Ucla Personal Statement Requirements

UCLA is one of the most popular universities in California. In recent years, it has received a record number of applications. If the West Coast calls to you and you like the idea of finding your niche in a large top tier university, UCLA may be the school for you. If you’re still working on your responses to the UC essay prompts, these examples may help. 

One of the most sought-after UC schools, UCLA is a dream school for many Californians. More than 100,000 students applied to UCLA last fall, and the numbers are expected to remain the same for this upcoming application season. For those of you applying this Fall, the regular application filing period is November 1-30. If you’re still working on your UC essays, here are 5 successful examples that might inspire you to write yours: 

ClaireL

UC Los Angeles ‘20

Prompt: Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community, or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

It was my fault. I had chosen this topic for my math exploration, armed with only the feeblest grasp of actual concept. Music, math, and the harmonic series…I sighed. In the time-honored tradition of all students, I had turned to Google for succor. The words on the screen blurred together hazily. “Pythagoras discovered that a string exactly 1/nth its length produces a frequency n times the original frequency…” It just didn’t make sense: what did a bunch of numbers have to do with musical consonance? Read her full UCLA application essay.

Mbshark

UCLA ‘20

 

Prompt: Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community, or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

A bright orange glow reflecting on the water, I love watching the sunrise at the beach. I grew up less than ten minutes away from the Atlantic and my early childhood memories include frequent trips to the beach. Although the beach is a stunning sight, the beach is not always pristine. My family and I regularly remove trash from the beach, including commercial fishing and industrial debris, particularly after storms, sometimes in quantities almost too heavy to carry. Unlock his full UCLA profile read his application!

Cdougherty

UCLA ‘18

 

Prompt: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

Starting in 6th grade, I spent every summer at Jon Lee’s East Beach volleyball camp. Most kids came and went on a weekly basis, but I just stayed. There was nowhere else I would rather have been, than at East Beach playing volleyball with my friends. I loved it so much that I sought out faster improvement, committing to more formal training with an AVP professional player. View his full successful UCLA profile.

Cotoole

UCLA ‘19

Prompt: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

T-shirt. I had never heard of DECA before. Curious, I asked him more about it, and learned that it was “a club for, like marketing and business”, as he called it. Her persuaded me to join and we planned to compete together in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team even. Unlock his full UCLA profile read his application!

WyTeav

UCLA ‘21

 

Prompt: What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?  

I can read koalas with turtles and I can eat ice cream with friends in North Korea. This is all possible due to the power of Photoshop. Photoshop is like a straw that allows people’s eyes to drink from my imagination. I can make anything and put it anywhere; from sea monsters in the ocean to winged toasters at my birth. For nearly four years, I have used Photoshop to express myself in an adventurous way, one that offers me wider avenues than music or writing do. I am constantly improving my photoshopping abilities and therefore expanding the limits of my expression. Unlock his full UCLA profile read his application!

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Are you looking to apply to UC Schools? or just starting to build out your college list? Make sure to search through profiles of students accepted to see essays, stats, and advice. See how they got in, and how you can too!

About The Author

Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.




If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at UCLA is 17%. For every 100 applicants, only 17 are admitted.

This means the school is extremely selective. Meeting their GPA requirements and SAT/ACT requirements is very important to getting past their first round of filters and proving your academic preparation. If you don't meet their expectations, your chance of getting is nearly zero.

After crossing this hurdle, you'll need to impress UCLA application readers through their other application requirements, including extracurriculars, essays, and letters of recommendation. We'll cover more below.

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

The average GPA at UCLA is 4.31.

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 4.31, UCLA requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes - AP or IB courses - to show that college-level academics is a breeze.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 4.31, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to UCLA. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

UCLA SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1370 (Old: 1947)

The average SAT score composite at UCLA is a 1370 on the 1600 SAT scale.

On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1947.

This score makes UCLA Moderately Competitive for SAT test scores.


UCLA SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1250, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1500. In other words, a 1250 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1500 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math690620770
Reading343137
Writing353237
Composite137012501500

UCLA SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1750, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 2170. In other words, a 1750 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 2170 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math665600750
Reading634570700
Writing648580720
Composite194717502170

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

UCLA has the Score Choice policy of "All Scores."

This means that UCLA requires you to send all SAT scores you've ever taken to their office.

This sounds daunting, but most schools don't actually consider all your scores equally. For example, if you scored an 1300 on one test and a 1500 on another, they won't actually average the two tests.

In fact, we researched the score policies at UCLA, and they have the following policy:

We require all scores and will use the highest scores from a single administration.

Source

Some students are still worried about submitting too many test scores. They're afraid that UCLA will look down on too many attempts to raise your score. But how many is too many?

From our research and talking to admissions officers, we've learned that 4-6 tests is a safe number to submit. The college understands that you want to have the best chance of admission, and retaking the test is a good way to do this. Within a reasonable number of tests, they honestly don't care how many times you've taken it. They'll just focus on your score.

If you take it more than 6 times, colleges start wondering why you're not improving with each test. They'll question your study skills and ability to improve.

But below 6 tests, we strongly encourage retaking the test to maximize your chances. If your SAT score is currently below a 1500, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You don't have much to lose, and you can potentially raise your score and significantly boost your chances of getting in.


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UCLA ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, UCLA likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 29

The average ACT score at UCLA is 29. This score makes UCLA Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 25, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 33.

Even though UCLA likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 25 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 29 and above that a 25 will look academically weak.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 33 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to UCLA, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 33.


Studying for the ACT instead? Want to learn how to improve your ACT score by 4 points?

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.


SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

UCLA requires you to take the SAT/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.


SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that UCLA requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.


Our Expert's Notes

We did more detailed research into this school and found the following information.


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