UC San Diego typically receives more than 80,000 first-year applications. We're looking for students with strong academics, so successful applicants must exceed minimum UC admission requirements. Enrollment goals are established annually.

Application Review


Our goal is to identify and admit students who are fully prepared to excel in our challenging academic environment. We’re looking for students who represent strong academic achievement, exceptional personal talent and the broad diversity of abilities, personal experience and backgrounds characteristic of California.


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.

Academic Achievement

Grade-Point Average (GPA)

One of the most important criteria considered is your 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

In accordance with University of California (UC) policy:

Note: Ongoing litigation related to the University’s admissions processes may affect the content of these materials. However, no matter what happens in the litigation, nobody will be required to submit an SAT or ACT score for Fall 2021, and applications will not be viewed negatively based on the lack of a score.

  • UC San Diego currently plans to be test-optional for Fall 2021 admissions. Under UC San Diego’s test-optional admissions policy, nobody will be required to submit an SAT or ACT score for admission consideration, and applications will not be viewed negatively based on the lack of a score. Testing has always been only one of many factors considered in our review process. Moreover, UC San Diego recognizes that demand for SAT/ACT administrations this fall may be challenging due to COVID-related cancellations in recent months. We also understand that there are real safety concerns about gathering to take a standardized test. We want to reiterate that submission of a test score is NOT required. Your safety is more important to us than a test score. Optional means optional. We look forward to reading your application!

  • Fall 2023 and Fall 2024 Applicants: UC San Diego will be test-blind. The campus will not consider test scores in admission selection.

Achievement in A-G Courses & Beyond

We take into consideration the number of, rigor of and grades earned in courses beyond the minimum A-G course requirements, including AP, IBHL, honors, or transferable college or university courses and your senior year courses.

Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC)

ELC students are identified by the University of California as ranking in the top 9% percent of your California high school class at the end of your junior year. This achievement adds value to your application.

Personal Qualities

We value cultural, socioeconomic and intellectual diversity and are looking for students who will actively contribute to our campus. We're looking for students who demonstrate exceptional characteristics like leadership, motivation, tenacity, initiative, originality, creativity, intellectual independence, responsibility, insight and maturity. We also value students who demonstrate concern for others and for their community. Below are the important personal qualities we consider when determining your admission.

Academic Enrichment

We're looking for time and depth of your participation, academic progress made during your participation and intellectual rigor of the particular program.

Creative, Intellectual, Social or Professional Achievement

Show us how you contribute to your team, job or community. We’re looking for additional evidence of exemplary, sustained achievement in any field of intellectual or creative endeavor, including your accomplishments in the performing arts and athletics, employment, leadership in school or community organizations or activities and community service.

Challenges, Hardships, Unusual Circumstances

We are looking for students with maturity, determination and insight who have had to overcome challenging circumstances. Tell us about contextual factors that bear directly on your achievement, including linguistic background, parental education level and other indicators of support available in your home.

Portfolio Review

Students applying to Music, Theatre & Dance, or Visual Arts may submit an optional portfolio/audition video when they apply to UC San Diego. When you choose one of these majors on the UC Application, you will be provided with a link to submit your arts portfolio/audition video online. Faculty in the major to which you are applying will review your submission and share their evaluations with the UC San Diego Office of Admissions. This evaluation may add value to your overall application. Follow the link provided through the UC Application to submit your portfolio/audition video. The Office of Admissions does not accept submissions sent directly to our office.

Application Information

First-Year Students

We’re looking for fearless innovators. Bold risk-takers.

First-Year Students


As a first-year applicant, you must earn a high school diploma (or equivalent) and satisfy these requirements.

Application Requirements


Learn about the important dates that you'll encounter throughout the first-year application process.

Application Timeline