UC San Diego: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

UC San Diego

 

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Located in La Jolla, California, UC San Diego is a public university with an acceptance rate of 30%. Students will generally need a strong application and good test scores to be admitted. As part of the application, students will need to write four short personal insight essays. Since UC San Diego is a part of the University of California system, students can easily apply to multiple schools in that system with one application.

One of the "Public Ivies," UCSD consistently ranks in top ten lists of best public universities. The school is particularly strong in the sciences, social sciences and engineering. UC San Diego's Scripps Institute of Oceanography gets top marks for oceanography and the biological sciences. The school has a system of six undergraduate residential colleges modeled after Oxford and Cambridge, and each college has its own curricular focus. On the athletic front, the UCSD Tritons compete in the NCAA Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association.

Considering applying to UC San Diego? Here are the admissions statistics you should know, including SAT/ACT scores and GPAs of admitted students.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, UC San Diego had an acceptance rate of 30%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 30 students were admitted, making UC San Diego's admissions process competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2017-18)
Number of Applicants 97,899
Percent Admitted 30%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 23%

SAT Scores and Requirements

University of California, San Diego requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 82% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 640 730
Math 660 790
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of UCSD's admitted students fall within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to UC San Diego scored between 640 and 730, while 25% scored below 640 and 25% scored above 730. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 660 and 790, while 25% scored below 660 and 25% scored above 790. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1520 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at UC San Diego.

Requirements

UC San Diego requires the SAT writing section. Note that UC San Diego considers the highest SAT with essay score from a single test date. Subject tests are not required for admission to UCSD.

ACT Scores and Requirements

University of California, San Diego requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 48% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 27 31
Composite 28 34

This admissions data tells us that most of UC San Diego's admitted students fall within the top 11% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to UC San Diego received a composite ACT score between 28 and 34, while 25% scored above 34 and 25% scored below 28.

Requirements

UC San Diego requires the ACT writing section. Note that UC San Diego does not superscore ACT results; your highest combined score from a single test administration will be considered.

GPA

In 2018, the middle 50% of University of California, San Diego's incoming class had high school GPAs between 4.02 and 4.28. 25% had a GPA above 4.28 and 25% had a GPA below 4.02. These results suggest that most successful applicants to UC San Diego have primarily A grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

University of California, San Diego Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
University of California, San Diego Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to UC San Diego. 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, San Diego, which accepts fewer than a third of applicants, has a highly selective admissions process. If your SAT/ACT scores and GPA fall within the school's average ranges, you have a strong chance of being accepted. 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 percent of their class. See how to calculate your UC Admissions Index.

UCSD, like all of the University of California schools, has holistic admissions, so the admissions officers are evaluating students based on more than numerical data. 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 UCSD.

In the graph above, the blue and green dots represent accepted students. As the data shows, the majority of students who got into UCSD had at least a B+ average, an SAT score (ERW+M) above 1100, and an ACT composite score of 22 or higher. Chances of admission improve as those numbers go up. Realize that behind all that green and blue on the graph is a lot of red. Having grades and test scores that are on target for UCSD is not a guarantee of admission, especially if some application components don't compare favorably to the rest of the applicant pool.