UC Merced: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

View of UC Merced at night.

Qymekkam / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

University of California, Merced is a public university with an acceptance rate of 72%. Considering applying to UC Merced? Here are the admissions statistics you should know, including average SAT/ACT scores and GPAs of admitted students.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, UC Merced had an acceptance rate of 72%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 72 students were admitted, making UC Merced's admissions process somewhat competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 25,368
Percent Admitted 72%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 11.5%

SAT Scores and Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools will offer test-optional admissions. Applicants may submit SAT or ACT scores, but they are not required. University of California will institute a test-blind policy for in-state applicants beginning with the 2022-23 admissions cycle. Out-of- state applicants will still have the option of submitting test scores during this period. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, 92% of UC Merced's admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 490 590
Math 490 590
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of UC Merced's admitted students fall within the bottom 29% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to UC Merced scored between 490 and 590, while 25% scored below 490 and 25% scored above 590. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 490 and 590, while 25% scored below 490 and 25% scored above 590. While SAT scores are no longer required, an SAT score of 1180 or higher is considered competitive for UC Merced.

Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools, including UC Merced, will no longer require SAT scores for admission. For applicants who submit scores, note that UC Merced does not consider the optional SAT essay section. UC Merced does not superscore SAT results; your highest combined score from a single test date will be considered. SAT Subject Tests are not required, but can be used to satisfy A-G requirements or show mastery of a particular subject.

ACT Scores and Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools will offer test-optional admissions. Applicants may submit SAT or ACT scores, but they are not required. University of California will institute a test-blind policy for in-state applicants beginning with the 2022-23 admissions cycle. Out-of- state applicants will still have the option of submitting test scores during this period. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, 51% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 17 23
Math 18 24
Composite 17 22

This admissions data tells us that most of UC Merced's admitted students fall within the bottom 33% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to UC Merced received a composite ACT score between 17 and 22, while 25% scored above 22 and 25% scored below 17.

Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools, including UC Merced, will no longer require ACT scores for admission. For applicants who submit scores, note that UC Merced does not consider the optional ACT writing section. UC Merced does not superscore ACT results; your highest combined score from a single test administration will be considered.

GPA

In 2019, the middle 50% of UC Merced's incoming class had high school GPAs between 3.45 and 3.96. 25% had a GPA above 3.96, and 25% had a GPA below 3.45. This information suggests that most successful applicants to UC Merced have primarily A and B grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

UC Merced Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
UC Merced Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to University of California, Merced. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

University of California, Merced, which accepts nearly three-quarters of applicants, has a somewhat selective admissions process. However, UC Merced, like all of the University of California schools, has holistic admissions and is test-optional, so the admissions officers are evaluating students on more than numerical data. As part of the application, students are required to write four short personal insight essays. Since UC Merced is a part of the University of California system, students can easily apply to multiple schools in that system with one application. Students who show special talent or have a compelling story to tell will often get a close look even if their grades and test scores are a bit below the norm. Impressive extracurricular activities and strong essays are all important parts of a successful application to UC Merced.

Keep in mind that California residents who apply must have a GPA of 3.0 or better with no grade lower than a C in 15 college preparatory "a-g" courses. For non-residents, your GPA must be 3.4 or better. Local students from participating high schools may also qualify if they are in the top 9% of their class.

In the graph above, the green and blue dots represent accepted students. The majority of students admitted to UC Merced had GPAs of 3.0 or higher, SAT scores (ERW+M) of 950 or higher, and ACT scores of 18 or higher. Keep in mind that there are a few red dots hidden behind the blue and green, so some students with grades and test scores on target for UC Merced still will be rejected.

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All admissions data has been sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and University of California, Merced Undergraduate Admissions Office.