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Freshman Application Review

  • UC San Diego receives more than 80,000 freshman applications each year.
  • Successful applicants must exceed minimum UC admission requirements.
  • Enrollment goals are established annually.
  • The campus does not select students on the basis of academic major or choice of UCSD undergraduate college.


Identify and admit students who are fully prepared to excel in the University's challenging academic environment – students who represent strong academic achievement, exceptional personal talent and the broad diversity of talents, abilities, personal experience, and backgrounds characteristic of California.

Review process

Every application, including the personal insight questions, is reviewed by a minimum of 2 individuals. Consideration is given for the academic and personal factors listed below.

Grade Point Average (GPA)
One of the most important criteria considered is the GPA, including a maximum of 8 UC-approved Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or UC-transferable college courses based upon your self-reported academic history.

Performance on standardized tests
  • required tests: ACT Assessment plus Writing (scores must be from the same sitting) or SAT Reasoning Test with critical reading, math, and writing
  • added value for optional SAT subject tests
  • added value for optional Advanced Placement or IBHL examinations
Achievement in "a-g" courses
number of, rigor of and grades earned in:
  • courses beyond the minimum "a-g" course requirements
  • AP, IBHL, honors, or transferable college or university courses
  • senior year courses
Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC)
Identification by UC as being ranked in the top 9 percent of your California high school class at the end of your junior year.

Personal Qualities
  • leadership ability
  • motivation, tenacity, initiative
  • originality, creativity
  • intellectual independence
  • responsibility, insight, maturity
  • demonstrated concern for others and for the community
Likely contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of our campus, which values cultural, socioeconomic and intellectual diversity.
Achievement in academic enrichment programs, including those sponsored by UC
  • time and depth of participation
  • academic progress made during that participation
  • intellectual rigor of the particular program
Other evidence of exemplary, sustained achievement in any field of intellectual or creative endeavor
  • accomplishments in the performing arts and athletics
  • employment
  • leadership in school or community organizations or activities
  • community service
Challenges, hardships, unusual circumstances
  • maturity, determination and insight with which you have responded to and/or overcome
  • contextual factors that bear directly on your achievement, including linguistic background, parental education level, and other indicators of support available in the home