UC Irvine Admissions Statistics

SAT Scores,ACT Scores, Acceptance Rate, Financial Aid & More

Frederick Reines Hall at UC Irvine
Frederick Reines Hall at UC Irvine ( more photos). Photo Credit: Marisa Benjamin

UC Irvine had an acceptance rate of 37 percent in 2017. The university is selective, and the great majority of admitted students have grades and standardized test scores that are well above average. Applicants will need to submit SAT or ACT scores and write four personal insight essays.

Why You Might Choose UC Irvine

The University of California at Irvine is located in the heart of Orange County. The 1,500-acre campus has an interesting circular design with Aldrich Park in the center. The park features a network of paths running through the gardens and trees. In academics, UC Irvine has many highly ranked programs including biology and health sciences, criminology, English, and psychology. A little over a third of UCI students live in university housing, and the school has an active Greek system. In athletics, many of the UCI Anteater teams compete in the NCAA Division I Big West Conference.

UC Irvine GPA, SAT, and ACT Graph

GPA, SAT and ACT Admissions Data for the University of California Irvine
GPA, SAT and ACT Admissions Data for the University of California Irvine. Graph courtesy of Cappex. 

The data represented in the graph is self-reported by UC Irvine applicants, and the GPA data is unweighted. You can see the real-time graph and calculate your own chances of getting in with this free tool from Cappex.

Discussion of UC Irvine's Admissions Standards

In the scattergram above, the green and blue dots represent accepted students. As you can see, most students who got into Irvine had GPAs of 3.5 or higher, SAT scores (RW+M) of 1050 or higher, and ACT scores of 21 or higher. In the middle of the graph a lot of red is hidden beneath the blue and green, so it's important to realize that many students with grades and test scores on target for UC Irvine still get rejected. This could be due to many factors including an unimpressive high school curriculum or lack of depth in any extracurricular areas.

Your high school grades and SAT/ACT scores are going to be the most important part of your application for UC Irvine. If you're a straight "A" student with above average SAT scores, your chances of admission are good. That said, the university is looking at more than grades. The admissions folks will want to see that you took challenging courses such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Honors. These advanced courses earn applicants extra points when UC Irvine calculates your high school GPA. 

Other Admissions Factors for UC Irvine

Don't despair if your grades and test scores are slightly below the norm. All of the University of California schools have holistic admissions, so the admissions officers are evaluating students based on more than numerical data (note that this is generally not true for the 23 schools in the California State University System). Students who show some kind of special talent or have a compelling story to tell will often get a close look even if grades and test scores aren't quite up to the ideal. Your participation in meaningful extracurricular activities can play a role if you show passion, leadership skills, and talent. 

Also, be sure to put time and care into your four personal insight essays. Choose your topics carefully so that each short essay reveals something important about your personality and interests. These essay tips and essay style tips can help you make your writing shine.

The University of California at Irvine, along with all the other UC schools, does not use letters of recommendation as part of the application process. Also, admission interviews are not offered by the university.

Admissions Data (2017)

  • UC Irvine Acceptance Rate: 37 percent

Test Scores -- 25th / 75th Percentile

  • SAT Critical Reading: 580 / 650
  • SAT Math: 590 / 700
  • ACT Composite: 25 / 32
  • ACT English: 23 / 30
  • ACT Math: 25 / 31

If you compare SAT scores for all of the University of California campuses, you'll see that UC Irvine falls in the middle. The university has gotten more selective in recent years.

More UC Irvine Information

If you're an out-of-state applicant, be sure to shop around. The UC schools are some of the most expensive public universities in the country, and this is particularly true for out-of-state students. 60% of applicants do receive grant aid from the institution, but private universities often have the resources to give bigger grant awards.

Enrollment (2017)

  • Total Enrollment: 35,242 (29,307 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 47% Male / 53% Female
  • 98% Full-time

Costs (2017 - 18)

  • Tuition and Fees: $13,738 (in-state); $41,752 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $1,357 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $14,861
  • Other Expenses: $3,902
  • Total Cost: $33,858 (in-state); $61,872 (out-of-state)

UC Irvine Financial Aid (2016 - 17)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 65 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 60 percent
    • Loans: 36 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $18,824
    • Loans: $5,162

Academic Programs

  • Most Popular Majors: Biology, Computer and Information Science, Criminology, Economics, Electrical Engineering, English, Environmental Design, Global Studies, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Psychology, Social Psychology, Sociology
  • What major is right for you? Sign up to take the free "My Careers and Majors Quiz" at Cappex.

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 94 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 70 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 85 percent

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

  • Men's Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Water Polo
  • Women's Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Indoor Track, Soccer, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Water Polo

If You Like UC Irvine, You May Also Like These Schools

Students who apply to UC Irvine also tend to consider other public universities in California such as UCSD, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Long Beach, and UCLA. Note that UCSD and UCLA are both more selective than UC Irvine as this comparison of the UC schools shows.

Many UC Irvine applicants also apply to some private universities. Popular choices include Pepperdine University, University of San Diego, Stanford University, and Loyola Marymount University. Stanford applicants will need a stellar high school record—it is one of the most selective universities in the entire country.

Data Source: Graph courtesy of Cappex; all other data from the National Center for Educational Statistics.