How to Get Into UC Davis: A Step-by-Step Guide

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

University of California-Davis sign

How to Get Into UC Davis: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you considering attending UC Davis for your college education? UC Davis is known for its strong academic programs, prestigious faculty, and vibrant campus community. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of getting into UC Davis, from understanding the admission requirements to navigating the application process. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a proud UC Davis student.


The University of California, Davis (UC Davis), established in 1905, originated as an agricultural offshoot of the esteemed University of California system. Situated in Davis, California, this public research university has since evolved into a cornerstone of academic excellence among the ten campuses of the University of California system.

UC Davis’s academic palette is vast, spanning diverse disciplines that encompass agriculture, engineering, biological sciences, humanities, and, notably, veterinary medicine, in which it garners particular renown. Beyond its educational offerings, research stands as a pillar of UC Davis’s ethos. As a distinguished Association of American Universities member, the campus brims with state-of-the-art research facilities where faculty and students collaborate closely on groundbreaking projects.

UC Davis arboretum on a Spring morning

Parallel to its academic pursuits, UC Davis proudly waves the flag of sustainability, having been lauded for its initiatives and programs emphasizing environmental stewardship. Students at UC Davis experience a vibrant campus life, enriched by over 800 student clubs and spirited athletic events with the UC Davis Aggies competing at the NCAA Division I level. Geographically, its location is serendipitous; nestled just west of Sacramento, it melds the charm of small-town living with the conveniences of a metropolis.

Moreover, the University of California, Davis marks its presence in Sacramento with a significant academic health center, comprising a top-tier hospital, the School of Medicine, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, and an expansive primary care network. All in all, UC Davis is not just a hub for learning but also a community where innovation, inclusivity, and a vision for global impact converge.

Understanding UC Davis Admission Requirements

Before you begin your application to the University of California, Davis, it’s important to clearly understand the admission requirements. UC Davis is a highly competitive institution, and the requirements can vary depending on the program you’re applying to.

UC Davis is known for its exceptional academic programs and rigorous admission process. By understanding the admission requirements, you can better prepare yourself for the competitive nature of the application process.

Overview of UC Davis Admission Statistics

First, let’s take a look at some key admission statistics. In recent years, UC Davis has received many applications, making the competition for admission even tougher. It’s essential to be aware of these statistics to better understand the competition level you’ll be facing.

With the increasing popularity of UC Davis, the acceptance rate has become more selective. On average, UC Davis accepts around 49% of its applicants. However, admission rates can vary depending on the program. For example, the College of Engineering at UC Davis has a lower acceptance rate, while the College of Biological Sciences has a higher acceptance rate.

It’s important to note that while these statistics provide a general overview, each applicant is evaluated individually, taking into consideration their unique qualities and achievements.

Breakdown of GPA Requirements

One of the most important factors in the UC Davis admission process is your GPA. UC Davis looks for students who have performed well academically and have challenged themselves with rigorous coursework.

California residents’ average GPA of admitted students is around 4.03. However, it’s important to note that UC Davis takes a holistic approach to admissions, considering factors beyond just GPA. So even if your GPA falls slightly below the average, don’t be discouraged – you can still strengthen your application in other ways.

UC Davis values students who have shown consistent academic excellence and those who have taken on leadership roles, engaged in extracurricular activities and demonstrated a commitment to their community.

Standardized Test Scores: SAT and ACT

In addition to your GPA, UC Davis also considers your standardized test scores – either the SAT or ACT. While there are no specific cutoff scores, it’s important to aim for scores that are competitive with other applicants.

Close-up photograph of a perfect grade on a test.

The average SAT score for admitted students at UC Davis is around 1140 – 1400. For the ACT, the average score is around 25-31. Keep in mind that these scores are just averages, and UC Davis takes a holistic approach to admissions, considering all aspects of your application.

Standardized test scores provide a standardized measure of a student’s academic abilities and can help admissions officers assess an applicant’s readiness for the rigorous academic environment.

However, it’s important to remember that UC Davis takes a holistic approach to admissions, meaning they consider a wide range of factors beyond just test scores. They also consider an applicant’s personal statement, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and any additional achievements or experiences that demonstrate a student’s potential for success at UC Davis.

Preparing Your UC Davis Application

Now that you understand the admission requirements, it’s time to start preparing your application. This section will provide you with tips and guidance on how to make your application stand out.

When applying to UC Davis, it is important to remember that the admissions committee is looking for well-rounded individuals who will contribute to the campus community. In addition to meeting the academic requirements, several other factors can help make your application more competitive.

