A freshman applicant is currently in high school or has graduated from high school but has not enrolled in a regular (non-summer) session at a college or university. If you've completed college courses during high school (through summer after graduation), you're still considered a freshman applicant.

Student profile

We’re looking for fearless innovators. Bold risk-takers. Those with a compulsive urge to take things apart, discover what makes them tick and put them back together in surprising new ways. People who are eager to swap ideas, share experiences and explore the world with a fresh perspective. If that sounds like you, start building your future at UC San Diego.

  • 4.13 Average GPA
  • 1970 Average SAT
  • 31.7 Average ACT

Timeline application timeline

August 1

The University of California Application opens for the academic term beginning next Fall.

October 1

FAFSA and California Dream Act applications open. Only complete one.

  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents: Complete FAFSA, use IRS data retrieval for tax information.
  • Non-U.S. citizens: Complete California Dream Act Application if you are a California resident not eligible for FAFSA who attended a CA High School for 3 years or more and will or have already graduated (AB540 eligible).

November 1- 30

Submit the University of California Application by the November 30 deadline.


You'll receive an email from UC San Diego that confirms we received your application to our campus. Make sure you check all email folders to ensure you are receiving emails from us and they are not being marked as spam.

By March 2

File your FAFSA or California Dream Act application. Forms are also available from your school counselor. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. See Financial Aid timeline for more details.

  • List UC San Diego school code 001317 on your application.
  • Meet the March 2 deadline to be considered for the best possible funding.
  • Apply for a CAL grant.

March 31

Freshman admission decisions will be posted on the Applicant Portal by the end of March.

April 15

Applicants selected for Waitlist

Select applicants will be invited to opt in to our waitlist through their Applicant Portal.

Freshman applicants must opt in by 11:59 pm PST on April 15.

Being on the waitlist does not guarantee an offer of admission. We strongly urge students to accept another university’s admission offer before the appropriate deadline to ensure they have secured a spot at an institution.

By August 1, final decisions will be released to applicants who opt in to the waitlist. There is no appeal process for the waitlist.

April 15

Appeals for Applicants Not Offered Admission or Waitlist

Every application to UC San Diego is reviewed thoroughly by at least two readers. Admission decisions are made carefully to meet the enrollment goals of the university. Therefore, successful appeals are very rare.

Applicants who have new and compelling academic information that was not presented in their original application, may submit an appeal through their Applicant Portal by April 15. No appeals will be accepted after the deadline. Waitlisted students may not appeal.

May 1

Deadline to accept UC San Diego's offer of admission. Accept your offer and submit your Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) through the Applicant Portal.

July 1

Deadline to submit your final transcripts.

July 15

AP and IB exam results are due no later than July 15.

  • Please request results be sent to UC San Diego, school code: 004836.
  • For more information, please refer to the Advanced Placement FAQs.

Requirements Application Requirements

As a freshman applicant, you must earn a high school diploma (or equivalent) and satisfy the following UC admission requirements:

  • Subject Requirement
  • Scholarship Requirement
  • Examination Requirement
  • Personal Insight Questions
  • Portfolio Review (optional for Arts majors)

Competition for admission is high, so meeting these requirements does not guarantee your admission. Students admitted to UC San Diego exceed minimum UC admission requirements.

The UC Application is open. The application is available for submission November 1-30.

College Ranking

You will be asked to rank the UC San Diego colleges on your UC Application. Find out more about the colleges and get guidance on how to rank them.

Subject Requirements

To be eligible for admission to UC San Diego, you must complete UC College preparatory courses (A-G courses) in the subjects below and earn a "C" grade or better. Complete at least 11 of the 15 courses before your senior year of high school.

"a-g" Courses Years
a. History/social science 2
b. English 4
c. Mathematics 3 (4 recommended)
d. Laboratory science 2 (3 recommended)
e. Language other than English
   (or other second language)
2 (3 recommended)
f. Visual and performing arts 1
g. College preparatory elective
  • California residents: courses must be on your high school's UC-approved course list.
  • Non-California residents: there is no pre-approved course list for schools outside of California.
  • International applicants: check out the International Requirements below.

GPA (Grade-Point Average) Requirement

To be eligible for admission to UC San Diego, you must earn the following minimum GPAs:

  • California residents must earn a GPA of 3.0 (or better) with no grade lower than "C."
  • Non-California residents & International applicants must earn a GPA of 3.4 (or better) with no grade lower than "C."

Your GPA is based on the above “a-g” courses taken during 10th and 11th grades. Students admitted to UC San Diego have GPAs that exceed these minimums.


These are the tests you must complete to be eligible for admission to UC San Diego. You must take all tests by December of your senior year (the year before you plan to enroll). Only your highest scores from a single sitting will be considered. When you report your ACT or SAT scores to one UC campus, they will be shared with every UC campus to which you have applied. If you are applying for the fall term, you must submit your official test scores no later than January.

You must submit scores from either:

  • ACT Plus Writing -OR-
  • SAT Reasoning Test with critical reading, math and writing. Your scores must be from same sitting. (see below for further information on SAT exam)

For prospective engineering, biological or physical sciences majors:

  • We recommend that you submit scores from 2 SAT Subject Tests closely related to your major. If you are taking a math subject test, Math Level 2 is required.

Should I take the old or new SAT exam?

If you are in 11th or 12th grade in 2017 you have the option to submit scores from either the old SAT or new SAT with Essay exam. If you are in 9th or 10th grade in 2017, you must take the new SAT. For more information, see the top five things you should know about the new SAT.

Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate Tests

If you complete Advanced Placement courses, we recommend that you complete the related AP examination to demonstrate subject mastery. Similarly, International Baccalaureate scores can be used to showcase academic mastery. To receive unit credit toward the baccalaureate degree, you must submit an official copy of your AP or IB scores directly from the testing agency. This can be done in the summer following your high school graduation. Other entrance exams taken after high school graduation are not considered.

International Students

If your native language is not English and your secondary/high school education was in a country where English is not the language of instruction, you must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination (academic modules) and have your scores reported to the UC San Diego Office of Admissions. A minimum score of 83 is required for the TOEFL, or a minimum score of 7 is required for the IELTS.

Personal Insight Questions

This is your opportunity to tell us who you are, what’s important to you and why you belong at UC San Diego by answering 4 of the 8 personal insight questions when you submit your application. We recommend selecting the questions that reveal the most about you and best reflect your experiences. All questions are given equal consideration in the application review process. There is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing one question over another. Your answers are limited to a maximum of 350 words, so make each statement count! Use these writing tips & techniques, brainstorming exercises and additional suggestions for further inspiration and direction.


International International Requirements

You are considered a freshman (first-year university student) if you have completed your secondary education and earned a certificate of completion that enables you to be admitted to a university in your home country and is equivalent to a U.S. High School Diploma and have never been enrolled full-time as a college or university student. If you have enrolled as a full-time college or university student, you will need to apply as a transfer student.

For international students to be considered for admission to UC San Diego, you must meet specific English proficiency requirements. If you are a transfer applicant, you can fulfill the requirement with grades of “B” or better in your two required transferable courses in English composition. All other applicants must fulfill the requirement with an exam. Report your scores to the undergraduate admissions office before January.

TOEFL minimum scores

  • Internet-based: 83
  • Paper-based: 550

IELTS minimum score of 7 (Academic module)

AP Exam accepted scores

  • English Language and Composition: 3, 4, 5
  • English Literature and Composition: 3, 4, 5

IB Exam accepted scores

  • English (Lang. A) higher level: 5, 6, 7
  • English (Lang. A) standard level: 6 or higher

To be considered for admission, you must have completed secondary school with a superior average in academic subjects and have earned a certificate of completion that enables you to be admitted to a university in your home country and is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma.

Click here to ensure your country’s certificates, diplomas and other documents are equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma. In addition to these international secondary school completion requirements, keep in mind that admission to UC San Diego is competitive. You must achieve excellent results on your final secondary school exams.

When you apply

Report all completed coursework as it appears on your academic records at your home school. The application will analyze your scores using your country's grading standards. Do NOT convert scores yourself or have them converted professionally. Be sure to include explanations if grades do not fit in the given space and are abbreviated. Read Your Country's Educational System section below for more information.

All freshman applications (including international students) are expected to take the following tests:

You must take all tests by December of the year before you plan to enroll. Make arrangements with the Educational Testing Service to take these tests in your home country and request that your scores be sent directly to the UC San Diego Undergraduate Admissions Office.

This information is meant to supplement the general eligibility requirements for freshmen, not to replace them.

Your international school must have an appropriate level of recognition in the educational system it follows. You must also be earning a certificate of completion that will allow you to enter a university in that educational system. If your international school follows a U.S. curriculum, your school must have U.S. accreditation and you must graduate with a U.S. high school diploma or an equivalent credential.

International Baccalaureate

If you are completing your IB diploma or simply taking IB courses, make sure to report your IB status in your application. There are instructions in the application for reporting IB coursework and examinations.

13-year Educational Systems

If pre-university education is 13 years long in your country, you must complete all 13 years before entering UC San Diego. You must graduate from secondary school in your country, earning a certificate of completion that enables you to attend a university in your country. Admission to UC San Diego is not offered prior to completion of the 13th year.

British & Singapore

You must complete at least 5 IGCSE/GCSE/GCE O Levels and at least 3 GCE A Levels to be considered for admission. If you receive "A", "B" or "C" grades on your GCE A level examinations, UC San Diego may consider granting you transfer credit toward your bachelor’s degree. The exact credit amount will be determined after you have been formally admitted and provide your official certificate.


You must complete 12 years of education and receive your certificate of graduation (i.e., Red Book). All grade 12 subjects must be completed, passed with a C result or better, with an overall 3.0 (or equivalent). We do require grade 9 transcripts, including if it was completed at a middle school. Students in an A Level program should refer to the British entry above.

India & Pakistan

You must complete your standard XII years of education and sit for 10th and 12th year board/state examinations.


You must complete your SPM and STPM or A Levels to be considered for admission.

Sri Lanka

You must complete Sri Lankan O and A Levels. You may also complete O and A Levels through a British Examination Authority.

To be granted a visa, international students must prove sufficient funds to meet all expenses for studying in the U.S. This financial independence requirement makes it extremely difficult for most undergraduate students whose parents are not California residents to qualify for classification as a resident for tuition purposes at the University of California. This includes students from community colleges and other post-secondary institutions within California.

Read more about Residency for Tuition Purposes.


Review Application Review

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


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.

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

How well you perform on standardized tests helps us determine your admission. You are required to take the ACT Assessment plus Writing (scores must be from the same sitting) or SAT Reasoning Test with critical reading, math and writing. We add value for optional SAT subject tests and for optional Advanced Placement or IBHL examinations.

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.

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.

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.

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