The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is one of the most recognized names in higher education and one of the best public universities in the US. It is part of the larger University of California system, which has nine different campuses throughout the state and according to the latest UC rankings. The LA campus receives almost 100,000 freshmen applications every year so the admissions process is highly competitive. However, applicants thinking about whether they should take the SAT will be happy to know the school has eliminated the SAT and ACT requirement making it one of the colleges that don’t require the SAT or ACT. This article will detail more about the UCLA admissions process, requirements and tips to make your application stand out. 

>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<

Listen to the blog!

Article Contents
17 min read

Mission Statement Admissions Statistics Selection Factors Tuition and Financial Aid List of Notable Majors at UCLA Campus and Faculty Notable Faculty and Alumni Contact Info FAQs

Mission Statement

“UCLA’s primary purpose as a public research university is the creation, dissemination, preservation and application of knowledge for the betterment of our global society. To fulfill this mission, UCLA is committed to academic freedom in its fullest terms: We value open access to information, free and lively debate conducted with mutual respect for individuals, and freedom from intolerance. In all of our pursuits, we strive for excellence and diversity, recognizing that openness and inclusion produce true quality. These values underlie our three institutional responsibilities: education, research and public service.”

The mission of UCLA is similar to that of any institution of higher learning, in that it values the attainment and pursuit of knowledge for the benefit of everyone. The track it lays out (education, research, public service) are not expectations, but it hopes its students devote themselves to their peers and surrounding community, especially California, as it is a public, state school.

Want to learn strategies to get into a top tier college with a low GPA? Watch this video:

Admissions Statistics

Number of Applications: 149,813

Number of Admitted Students: 12,825

Acceptance Rate: 8.6 %

Average GPA of Admitted Students: 4.21–4.33

Selection Factors

Minimum GPA for In-state Applicants: 3.0

Minimum GPA for Out-of-State Applicants: 3.4

As the entire UC system is publicly-funded, all of its nine schools across the state show preference for California residents. Out-of-state applicants are welcome to apply but they must have completed the required course work with a minimum 3.5 GPA or a C grade for each course. UCLA does not consider applicants SAT or ACT scores. Instead, it asks all applicants to complete a set of prerequisite course work in various subjects. Depending on the major they choose, students may be asked to submit to an interview so they should know how to prepare for a college interview by reading over common college admissions interview questions and answers.

UCLA Prerequisites

UCLA requires that all freshmen applicants complete a total of 15 prerequisite courses, 11 of them before their last year of high school. All the prerequisites must be completed with a C grade or higher, which applies both to in-state, out-of-state, and international applicants. International applicants must meet the same requirements for entering university in their home countries to be eligible for UCLA, meaning having completed high school and earned a degree.

The UCLA prerequisites are the following:

  • History – 3 years
  • English – 4 years
  • Mathematics – 3 years
  • Science – 3 years
  • Language other than English – 2 years
  • Visual and performing arts – 1 year
  • College-preparatory elective – 1 year

International applicants must also meet similar academic requirements as US applicants, but they must take English language proficiency exams or standardized tests such as SAT or ACT to demonstrate their proficiency in English. There are a variety of options for international students to prove English language proficiency, which include:

  • Scoring 31 or higher on the English writing portion of the SAT
  • Scoring 24 or higher on the ACT English Language Arts section
  • Score 3, 4 or 5 on the AP examination in English Language and Composition, or English Literature and Composition
  • Scoring a 6 or 7 on the IB Standard Level exam in English
  • Scoring a 5, 6 or 7 on an IB Higher Level exam in English
  • Scoring a 6.5 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The other option for international students to prove English language proficiency is to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam. They must score a minimum of 80 or better. Other UC schools may have more stringent English-language requirements of international applicants like asking students to participate in an interview or a higher TOEFL score.

Personal Insight Questions

The Personal Insight Questions are a part of the UCLA application process and are meant to get students to talk about themselves in a frank and honest way. These are also known as the UC personal statement. This section contains eight different questions. You must write responses to only four of the questions.

They have a maximum of 350 words for each question and no one question is more significant or important than any other, but you should choose questions that are closest to your experience and background. You should also focus on describing how the experiences have helped shaped you into the person you are today and not focus too much on the past by providing too much background.

