UC San Diego Selection Process

Admission evaluation process

  • Goal:

    Identify and admit students who are fully prepared to excel in the University's challenging academic environment. UC San Diego seeks to admit and enroll a student body that demonstrates strong academic achievement and exceptional personal talent – students who represent the broad diversity of talents, abilities, personal experience, and backgrounds characteristic of California.

  • Application:
    At least 2 individuals review the admissions application, including the personal statement. Consideration is given for the specific factors, both academic and personal, used in the review process.
  • Evaluation factors:
    • Academic achievement
      • Grade Point Average (GPA)
        One of the most important criteria considered is the GPA, including a maximum of 8 UC-approved Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or UC transferable college courses based upon the applicant's self-reported academic history.
      • Scores of all required exams
        • ACT Assessment plus Writing (scores must be from the same sitting)
          OR
          SAT Reasoning Test with critical reading, math, and writing
      • Number of "a-g" courses beyond the minimum
        Applicants who have self-reported completion and/ or enrollment in "a-g" courses beyond the minimum required for University of California eligibility.
      • Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC)
        Applicants whose transcripts are reviewed by the UC Office of the President and who have been designated eligible through the ELC program. These applicants are in the top 9 percent of their respective high school graduating classes.
      • Other factors
        1. Full record of achievement in college preparatory work in high school:
          • number and rigor of courses taken and grades earned in those courses
          • completion of courses beyond the a-g minimums
          • strength of the senior year course load
          • Baccalaureate Higher Level (IBHL) courses to the extent that such courses are available to the applicant
        2. Personal qualities:
          • leadership ability
          • motivation, tenacity, initiative
          • originality, creativity
          • intellectual independence
          • responsibility, insight, maturity
          • demonstrated concern for others and for the community
        3. Likely contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of a campus that values cultural, socioeconomic, and intellectual diversity.
        4. Performance on standardized tests: *
          • required tests (ACT plus Writing or SAT Reasoning)
          • added value for SAT subject tests
          • Advanced Placement or IBHL examinations
        5. Achievement in academic enrichment programs, including those sponsored by the University of California:
          • time and depth of participation
          • academic progress made during that participation
          • intellectual rigor of the particular program
        6. Other evidence of exemplary, sustained achievement in any field of intellectual or creative endeavor:
          • accomplishments in the performing arts and athletics
          • employment
          • leadership in school or community organizations or activities
          • community service
        7. Opportunities, both academic and non-academic, in context of what is available to applicant: 
          • full advantage taken of those opportunities
          • context in which academic accomplishments have taken place
          • strength of the high school curriculum, including the availability of honors and Advanced Placement courses
          • total number of college preparatory courses available
        8. Challenges, hardships, unusual circumstances:
          • maturity, determination, and insight with which applicant has responded to and/or overcome them
          • contextual factors that bear directly on the applicant's achievement, including linguistic background, parental education level, and other indicators of support available in the home

        * Applicants who have not had the opportunity to take AP or IB courses or who have not taken exams for the these courses will not be disadvantaged. UC San Diego does not employ minimum scores or cut-offs of any kind.

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        Selection criteria for admission

        • UC San Diego is a very selective campus, with a national reputation for excellence. The campus continues to receive far more applications from eligible students than it can accommodate. Successful applicants must exceed the minimum UC admission criteria.
          • UC San Diego received more than 53,000 freshman applications for Fall 2011.
          • There were fewer than 3,800 spots available.
          • Enrollment goals are established annually.
          • The campus does not select students on the basis of academic major or choice of UCSD undergraduate college.
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