Choosing the Right High School Courses

When selecting your high school courses, choosing classes that challenge you and align with your intended major is important. The University of California, Davis values students who have taken a rigorous and well-rounded curriculum.

For example, if you’re interested in majoring in engineering, make sure to take advanced math and science courses in high school. If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in the humanities, focus on taking challenging English and history courses.

By selecting the right high school courses, you’ll be better prepared for the academic rigor and demonstrate your passion and commitment to your chosen field of study.

Furthermore, UC Davis offers a wide range of academic resources and support services to help students succeed. From tutoring programs to research opportunities, taking advantage of these resources can further enhance your academic experience at UC Davis.

Importance of Extracurricular Activities

While academic achievements are important, UC Davis also values well-rounded individuals who are actively involved in their communities. Extracurricular activities can include involvement in clubs, sports teams, community service, or leadership roles.

When choosing which activities to participate in, it’s important to select ones that align with your personal interests and passions. This will make your application more compelling and show your dedication and initiative.

They also encourage students to explore their interests beyond the classroom through internships, research projects, and study abroad programs. These experiences can provide valuable insights and perspectives that can enrich your education and personal growth.

Crafting Your Personal Statement

The personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your personality, experiences, and aspirations. It allows the admissions committee to get to know you on a deeper level beyond your grades and test scores.

When writing your personal statement, be sure to choose a topic that is meaningful to you and showcases your unique perspective. Take the time to reflect on your experiences and how they have shaped you as an individual.

Also, pay attention to your writing style and grammar. Make sure to proofread your personal statement multiple times and consider seeking feedback from teachers, mentors, or trusted friends.

The University of California, Davis values diversity and inclusivity, so it is important to highlight any experiences or perspectives that contribute to these values. Whether it be overcoming adversity, volunteering in underserved communities, or advocating for social justice, sharing these stories can demonstrate your commitment to making a positive impact.

In all, preparing your UC Davis application requires careful consideration of your high school courses, involvement in extracurricular activities, and crafting a compelling personal statement. By showcasing your strengths, passions, and unique experiences, you can increase your chances of being admitted to UC Davis and joining a vibrant and diverse community of scholars.

Navigating the UC Davis Application Process

Now that you have prepared your application materials navigating the UC Davis application process is time. This section will provide you with tips and important information to help you complete your application successfully.

Understanding the UC Application

The UC Application is the central application system for all University of California campuses, including UC Davis. It allows you to apply to multiple UC campuses using a single application.

When filling out the UC Application, be sure to pay attention to the specific requirements and prompts for UC Davis. Take the time to carefully fill out each section of the application, providing detailed and accurate information.

Dreamy attractive female student thinking about coursework strategy


UC Davis is known for its strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, allowing students to explore various academic disciplines and combine them to create unique educational experiences. The university offers a wide range of majors and minors, giving students the opportunity to pursue their passions and interests.

UC Davis is also renowned for its vibrant campus life. With over 800 student organizations, there are countless opportunities for students to get involved and make lasting connections. From cultural clubs to academic organizations, there is something for everyone at UC Davis.

Tips for Filling Out Your UC Davis Application

As you fill out your application, keep in mind the following tips:

  1. Be honest and accurate when providing your personal and academic information. UC Davis values integrity and expects applicants to be truthful in their application materials.
  2. Double-check all the information you enter for accuracy. Mistakes in your application can lead to delays or even rejection, so it’s important to review your application thoroughly.
  3. Make sure to submit all necessary supporting documents, such as transcripts and test scores. These documents provide important evidence of your academic achievements and potential.
  4. Take your time when writing your personal statement and other application essays, and proofread them carefully. Your essays are an opportunity to showcase your unique experiences and perspectives, so make sure to present yourself in the best possible light.
  5. Submit your application well before the deadline to avoid any last-minute technical issues. It’s always a good idea to give yourself some buffer time in case you encounter any unexpected challenges.

The University of California, Davis takes a holistic approach to admissions, considering your academic achievements and your personal qualities and experiences. The university values diversity and seeks to create a vibrant and inclusive community on campus. When filling out your application, take the opportunity to highlight your unique background and experiences that will contribute to the community.

Remember, the application process can be stressful, but it is also an exciting opportunity to showcase your potential. Review thoroughly and tailor your application to align with the university’s values and offerings. Good luck!

Interested in further understanding the roadmap to UC Davis? With more than a decade of experience, AdmissionSight has been a reliable guide for students amid the competitive admissions landscape.

Turn to AdmissionSight this fall to enhance your college application. Contact us today to explore more about our service offerings.


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