UCLA Personal Insight Questions

  1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.
  2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
  3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
  4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
  5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
  6. Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.
  7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
  8. Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

UCLA Personal Insight Sample for Prompt #2

One example I can recall is when my classmates and I were tasked with designing an eco-friendly solution to address water scarcity in a rural community for an interdisciplinary course called “Sustainable Engineering and Design.” We all started brainstorming right away about what we could come up with that was both innovative and sustainable.

Inspiration struck when we began exploring biomimicry as a potential approach, which is taking the methods nature uses to replenish itself and replicating them for practical purposes, in this case creating a self-sustaining water network that required minimal energy. I had heard about biomimicry during one of my classes, and I explored it further afterward, which led me to propose it as a possible water collection and distribution system.

My team loved the idea and we started researching. We examined the structure and function of plant stomata, which served as a basis for our prototype. We also studied previous biomimetic engineering projects and learned from their successes and challenges. In a few weeks we were able to come up with a prototype system that incorporated a series of interconnected channels and moisture-absorbing materials.

The prototype was not perfect but we refined our design. We integrated sustainable materials, such as recyclable polymers and low-energy fans, to minimize the environmental impact. The final product was a functioning prototype that demonstrated the feasibility of our bio-inspired water collection system. It showcased the potential to harness nature's efficiency and adapt it to human needs. We presented our project to a panel of judges, who commended the innovative approach and recognized its potential for real-world applications.

This project taught me that creativity goes beyond artistic expression; it is a vital tool for innovative problem-solving. It reinforced my belief in the value of exploring unconventional ideas, trusting intuition, and bringing together different viewpoints and perspectives to create lasting, meaningful change.

UCLA Personal Insight Sample for Prompt #3

I think the one educational barrier I have faced is being a student in America where school shootings happen on a regular basis. Sometimes I forget that it's not normal for there to be armed police at my school or that I and all my classmates have to pass through metal detectors every day. I have to remind myself every time we do them that school shooter drills are not normal, even though they are a regular part of being a student in the US.

I think it’s unfair that my fellow students and I, as well as our teachers, principals, and support staff are the ones that have to shoulder the responsibility for keeping ourselves safe, because no one else wants to do it. But I have not been silent about this. I started a local chapter of Never Again MSD, the group that was started by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shootings in Parkland, Florida.

We had a lot of members sign up and with those numbers behind us we started promoting awareness and advocacy for gun control and school safety. We also participated in peaceful protests around gun control and school safety. We hosted events at our school with law enforcement, community groups and parents and students. These events got heated, sometimes, but it is an issue that deserves attention even if it makes people uncomfortable.

But since students are the ones who take on the psychological burden most, we also worked to establish counseling resources and promote mental well-being among students. We collaborated with local mental health organizations to provide resources and support systems for individuals struggling with anxiety, fear, or trauma associated with school shootings.

This was how I overcame the barrier of feeling anxiety, fear, even, of coming to school every day: by realizing I had an obligation to help my fellow students overcome their fear and anxiety. Through advocacy, community engagement, and promoting mental well-being, I strived to contribute to a safer and more supportive educational environment for myself and my fellow students.

Personal Insights Sample Answer to Prompt #6

I’m passionate about the environment so environmental science has always captivated, and saddened, me. The study of our planet's ecosystems and the sustainability efforts to protect these ecosystems is something that always stimulates me, but then reading about the impact of human activities on the environment and how they go on unchallenged or unquestioned is something that does the opposite.

But I have always turned those negative feelings into a passion for creating a more sustainable future. For example, I took the initiative to engage in various extracurricular activities and community clean-up projects. I joined the school's environmental club and we organized awareness campaigns and also started a community garden at our school for students to learn more about how fruits and vegetables are grown and what it takes to take care of them.

I have also volunteered with several local organizations such as the Humber Valley Conversation Group where I led more clean-up projects, but also suggested we undertake a tree-planting initiative/fundraiser to promote environmental awareness campaigns to prevent individuals and businesses from dumping in the river and valley. I also have an active online presence, which I feel is an effective way to reach different audiences.

I write a blog every so often about environmental issue where I share tips for how live a sustainable life and leave a reduced carbon footprint. By doing all this, I hope to make a positive impact on the environment and inspire others to do the same. I am eager to continue exploring the subject of environmental science at UCLA, where I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the field and contribute to meaningful solutions for a sustainable future.

