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 32%. 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 2018-19 admissions cycle, UC San Diego had an acceptance rate of 32%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 32 students were admitted, making UC San Diego's admissions process competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 99,125
Percent Admitted 32%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 23%

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, 86% of UC San Diego's admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
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. While SAT scores are no longer required, an SAT score of 1520 or higher is considered competitive for UC San Diego.

Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools, including UC San Diego, will no longer require SAT scores for admission. For applicants who submit scores, note that UC San Diego does not consider the optional SAT essay section. UC San Diego does not superscore SAT results; your highest combined score from a single test date will be considered. Subject tests are not required, but are recommended for students with an interest in science and engineering majors.

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, 39% of UC San Diego's admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 25 34
Math 26 33
Composite 26 31

This admissions data tells us that most of UC San Diego's admitted students fall within the top 18% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to UC San Diego received a composite ACT score between 26 and 31, while 25% scored above 31 and 25% scored below 26.

Requirements

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

GPA

In 2019, the middle 50% of University of California, San Diego's incoming class had weighted high school GPAs between 4.03 and 4.28. 25% had a GPA above 4.28, and 25% had a GPA below 4.03. 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. However, UC San Diego, 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 San Diego 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 San Diego.

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 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. 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.