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The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ranks #13 in the Top 100 US Universities Ranking done by the QS World University Ranking in 2024. UCLA attracts a massive pool of talented applicants and with its diverse academic offerings and vibrant campus life, is a dream school for many, but its admissions process is notoriously competitive. In this article, we’ll examine UCLA’s acceptance rates, explore requirements across faculties, and discuss how to make your application shine.

UCLA’s popularity results in a relatively low overall acceptance rate. According to the data released by the university, in 2023 UCLA received 145,904 applicants, out of which only 12,779 were admitted for an acceptance rate of 8.8%.

In 2022, UCLA’s acceptance rate was 8.5%, in 2021 9.1% and in 2020 14%.

Acceptance rates at UCLA can vary depending on the specific college or major you choose:

  • Highly Selective Majors: Some majors, such as engineering, computer science, and those in the arts and entertainment, are typically more competitive due to high demand.
  • College of Letters and Science: This is UCLA’s largest college and encompasses a wide range of majors with varying levels of competitiveness.
  • Professional Schools: Graduate programs like the Anderson School of Management and the Geffen School of Medicine have their own distinct admissions processes and acceptance rates.

UCLA’s admissions process 

There are a few factors you should consider if you want to study at UCLA:

  • GPA: A strong high school GPA is crucial. UCLA looks for academic rigour and consistency throughout your coursework.
  • Standardised Tests (currently optional): UCLA has made the SAT and ACT optional for the upcoming admissions cycles, submitting strong scores can bolster your application.
  • UC Personal Insight Questions: In lieu of traditional essays, UCLA requires applicants to answer a series of short-response questions. These offer a chance to showcase your personality, experiences, and goals.

Like many selective universities, UCLA evaluates applications holistically. This means they consider factors beyond grades and test scores, such as:

  • Extracurricular Activities: Leadership roles, involvement in clubs or organisations, and unique talents demonstrate your passions and commitment.
  • Circumstances and Background: UCLA values diversity and considers personal challenges or unique life experiences that have shaped who you are.
  • Alignment with UCLA’s Mission: Highlight how your goals and interests match the values and mission of the university.

UCLA’s Historical Trends and Strategies

UCLA’s acceptance rates have generally trended downwards in response to increasing applications. To stand out, focus on:

  • Academic Excellence: Maintain a challenging course load and excel in your classes.
  • Passion & Purpose: Pursue activities you’re truly passionate about and demonstrate growth and leadership.
  • Your story: Thoughtfully answer the UC Personal Insight Questions to tell your unique story and convey your fit with UCLA.

While securing admission to UCLA is undoubtedly challenging, it’s achievable with dedication and a thoughtful application. Understanding the competitive nature of the process, emphasising your strengths, and demonstrating your fit with the university’s ethos will maximise your chances of becoming a Bruin.

UCLA’s Financial Aid

UCLA offers scholarships for students who need financial aid. You can apply for a scholarship online through the university’s website.

External funding is also a possibility. Spark Finance offers a tuition loan product tailored especially for Australian and New Zeland students that want to study abroad. Please see more information about options for Australian and New Zealand students looking to study at UCLA in our FAQs about student loans. You can also apply now.