Personal Insights Answer for Prompt #7

I’m from Sherman Oaks, California and I graduated from Notre Dame High School and I think the thing I love most about my community are the Santa Monica Mountains. I love visiting the mountains and the valleys around Sherman Oaks but, unfortunately, a lot of people do, so litter and garbage are a big problem. I started going out by myself to clean-up whenever I had time, but I realized it would be more effective if I did this with more people.

I decided to volunteer with Green Earth Initiative, and we were soon working together to clean-up and beautify the area around the mountains and the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area. On designated weekends, a group of volunteers, including myself, would gather at a predetermined location in Sherman Oaks to clean up public spaces and enhance the overall aesthetics of the community.

We worked in teams, armed with gloves, trash bags, and other necessary tools. We collected litter, removed debris from sidewalks and parks, and made sure not to touch or interact any hazardous material we found such as electronics, phones, or appliances. We usually focused on areas such as local parks, trails, and neighborhood streets, where the accumulation of litter had a negative impact on the community's appearance and environmental well-being.

But once we cleared a lot of these areas, if they were green or near soil, we would plant flowers, and other plant life to bring more life to public gardens. One of our volunteers, Debbie, was a horticulturalist and gardener so she taught me a lot of about flowers and which ones would thrive more in an urban environment.

I am proud of my work with Green Earth Initiative and their community cleanup and beautification project because it made me feel like I was making Sherman Oaks a cleaner, more attractive, and environmentally sustainable community. But I also hope to engage further in environmental causes here at UCLA, both academically and through extracurricular activities.

Are you applying to other UC schools?

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for In-State Applicants: $13,752

Tuition for Out-of-State Applicants: $46,326

Over half of all students enrolled at UCLA receive some form of financial aid either from the federal government, the school itself or external sources. However, there are opportunities for California residents to attend UCLA at virtually zero cost, depending on a few factors. All admitted students must complete a FAFSA form or a California Dream Act application (for undocumented applicants) if they are residents, to qualify for either federal loans or internal scholarships offered by the school.

Some scholarship opportunities do require an additional application, but UCLA will contact applicants directly if it requires more information. One way to pay for college for California residents is what’s known as the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which is a program that covers all tuition and other costs of attending UCLA for California applicants whose yearly household income is below $80,000.

Non-residents are also eligible if they apply for an exemption from paying out-of-state tuition fees and establish residency in California. Interested applicants need to submit the FAFSA or California Dream Act application along with the Cal Grant GPA Verification form to be eligible for the plan.

Some of the other ways students can pay for their education include:

1. Middle-Class Scholarship Program

This program is funded by the state of California and directed at undergraduates who have an interest in becoming teachers. There is no separate application, but students must submit the aforementioned forms (FAFSA, California Dream Act) to apply and they will be selected based on several factors, including financial need, residency status, good academic standing and not being currently in default to any private or public lender.

Award amounts vary because they are determined by an individual applicant’s stated resources to attend. Whatever the amount, the award consists of a deduction of a certain amount from the student’s overall cost of attending. The school notifies all applicants if they are eligible for the award and may ask for additional information if necessary.

2. California DREAM Loan Program

This state-run program is intended to fill in the gaps for undocumented students who want to attend UCLA but do not qualify for federal student loans because of their undocumented status. The program offers no-interest loans (maximum $4000 per year) to DACA or any other undocumented student, while they are full-time students at UCLA. If they agree to accept the loan, no interest will be applied to it as long as the applicant remains a full-time student.

List of Notable Majors at UCLA

UCLA offers its undergrads 125 distinctive programs to choose as majors, ranging from the traditional ones such as English, Biology and Psychology to a major from any one of the eight different professional schools on campus such as a Global Jazz Studies major from the Herb Alpert School of Music or a bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs from the Luskin School of Public Affairs.

The following list will consist of at least one major from every professional school or otherwise available at UCLA, even though a majority of students choose a major from the College of Letters and Science.

