UC Santa Barbara: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

University of California,Santa Barbara
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Located north of Los Angeles along the Pacific Ocean, University of California, Santa Barbara is a public research university with an acceptance rate of 29.6%. Considering applying to UC Santa Barbara? Here are the admissions statistics you should know, including average SAT/ACT scores and GPAs of admitted students.

Why UCSB?

  • Location: Santa Barbara, California
  • Campus Features: UCSB's 1,000 acre campus has miles of beachfront property, making it one of the best colleges for beach lovers. The campus also wins high marks for it's green initiatives and number of LEED-certified buildings.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 17:1
  • Athletics: The UCSB Gauchos compete in the NCAA Division I Big West Conference.
  • Highlights: Undergraduates can choose from over 90 majors. The university has notable strengths in the environmental and biological sciences, and the school was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong programs in the liberal arts and sciences.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, UC Santa Barbara had an acceptance rate of 29.6%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 29 students were admitted, making UCSB's admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 93,457
Percent Admitted 29.6%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 18%

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 Barbara's admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 620 720
Math 620 770
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of UC Santa Barbara'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 UCSB scored between 620 and 720, while 25% scored below 620 and 25% scored above 720. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 620 and 770, while 25% scored below 620 and 25% scored above 770. While SAT scores are no longer required, an SAT score of 1490 or higher is considered competitive for UC Santa Barbara.

Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools, including UC Santa Barbara, will no longer require SAT scores for admission. For applicants who submit scores, note that UC Santa Barbara does not consider the optional SAT essay section. UC Santa Barbara 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 creative studies 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, 36% of UCSB's admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 24 35
Math 25 32
Composite 25 33

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

Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools, including UC Santa Barbara, will no longer require ACT scores for admission. For applicants who submit scores, note that UC Santa Barbara does not consider the optional ACT writing section. UCSB 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 Santa Barbara's incoming freshmen class had GPAs between 4.04 and 4.28. 25% had a GPA above 4.28, and 25% had a GPA below 4.04. These results suggest that most successful applicants to UC Santa Barbara have primarily A grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

UC Santa Barbara Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph
UC Santa Barbara 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, Santa Barbara. 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 Barbara, which accepts just under one-third of applicants, has a selective admissions process with above average grades and standardized test scores. However, UC Santa Barbara, 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 UCSB 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 UCSB.

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.

Due to the selective nature of UCSB, the university has a comprehensive freshman selection process. A number of art, music, and writing programs within the College of Creative Studies at UCSB require an audition or portfolio submission. The University of California, Santa Barbara, along with all the other UC schools, does not accept letters of recommendation, unless they are specifically requested. Admission interviews are not offered by the university.

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