University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know
Overview of University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC)
UC Santa Cruz is a public institution with an acceptance rate of 47%. 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.
- Total Enrollment: 19,700 (17,792 undergraduates)
- Gender Breakdown: 52 percent male/48 percent female
- 97 percent full-time
Cost of Attendance Information
- Tuition and Fees: $14,054 (in-state); $43,046 (out-of-state)
- Books: $1,085
- Room and Board: $16,916
- Other Expenses: $5,270
- Total Cost: $37,325 (in-state); $66,317 (out-of-state)
Financial Aid Information
- Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 72 percent
- Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
- Grants: 65 percent
- Loans: 43 percent
- Average Amount of Aid
- Grants: $18,500
- Loans: $5,806
Academic Programs Offered
- Most Popular Majors: Psychology, General; Computer and Information Sciences, General; Business/Managerial Economics; Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology; and Sociology
Retention and Graduation
- First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 88 percent
- Transfer-Out Rate: 5 percent
- 4-Year Graduation Rate: 49 percent
- 6-Year Graduation Rate: 74 percent
NCAA Athletic Programs
- Men’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball
- Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball
Overview of University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) Admissions
The University of California, Santa Cruz, which accepts approximately half of applicants, has a 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 next steps of the application process. 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 Santa Cruz had an acceptance rate of 47%. For every 100 students who submitted applications, 47 students gained admission, making UC Santa Cruz’s admissions procedure competitive.
SAT Requirements and Scores
Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 85% of students provided SAT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of UC Santa Cruz’s students fall within the top 35% nationally on the SAT. 50% of admitted students scored between 590 and 680 on the evidence-based reading and writing part, while 25% scored under 590 and 25% scored over 680. 50% of students scored between 600 and 720 on the math part, while 25% scored under 600, and 25% scored over 720. Applicants with a cumulative SAT score of 1400 or higher will have a competitive advantage at UC Santa Cruz.
ACT Requirements and Scores
Throughout the 2018-19 admissions phase, 40% of students provided ACT scores. This admissions data reveals that most of UC Santa Cruz’s students fall within the top 26% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of admitted students to UC Santa Cruz received a cumulative ACT score between 26 and 32, while 25% scored over 32, and 25% scored under 26.
In 2019, the median 50% of the University of California, Santa Cruz’s incoming class, had high school GPAs between 3.76 and 4.16. 25% had a GPA of over 4.16, and 25% had a GPA under 3.76. Successful applicants have primarily A and B grades.
Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission
If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for UC Santa Cruz, then it should be easy for you to gain admissions to the schools below. If UC Santa Cruz is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.
Temple University, Auburn University, University of Arizona, Seton Hall University, University of Alabama, Colorado State University, Ohio University
Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission
If you’re a competitive candidate for UC Santa Cruz, then you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.
Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Drexel University, Syracuse University, United States Military Academy, Penn State University Park, University of Cincinnati
Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will be More of a Challenge
These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than UC Santa Cruz. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, then you’ll be a competitive candidate for these schools.
Lehigh University, University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Washington, Stony Brook University, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Applying to UC Santa Cruz
Application Deadline: November 30
Undergraduate Admissions Website:
Undergraduate Application Link(s):
Graduate Admissions Website:
Graduate Application Link(s):