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So, you’re thinking about applying to UC San Diego, and you’re curious about your chances of admission. Well, we’re here to help! Of course, there are a lot of factors in the admissions process, and it’s impossible to accurately predict whether you’ll be admitted or not. However, the most important factors in the admissions game are your GPA and test scores. So, using those as a measure, we can give you an estimate of your chances.

With an acceptance rate of 34.1%, admission to UC San Diego is extremely competitive. Based on our analysis, to have a good chance of being admitted, you need to be at the very top of your class and have an SAT score of close to 1600, or an ACT score of around 35.

Not quite there? Try taking our SAT prep course and You’ll still have a chance of getting in, but it’s in the single digits. Let’s take a closer look at UC San Diego admission statistics.


UC San Diego Admissions Statistics

UC San Diego’s acceptance rate in 2017 was 34.1%. For students applying to the class of 2021, out of 88,463 applicants, UC San Diego admitted about 30,204. The average GPA of admitted applicants was 4.0, the average ACT score was 29, and the average SAT score was 1350.

For students who took the ACT, the 25th percentile score of successful applicants was 26, and the 75th percentile score was 31.

For students who took the SAT, the 25th percentile score was 1250. The 75th percentile score was 1450.

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If you’re somewhere in the middle of these numbers, remember that a high test score can compensate for a slightly lower GPA, and vice versa. If you’re at the lower end, it helps if you’re a diverse applicant, the child of an alum, or have incredible personal achievements. Still, at the 25th percentile, your chances of getting in are in the low single digits.

Other aspects of your application, such as athletics, extracurricular and recommendations, are important, but will likely only make a difference for admission if you’re in the 75th percentile range for your GPA and SAT/ACT scores.

As we said, admission to UC San Diego is very competitive. Even if UC San Diego is your dream school, and even if you’re in the 75th percentile, you’ll still want to make sure you apply to a wide variety of schools to ensure you’ll gain admission somewhere.

Generally, you should have at least three safety schools (where you are in the 75th percentile of GPA/test scores), three reach schools (where you are in the 25th percentile of GPA/test scores) and three target schools (where you are near the average for GPA/test scores) on your list.

OK, so you’ve decided to apply. We took a look at UC San Diego’s admissions requirements to help you get everything in order.


UC San Diego Application Requirements

To apply to UC San Diego, you’ll need to meet the minimum subject requirements, either ACT (w/ essay) scores or SAT (w/essay) scores, meet a number of other faculty-approved criteria, and answer 4 out of 8 Personal Insight questions to meet the minimum eligibility requirements. Everything should be submitted on November 30th.

Here’s a full list of application requirements:

  • Students must complete UC-approved courses in 7 different subject areas and submit the $70 application fee
  • Students must earn a minimum GPA of 3.0 (for in-state) or 3.4 (out-of-state residents) in the UC-approved courses, via those courses taken during 10th and 11th grades
  • Students must submit scores from either the ACT or SAT, both requiring the written essay sections
  • Students must answer 4 out of 8 Personal Insight question prompts, each limited to a maximum of 350 words each.
  • Meet a long list of other faculty-approved criteria; for example, “…quality of academic performance relative to educational opportunities available at your school”.

Have you been admitted to UC San Diego? Congratulations! Below is a glimpse of what your classmates will be like.


UC San Diego Admitted Students Profile

If you matriculate at UC San Diego, you’ll be joining a diverse class, with students from all over the U.S. and the world, and have a chance to study in dozens of fields.

Here are some interesting facts about the recently admitted class:

  • Roughly 52.5% are male and 47.5% are female
  • 20.4% of students are international

UC San Diego has a diverse class, as well, with a large number of people of color. The ethnicities of admitted applicants are:

  • International: 20.4%
  • Underrepresented minority: 3.8%
  • Two or more races: 0.0%
  • White: 21.4%

What do these admitted students plan to study? UC San Diego offers dozens of majors, and students matriculating there pursue a wide number of subjects. Here is a list of some of the top programs:

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  • Biology
  • Economics
  • Psychology

Now, how are you going to pay for this?

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UC San Diego Tuition Figures

At $44,197, UC San Diego’s cost of attendance is astronomical for non-CA residents. But, don’t panic! Most incoming students receive some form of financial aid, and the average award is $18,412.

