UC Santa Cruz: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

UC Santa Cruz

Panoramic Images/Getty Images

Located 75 miles south of San Francisco, UC Santa Cruz is a public university with an acceptance rate of 52%. Among the University of California schools, only Berkeley has a higher percentage of students going on to earn doctorate degrees. The university has a 24-to-1 student/faculty ratio, and for its strengths in the liberal arts and sciences, UC Santa Cruz was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Since its founding in 1965, the university has been known for its progressive curriculum and politically active students. On the athletic front, the Santa Cruz Banana Slugs compete in the NCAA Division III as an independent.

Considering applying to UC Santa Cruz? 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 Santa Cruz had an acceptance rate of 52%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 52 students were admitted, making UC Santa Cruz's admissions process competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 55,866
Percent Admitted 52%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 13%

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 Santa Cruz's admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 590 680
Math 600 710
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of UC Santa Cruz's admitted students fall within the top 35% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to UC Santa Cruz scored between 590 and 680, while 25% scored below 590 and 25% scored above 680. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 600 and 710, while 25% scored below 600 and 25% scored above 710. While SAT scores are no longer required, an SAT score of 1390 or higher is considered competitive for UC Santa Cruz.

Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools, including UC Santa Cruz, will no longer require SAT scores for admission. For applicants who submit scores, note that UC Santa Cruz does not consider the optional SAT essay section. UC Santa Cruz does not superscore SAT results; your highest combined score from a single test date will be considered. Subject tests are not required for admission to UC Santa Cruz.

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, 33% of UC Santa Cruz's admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 24 31
Math 25 30
Composite 24 30

This admissions data tells us that most of UC Santa Cruz's admitted students fall within the top 26% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to UC Santa Cruz received a composite ACT score between 24 and 30, while 25% scored above 30 and 25% scored below 24.

Requirements

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

GPA

In 2019, the average high school GPA of University of California, Santa Cruz's incoming freshmen class was 3.57, and over 66% of incoming students had average GPAs of 3.5 and above. This data suggests that most successful applicants to UC Santa Cruz have primarily high B grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

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

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to UC Santa Cruz. 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, Santa Cruz, which accepts approximately half of applicants, has a selective admissions process with above average grades and standardized test scores. However, UC Santa Cruz, 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 Santa Cruz 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 Santa Cruz.

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.