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Last updated March 21, 2024

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How to Use the UCSD Common Data Set

Key Takeaway

The University of California - San Diego Common Data Set is a powerful tool to help you better understand UCSD's admissions process. UCSD admissions officers look at many factors in your application, like GPA, class rank, extracurricular activities, and more. Essays play a key role in the UCSD application process, making it important to take the time to write standout college essays.

The University of California - San Diego Common Data Set is a powerful tool to help you better understand UCSD's admissions process.

This data highlights what UCSD admissions officers look for in applications, making it easier for you to tailor your application to UCSD.

Let's dive in.

How UCSD Evaluates Applicants — based on CDS data

UCSD admissions officers look at many factors in your application, like GPA, class rank, extracurricular activities, and more. This approach aligns with the multi-stage review used by many selective colleges.

You can expect common factors like academic strength, community involvement, and personal character to play a key role in your application. UCSD is especially interested in your course rigor, GPA, and application essays.

Interestingly, UCSD doesn’t focus on standardized test scores—none of the University of California system does. UCSD also doesn’t take into account recommendation letters. So, if you’re a standout student with strong community involvement but weaker test scores or recommendations, UCSD could be a good fit for you.

  Very important Important Considered Not considered Data Not Listed
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 UCSD track demonstrated interest?

The USCD Common Data Set does not report whether UCSD takes demonstrated interest into account.

Does UCSD care about standardized test scores?

No, UCSD does not use standardized test scores. Although the UCSD Common Data Set doesn't factor in standardized test scores, your academic record, particularly your GPA, carries weight.

Does UCSD care about essays?

Absolutely. Essays play a key role in the UCSD application process. They’re considered “very important” because UCSD admissions officers use your essays to understand your strengths, character, and personal qualities. This is why you should take the time to write standout college essays that enhance your overall application story.

What GPA do I need to get into UCSD?

The table below provides insights about the GPAs of first-year students.

GPA Percent of Enrolled Students
4.0 82.5%
3.75-3.99 14%
3.50-3.74 2.9%
3.25-3.49 0.5%
3.00-3.24 0.1%
2.50-2.99, 2.0-2.49, 1.0-1.99, Below 1.0 0%

Looking at these numbers, it’s clear that you should aim for a nearly perfect GPA for a competitive shot at UCSD.

UCSD Acceptance Rate

UCSD received 118,410 applications and admitted 40,629 students. That's an acceptance rate of 34.31%—quite competitive!

Of the admitted students, 7,544 chose to enroll as first-year students.

What’s the right application option for you?

Since UCSD doesn't offer an Early Decision option, focus on making your regular application as strong as possible. Your compatibility with UCSD's academic environment and campus culture is key to your application strategy.

Most Popular Majors at UCSD

While the Common Data Set doesn’t directly list popular majors, you can glean some information by looking at the percentages of degrees granted in each field.

The table below shows that the most popular majors at UCSD are in the biological/life sciences, which make up 18.2% of all degrees awarded. Other popular fields include interdisciplinary studies, social sciences, engineering, and computer and information sciences.

Major Percent of Degrees Conferred
Biological/life sciences 18.2%
Interdisciplinary studies 16%
Social sciences 12.8%
Engineering 12.5%
Computer and information sciences 8.8%
Psychology 6.3%
Physical sciences 4.9%
Mathematics and statistics 4.4%
Health professions and related programs 3.2%
Communication/journalism 2.9%

This data can help you decide if UCSD aligns with your academic interests. Also consider how your extracurricular activities can add value to your field of interest at UCSD. Admission offices appreciate significant impact in extracurricular activities, which you can show off through initiatives in your chosen field.

What should you do with all this information?

Applying to UCSD with its 34.3% acceptance rate means your application needs to be well-prepared.

UCSD values rigorous coursework and a strong academic GPA. Make sure these areas shine. Equally important, your extracurricular activities and personal qualities should show you as a dedicated, multifaceted student.

Your compelling essay, along with these factors, will help build a strong application strategy.

Best of luck with your UCSD application! If you want to dive deeper into college application data, you can visit the Data Room for more Common Data Set data and compare admissions criteria between schools.



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