University of California at San Diego (UCSD) Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know
Overview of University of California at San Diego (UCSD)
Situated in La Jolla, California, UC San Diego is a public institution with an acceptance rate of 30%. The institution has a system of six undergraduate residential colleges, which are modeled after Oxford and Cambridge, and each college has a different curricular focus. The institution has a large selection of undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students to select from. A robust student/faculty ratio backs students, and professors take a personalized approach to the teaching and learning process. Outside of the classroom, students will find plenty of opportunities to engage with the campus community via the university’s many clubs and organizations. The UCSD Tritons play in the NCAA Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association.
- Total Enrollment: 37,887 (30,285 undergraduates)
- Gender Breakdown: 50 percent male/50 percent female
- 97 percent full-time
Cost of Attendance Information
- Tuition and Fees: $14,170 (in-state); $43,162 (out-of-state)
- Books: $1,128
- Room and Board: $14,286
- Other Expenses: $4,035
- Total Cost: $33,619 (in-state); $62,611 (out-of-state)
Financial Aid Information
- Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 63 percent
- Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
- Grants: 57 percent
- Loans: 39 percent
- Average Amount of Aid
- Grants: $18,306
- Loans: $5,292
Academic Programs Offered
- Most Popular Majors: Biology, General; Economics; Computer Engineering; Mathematics; and Psychology, General
Retention and Graduation
- First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 94 percent
- 4-Year Graduation Rate: 62 percent
- 6-Year Graduation Rate: 86 percent
NCAA Athletic Programs
- Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Crew-Rowing, Fencing, Golf, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball, Water Polo
- Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Crew-Rowing, Fencing, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball, Water Polo
Overview of University of California at San Diego (UCSD) Admissions
The University of California, San Diego, which accepts fewer than a third of applicants, has a highly selective admissions procedure. Students whose SAT/ACT scores and GPA are within the institution’s requirements have a good chance of being admitted. Applicants must complete an online application and send test scores from either the SAT or ACT and high school transcripts. Glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a challenging course load. Students with unique talents and accomplishments can still receive strong consideration even if their GPAs are outside of the admissions offices mean range. After applying, students will receive a message from an admissions counselor about the application process’s next steps. Interested students should check out the university’s website, which has helpful tips and contact information for the admissions offices.
Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, UC San Diego had an acceptance rate of 30%. For every 100 students who submitted applications, 30 students gained admission, making UC San Diego’s admissions procedure competitive.
SAT Requirements and Scores
Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 88% of students provided SAT scores. This admissions data reveals that most UCSD students fall within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. 50% of admitted students scored between 620 and 700 on the evidence-based reading and writing part, while 25% scored under 620 and 25% scored over 700. 50% of students scored between 640 and 770 on the math part, while 25% scored under 640, and 25% scored over 770. Applicants with a cumulative SAT score of 1520 or higher will have a competitive advantage at UC San Diego.
ACT Requirements and Scores
Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 43% of students provided ACT scores. This admissions data reveals that most UC San Diego’s students fall within the top 11% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of admitted students to UC San Diego received a cumulative ACT score between 27 and 33, while 25% scored over 33, and 25% scored under 27.
In 2019, the median 50% of the University of California, San Diego’s incoming class, had high school GPAs between 4.02 and 4.28. 25% had a GPA of over 4.28, and 25% had a GPA under 4.02. Successful applicants have A grades primarily.
Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission
If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for UC San Diego, it should be easy to gain admissions to the schools below. If UC San Diego is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.
University of Connecticut, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Syracuse University, United States Military Academy, Penn State University Park, University of Cincinnati
Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission
If you’re a competitive candidate for UC San Diego, you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.
Binghamton University, Lehigh University, University of Florida, University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Washington
Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will be More of a Challenge
These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than UC San Diego. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, then you’ll be a competitive candidate for these schools.
New York University, University of Michigan, Emory University, Boston College, Boston University, University of California, Berkeley, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Applying to UC San Diego
Application Deadline: November 30
Undergraduate Admissions Website:
Undergraduate Application Link(s):
Graduate Admissions Website:
Graduate Application Link(s):