College of Letters and Science

Division of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Climate Science BS

This is the one of newer degrees offered by the UCLA College of Letters and Science and has several sciences and math-based prerequisites for admission. The degree has an interdisciplinary structure as students learn both about the science of man-made and natural climate change and the solutions necessary to alleviate its most harmful effects. Applicants to the Climate Science BS must complete the following prerequisites to be admitted:

  • Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Statistics

Completing the degree and satisfying all requirements means taking the following nine mandatory courses:

  • Fundamentals of Atmospheric Dynamics and Thermodynamics
  • Introduction to Chemical Oceanography
  • Advanced Dynamic and Synoptic Meteorology
  • Climate Change Assessment
  • Climate Mitigation Solutions
  • Climate Adaptation Solutions
  • Atmospheric Physics: Radiation, Clouds, and Aerosols
  • Policy/Solutions
  • Quantitative Courses

School of the Arts and Architecture

Division of World Arts and Cultures/Dance

World Arts and Culture BA

This interdisciplinary degree blends three distinct streams: arts activism, critical ethnographies, and visual cultures, which students can explore with introductory courses in each before choosing their specialty. However, choosing a specific stream does not mean students are not exposed to the other two. Students will also take intermediate courses in the non-specialty streams, while taking advanced courses in their chosen stream.

Applicants to the program must submit two college recommendation letters, a written research paper, transcripts and a personal essay. These materials are separate from the regular UC undergraduate application and must be submitted in mid-January after the regular application is submitted in December. Successful applicants must also have a minimum GPA of 2.0 to be considered.

Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Division of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Computer Engineering BS

UCLA is among the best engineering schools in the US. Another one UCLA’s newer undergraduate degrees, this program aims to educate students on the mathematical and scientific foundations of computer and information technology in the modern era. The course weaves through several of the most important data and computer-based developments in society, such as smart devices, the Internet-of-Things, bio-engineering, and wearable tech. Students accepted into the program (admissions requirements have not been published yet) are encouraged to pursue further study into computer science and electrical engineering along with a design course to complete a capstone research project.

Herb Alpert School of Music

Music Industry BA

UCLA is the home of one of the best music programs in the US. This undergraduate degree gives students interested in a career in music production a chance to learn from industry-professionals and veteran music industry insiders. The program also allows students to make use of the on-campus, state-of-the-art recording studio and regularly gives students access to music industry events in and around Los Angeles.

Students must meet the regular admissions requirements for UCLA and also submit a secondary application specifically to the School of Music. They must submit a personal statement, two teacher references and an optional writing sample and also undergo a college interview so students should do some college interview prep before applying.

School of Nursing

Nursing BS (pre-license)

The nursing program at UCLA aims to prepare students interested in a career in nursing with a curriculum that covers technical skills, scientific knowledge and socio-economic understanding of individual and population health. The program also requires students to complete a major research project under the supervision of a senior faculty member and gives them professional development training to develop leadership skills.

Students must complete a series of prerequisites to be admitted and achieve a grade of C or better in all prerequisite courses. They must also meet the regular UCLA requirements. The prerequisites include:

  • Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Communication
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics
  • Nursing
  • Psychology

Along with completing all the prerequisites, applicants must also submit two letters of recommendation, and a nursing school letter of intent. Applicants from diverse backgrounds and disadvantaged communities are given consideration.

Meyer and Renee Luskin School of Public Affairs

Public Affairs BA

The only undergraduate major degree offered by the School of Public Affairs, the bachelor’s degree looks at the underpinnings of societal problems in the US through a social sciences lens as well as the methodology to help serve as potential agents of change. Students must declare Public Affairs as their major when applying to UCLA and then apply to join the pre-major program from which students enter the four-year degree.

The pre-major courses serve as an introduction to the major themes and concepts in Public Affairs such as critical thinking and hands-on learning, but also form part of fulfilling the degree’s requirements. After completing at least five of the required lower-level courses with a C grade or higher, students can then give notice that they want to declare their major as Public Affairs and complete the rest of the upper-level course work.

School of Theater, Film and Television

Film and Television BA

The UCLA Film Program is one of the most prestigious film programs and has one of the most comprehensive film and television archives in the world. The degree program combines all the elements behind modern film and television production, while also giving students a basis in the cultural significance of various film and television aesthetics, theory and history. Students must apply to the program separate from the regular UCLA application and submit additional materials, such as a college personal statement, several secondary essays detailing life challenges and a critical essay. They must also upload two letters of recommendation.

School of Education and Information Studies

Education and Social Transformation BA

Similar to the Public Affairs BA, this degree program requires applicants declare their major as Education and Social Transformation on their UC application to be granted admission to the pre-major portion of the program. After completing at least five of the pre-major courses with a C grade or higher may they begin taking upper-level courses to complete the degree requirements. The only prerequisites to enter the program are the general admissions requirements for UCLA. Students must complete nine required upper-level courses to complete the degree and participate in a community engagement project to satisfy the final year requirements.

