work experience. This combination is a clear example of the multi-stage review employed by selective colleges. It shows that while good grades are important, UCLA also cares about who you are as a person and how you engage with your community.

  Very important Important Considered Not considered
Rigor of Secondary Record X      
Class rank       X
Academic GPA X      
Standardized test scores       X
Application Essay X      
Recommendation(s)       X
Interview       X
Extracurricular activities   X    
Talent/ability   X    
Character/personal qualities   X    
First generation     X  
Alumni/ae relation       X
Geographical residence     X  
State residency     X  
Religious affiliation/commitment       X
Racial/ethnic status       X
Volunteer work   X    
Work experience   X    
Demonstrated interest       X

Does UCLA track demonstrated interest?

No, UCLA does not consider demonstrated interest.

Does UCLA care about standardized test scores?

Nope! Standardized test scores do not factor into your UCLA application, as per the UCLA Common Data Set. This departs from the usual practice at many universities and allows you more freedom to concentrate on creating a cohesive story in your application.

Does UCLA care about essays?

Definitely, UCLA places a high value on application essays. Essays give admissions officers a glimpse into your personality, potential, and uniqueness. Well-written essays can also reveal your character and personal qualities, which UCLA considers important.

What GPA do I need to get into UCLA?

A large number of first-year students at UCLA have high GPAs. Here are the details:

GPA % of Enrolled Students
4.0 59.1%
3.75-3.99 34%
3.50-3.74 4.9%
3.25-3.49 1.6%
3.00-3.24 0.3%
2.50-2.99 0.1%
2.0-2.49, 1.0-1.99, Below 1.0 0%

Nearly 60% of students had a 4.0 high school GPA. That’s a lot! And nearly 98% had above a 3.5. Clearly, to stand a chance at UCLA, you’re going to need a strong GPA.

UCLA Acceptance Rate

UCLA received an incredible 149,815 applications and admitted 12,844 students.

This results in an acceptance rate of around 8.57%. That’s really competitive.

UCLA Early Decision Acceptance Rate

Unlike some universities, UCLA does not offer an Early Decision (ED) option. This means that all applications are reviewed during the Regular Decision timeframe. Planning your application is still critical, even without an Early Decision choice.

Most popular majors at UCLA

The CDS doesn't directly report major information, but we can determine the most popular majors by examining the percentage of degrees awarded in each field.

Major Percent of Degrees Conferred
Social sciences 25.4
Biological/life sciences 15.5
Psychology 10.7
Mathematics and statistics 7.8
Engineering 7.3
Interdisciplinary studies 5.6
Visual and performing arts 3.8
Computer and information sciences 3.5
English 3.1
Area, ethnic, and gender studies 3

The choice of your major should play a role in your application strategy. If you're drawn to popular majors like social sciences or biological sciences, be sure to provide convincing reasons for your choice. On the other hand, less competitive majors such as visual and performing arts or English may offer unique chances to set yourself apart, especially if you demonstrate the breadth and impact of your extracurricular activities as they relate to your intended major.

What should you do with all this information?

With UCLA's acceptance rate standing at 8.57%, it's clear that you’ll need to deliver a thorough, persuasive application. Focusing on academic excellence is crucial because of the importance of GPA.

Your application should highlight your personal qualities and extracurricular involvement. And, remember, your essays play a significant role in presenting a full picture of who you are.

Use all these insights to boost your application strategy.

For more Common Data Set data and to compare admissions criteria between schools, visit the Data Room.




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