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How to Increase Your Chances of Getting into UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles, more commonly referred to as UCLA, is the second oldest university (established 1919) in the University of California system. It is also one of the most prestigious.  

Though UCLA is a public research institution, it is well known for its low acceptance rates and high standards for prospective students.

Getting accepted to any prestigious university requires a certain level of academic success, an impressive resume, high standardized test scores, and a solid personal essay. UCLA is no different.

However, if you want to know how to specifically target UCLA in your application process, here is more information about the admissions requirements and advice from a UCLA student who has been in your shoes. College applications can be stressful, but there are resources out there for you while you’re going through the process.

 

UCLA Stats

Anytime you are interested in a specific college or university, you should consider looking at average statistics of the previous year’s accepted students, as well as any other statistics associated with that campus.

UCLA is a highly selective university, so if you want to apply you should set yourself up for success by understanding just how selective it is and prepare yourself accordingly.

Acceptance Rates

UCLA has notoriously low acceptance rates. In fact, as of 2018, the UCLA acceptance rate was 14%, an even lower rate compared to a 16.1% acceptance rate in the fall of 2017.

Average Test Scores

As with most colleges and universities, UCLA looks at applicants’ standardized test scores as part of their admissions considerations. Consider enrolling in a test preparation course specifically for the ACT and SAT or take practice exams to earn the highest score possible.

Though UCLA does not require both the SAT and ACT, you are welcome to submit your scores for both tests on your application. You must complete the writing section of the ACT as well.

The average composite SAT scores among accepted UCLA students is between a 1370 and 1530, based on a 1600 scale.

The average composite ACT scores among accepted UCLA students is between 31 and 35.

The higher score you can achieve, the better. Remember,  you can take the ACT as many times as you want and only your highest score will be submitted for consideration.

Average GPA

Grade point average is a way for university admissions officers to gauge your level of academic commitment in high school, so work to raise your GPA as high as possible before applying.

UCLA students generally have a very high GPA in high school. In fact, the average GPA of UCLA’s admitted students is a 3.92, unweighted and based on a 4.0 scale.

Admission Requirements

As you prepare to apply to UCLA, you should also make sure you are aware of the UCLA Freshman Admission Requirements and what the university expects of you as an applicant.

Research the school and its culture and make a list of qualities you have that could be an asset to UCLA’s campus.

 

Application Tips

When considering how to get into UCLA, it’s important to use standard college application best practices when applying. However, since UCLA reportedly had 113,000 applicants in fall of 2018, high test scores and a high GPA alone will not be enough to stand out from the pack.

To show UCLA how you are uniquely fit for the school, consider personal essay tips to make sure your application essay showcases your skills and journey as a student.

Think about your leadership skills, how you have improved throughout high school, and what your goals are as a UCLA student. How will you contribute to UCLA in a way that will make admissions officers want to accept you to the school?

Of course, make sure you showcase your true self, rather than trying to be what you think UCLA’s admissions officers want to see. While you should show yourself in the best light, UCLA admissions officers want to get to know you, and usually your true stories of growth are more impressive and intriguing than anything you could invent.

 

Tips From a UCLA Student

You should also listen to advice from students who have been in your shoes. These students can look back on the college admissions process and locate methods and practices that worked for them. Seeing that other students have been where you are will give you perspective and also hopefully inspire you!

For example, Shanaya Sidhu, a student at UCLA, advises future applicants to work hard but to focus on classes and activities that interest them, rather than focusing on pleasing the admissions officers.

She says, “While it is important to take as many AP courses as you can in order to challenge yourself, it is also very important to take AP courses in subject matter you are truly interested in, especially that which you are interested in pursuing in college. You will excel particularly in subject matter you are passionate about and driven by.”

The same is true for activities. According to Shanaya, “It is better to keep yourself busy during high school with activities that interest you and help you make an impact on your community; you should always involve yourself in activities that benefit and interest you, rather than activities you think will interest colleges on your college resume. This is because colleges can see when you are just trying too hard to impress them, so you should showcase your passions through activities that you were dedicated to and made a difference in.”

You can read more of Shanaya’s tips as well as other student success stories in the book College Admission—How to Get Into Your Dream School: Real Students, Real Stories by James W. Lewis.

As you continue your college search and prepare to apply to UCLA and other dream schools, remember there are plenty of resources out there for you to utilize during this process.

Mentors, online communities, books, blogs, counselors, and test prep advisors are there to help you, so make sure you take good notes and start building the application you need to get into the school of your dreams. Enjoy the process, and good luck!