Fielding School of Public Health

Public Health BA or BS

The two undergraduate degree options offered by the School of Public Health are different for a variety of reasons. The BA only requires students to complete basic life sciences courses in chemistry and physics, while the BS is more science-oriented. The BS requires students complete a Life Sciences Core made up of courses derived from various disciplines such as mathematics, statistics and chemistry and for much longer, one or two years.

Either degree provides at the minimum foundational knowledge about the impact of various factors on public health, such as race, politics, gender and socio-economic factors. However, BS students, again, will advance into upper-level science courses, while BA students will take a more traditional liberal arts approach to understanding public health via non-science frameworks such as culture, history, economics and language.

Campus and Faculty

The entire UCLA campus takes up almost 420 acres in central Los Angeles, bordered by the communities of Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, and Brentwood. The campus also has over 160 different buildings that cover everything from the UCLA Medical School to the aforementioned Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Herb Alpert School of Music. However, the school is conveniently divided in two – North Campus and South Campus – with the North campus being where the arts and humanities programs are located, while the South campus is where the professional schools, graduate schools and science departments and laboratories are located.

Notable Faculty and Alumni

UCLA is associated in some way with over 20 Nobel laureates from the various Nobel categories such as the Peace Prize (Ralph Bunche, 1950), Medicine (Ardem Patapoutian, 2020), and Chemistry (Glenn T. Seaborg, 1951). The most recent Nobel laureate on faculty at UCLA is Professor Andrea M. Ghez, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Lauren B. Leichtman & Arthur E. Levine chair in Astrophysics, who won the prize in Physics.

Former faculty and alumni also include a Fields Medal winner, and Olympic gold medalists. Its faculty members have been elected to various national societies such as the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine. Some of its most notable alumni are giants in the cultural and social history of the United States from Jackie Robinson and Kareem Abdul-Jabar to actors, singers, entertainers, lawyers, politicians, athletes and composers.

Contact Info

UCLA Undergraduate Admission

1147 Murphy Hall, Box 951436

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1436

(310) 825-3101


1. What is the mission of University of California, Los Angeles?

The mission of the University of California, Los Angeles is to educate the next generation of leaders, thinkers, public servants, and corporate stewards for the benefit of all peoples around the world. 

2. What are the GPA requirements to get into UCLA?

The school requires all California applicants to have a 3.0 GPA. Out-of-state applicants must have a 3.4 GPA to be considered. 

3. Is it hard to get into UCLA?

Yes, and no. UCLA is not among the most easiest colleges to get into, as the school prefers California applicants, but the school receives almost 100,000 applications every year from all parts of the globe and regularly admits out-of-state and international applicants. But the school still has minimum GPA requirements, a list of prerequisites and each major program may have its specific entry requirements, so you must be aware of all these requirements before you apply. And if your program requires an interview, you should know how to answer questions such as “why should we accept you?”, and “why this school?”

4. Is UCLA an Ivy League school?

No, UCLA is not a member of the eight schools that make up the Ivy League, but it is one of the top non-Ivy League schools and belongs to what is known as the Public Ivies, which are state-funded schools across the US that are as hallowed and revered as Ivy League schools. Other Public Ivies include the University of Michigan, University of Illinois and any of the other schools in the UC system (Berkeley, Davis, Riverside, etc.)

5. What are the qualities that UCLA looks for?

The school looks for candidates with proven academic excellence, but also non-academic qualities such as leadership, compassion, service-oriented, drive, creativity and passion. 

6. Does UCLA require interviews?

The school does not require applicants to interview for admission. However, students applying to a particular major or program may have to interview as part of that program’s admissions process, so they should know how to prepare for a college interview. But for the general admissions process, applicants need other skills such as know how to write a college essay

7. Does UCLA have a waitlist?

The school does have a college waitlist for all undergraduate admissions. Students placed on the alternate list will remain there as the school sends out acceptances. Refusals from accepted students means that an applicant on the waitlist will be admitted. 

8. Do I need to submit SAT or ACT scores to UCLA?

No. The school does not consider SAT or ACT scores anymore, but students who have already taken the test can submit their scores to be counted toward their fulfillment of the school’s prerequisites.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Want more free tips? Subscribe to our channels for more free and useful content!




Apple Podcasts




Like our blog? Write for us! >>

Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!