Here’s a fuller look at UC San Diego tuition and financial aid in 2017:

  • Total budget: $44,197
  • Average financial aid package: $18,412
  • The average student debt of a UC San Diego graduate is $21,830

For the latest numbers and to learn more about financial aid options, click HERE.

Now, what is life like at UC San Diego? Let’s take a look.


UC San Diego Location

UC San Diego is located in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego itself.

The campus is known for the various public art projects, that are on display throughout the grounds themselves. In addition, a strong tradition of graffiti art is represented on campus as well via the Graffiti Art Park.

Remember, you’re going to UC San Diego for its excellent academics! Below is a look at what academic life will be like.


UC San Diego Academics

UC San Diego has dozens of majors. Some of the school’s more interesting majors are:

  • Anthropology
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Economics
  • Philosophy
  • Engineering
  • Global Health
  • English
  • Economics
  • Human Development
  • International Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • NanoEngineering
  • Third World Studies
  • Structural Engineering

Now, let’s take a look at life outside the classroom at UC San Diego.


Student Life at UC San Diego

UC San Diego has hundreds of student organizations, covering academic interests, creative and performing arts, cultural and racial initiatives, gender and sexuality affinity groups, government and politics interests, and various media and publications.

Here’s a sampling of UC San Diego’s student activities:

  • Argentine Tango Club
  • BioScholars Program at UCSD
  • Books for Prisoners
  • Cancer Outreach Team
  • Che Cafe
  • Daughters of Triton
  • Engineering World Health
  • Food Co-op
  • FUSION Hip-Hop Dance Events Association
  • Hawaii Club
  • Insight Pre-Optometry
  • Junior Hearts and Hands
  • Kendo Club at UCSD
  • Left Coast Post
  • MedTalks
  • Native American Student Alliance
  • Quidditch

Are you an athlete? UC San Diego’s got plenty of options for you.


UC San Diego Athletics

UC San Diego offers a large number of intercollegiate sports, with extensive varsity, as well as club, offerings, for both men and women. So, if you’re not up to varsity level, remember there are plenty of club and intramural sports to try out for, too.

UC San Diego’s sports include:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Cross-Country
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Soccer
  • Rowing
  • Track & Field
  • Tennis

Who might you become with a UC San Diego degree? Let’s take a look at some well-known and successful alums:


Notable Alums

UC San Diego has produced politicians, business tycoons, entertainers, musicians, media figures, and leaders in dozens of other fields.

Here’s a list of some particularly well-known alums:

  • Apple Macintosh developer Bill Atkinson
  • GoPro founder Nick Woodman
  • Biotech pioneer Craig Venter
  • Animator Mike Judge
  • founder Michael Robertson
  • Actor Benicio del Toro
  • Activist Angela Davis

And this is only a partial list!


Getting into UC San Diego is very competitive. Don’t despair if you get a no. If you have a strong GPA and high test scores, you have a great chance of getting into at least one of the more competitive schools. And if you don’t, remember: where you go is NOT who you are. If you work hard, you’ll end up at a school that’s right for you, and still get a great education.

If you need to boost your GPA or test scores before application time rolls around, you should consider signing up for a course with Prep Expert. We offer one-on-one tutoring and classes, both in-person and online, at locations throughout the United States.

Our expert teachers and tutors will not only share with you tried and true methods for improving your score, but also help you correct deficiencies in any subject that you’re having difficulty with—English, Writing, Mathematics or Science.

Additionally, online classes can be watched On Demand, so if you miss a class due to your busy schedule, you can catch it online later. We have helped hundreds of students get the scores they need to attend the school of their dreams.

Best of luck with your applications and go check out Prep Expert!

Prep Expert

Prep Expert is a test-preparation company that offers 6-week online and in- person SAT and ACT prep classes. There’s a reason Prep Expert founder Shaan Patel closed an investment deal with billionaire Mark Cuban on ABC’s primetime TV Shark Tank. We teach students 100 strategies Shaan developed himself to improve his own SAT score from average to perfect. We offer double the course hours at half the price with top instructors. We also offer the best score guarantees in the industry: if your child does not improve his or her score by at least 200 points on the SAT (or 4 points on the ACT) after completing our 6-week course, you get your money back!

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