UC, San Diego Acceptance Rate: 34%

October 17, 2022
By AdmissionSight

University of California, San Diego Acceptance Rate: 34%

Successful Applicant Profile

  • Demographics
  • Majors
  • SAT/ACT scores

Entry Requirements

  • Tuition
  • Scholarships
  • Checklist of Application Requirements
  • Application Deadlines

What Should You Expect

  • Student life
  • Academics offered
  • Athletics offered
  • Notable Alumni

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is a public research university located in Santa Diego, California. UCSD was founded in 1960 as part of the University of California system, which has 10 campuses. UC San Diego, like many of the University of California institutions, is highly regarded for its contribution to the film, arts and sciences industries through its distinguished alumni and continues to produce a high level of academics university-wide. Acceptance to University of California, San Diego is considered competitive but attainable.

It should be said, then, that if you dream of attending UC, San Diego, it is important to know all you can about application process and what UCSD expects from its applicants prior to submitting your application to give you the best possible chance of gaining admission.

Students walking in University of California, San Diego.

When you compare the University of California, San Diego acceptance rate with other high profile and respected institutions, you may think it is much easier to gain admission to UCSD than some comparative schools, even those within the state of California system. However, the University of California, San Diego acceptance rate reflects what are a strict set of criteria for application in the first place, meaning that those that do apply are, in the vast majority of cases, already qualified per the admissions requirements. The university then goes through the decisions process before landing at the University of California, San Diego acceptance rate percentage for that year, which the university then releases to the public.

The University of California, San Diego accepted 38% of all applicants for its 2021-22 admissions cycle, which is around 38,325 of the 100,073 students who applied. The university adopts what is known as a ‘test-blind’ policy when it comes to standardized testing and will not consider ACT or SAT scores in the admissions process, therefore you should not submit them. UCSD will want to know you researched and understood the application requirements prior to submitting your materials and this is an important part of the process.

Although standardized testing is not considered at UC, San Diego, previous grades and overall GPA is a major factor in admissions decisions. An amazing 100% of successful applicants to UCSD for the class of 2025 – the most recently released statistics – were in the top 10% of their graduating high school class. The average GPA was 4.09 across the entire cohort, which is very high and gives an idea of the standards expected at UCSD. Now we are also going to explore the complex nature of its admission process and how you can give yourself the best chance of standing out amongst the crowd when it comes to getting in to UCSD.

Successful Applicant Profile

As one of the leading institutions in the California state system the University of California, San Diego is very highly regarded as an academic institution both within the US and throughout the world, where it enjoys well-known status thanks to its standing as one of the University of California institutions. The university has prestigious alumni, world class education and a desirable setting being located in La Jolla, CA, meaning the school has the advantage of offering those who gain admission a great overall student experience.

Amongst the reasons for the popularity of the University of California, San Diego is how the university allows its students to pursue their chosen major no matter which college they choose to attend. The undergraduate academics at UCSD are spread amongst its seven colleges, which comprise of: Revelle College, John Muir College, Thurgood Marshall College, Earl Warren College, Eleanor Roosevelt College, Sixth College and Seventh College.

Three students using a laptop in a table.

Among those hoping to secure a place at one of these schools at the University of California, San Diego for the class of 2025 were an astonishing 100,073 applicants. Of these, 38% were lucky enough to gain acceptance, which is a slight upturn on the 32% of applicants which were accepted the previous year. Make no mistake, however, that competition for places remains highly competitive and applicants will be held to strict admissions requirements.

Increased amounts of applicants year-on-year shows that UCSD is only gaining in popularity. As such, the university endeavors to look at a range of different criteria when assessing its candidates for admission. These include but are not limited to character and personal qualities, extracurricular activities, academic GPA and overall rigor of secondary school record. Ensuring you present yourself in the best possible manner is crucially important to gaining that place at UCSD and we at AdmissionSight are here to help you through that.

Demographics: Who Makes up the UCSD Student Body?

As you would expect from one of the universities within the University of California system, UCSD has a truly diverse student population that reflects the state of California. Statistics which the university released for the class of 2022, the most recent currently available, shows an even gender split as 50% identified as female and 50% identified as male.

The breakdown of race and ethnicity at the University of California, San Diego shows the diverse student population that is on display. As such, the university released the following breakdown of ethnic identity for its student body for the class of 2025:

  • Asian American: 37.1%
  • Hispanic: 20.8%
  • African American: 3%
  • International: 17%
  • Caucasian: 19%
  • African American: 3%

These statistics are reflective of the diverse nature of California as a whole as the geographic breakdown shows that many of its students, despite having a wide range of different cultural backgrounds, actually come from in-state and as such paid in-state tuition. The breakdown:

  • Percent from other U.S. States (non-residents) – 7%
  • Percent from other countries (non-resident, international) = 17%
  • Percent from San Francisco/Bay Area: 13%
  • Percent from San Diego County: 22%
  • Percent from Los Angeles/Orange Counties: 35%
  • Percent from Other California Counties: 6%

In terms of support for its diverse student population, the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of California, San Diego is the primary department for this. The office offers a wide range of services to its students, including anti-racism resources, funding and awards, as well as excellence workshops for Latinx students and others.

Additionally, due to the large population of international students at UCSD, the university has a dedicated International Student Office (ISSO) which takes care of international students from the moment they decide to apply to ensuring their student experience is outstanding.

The change of lifestyle in the US for new students can be overwhelming and as such the ISSO takes care of a myriad of things that make life much easier for international students as well as those from different backgrounds who may require guidance. Amongst its services, the ISSO deals with issuing immigration documents, advising on relevant immigration matters, meeting US reporting requirements and offering information on adjusting to life and culture in the US and at UCSD to ensure a smooth transition to La Jolla wherever you are from.

Average SAT/ACT Scores of Students Admitted to UCSD

Like many of the top public and private academic institutions throughout the United States in recent years, UCSD has adopted a ‘test-blind’ policy when it comes to test scores, which means that its applicants should not submit test scores to the university as these will not be considered as part of the admissions process.

Importantly, the ‘test-blind’ policy adopted by UCSD means that students should pay attention to this detail and not attempt to submit their test scores in order to score favor with admissions. When outlining the university stance on standardized testing, we here at AdmissionSight believe it is important to note that if a university is ‘test-blind’ this policy should be adhered to and not adhering to such will not increase your admission chances.

View of students taking an exam.

Aside from the ‘test-blind’ policy when it comes to SAT and ACT tests, those admitted to UCSD in the class of 2025, the most recently released scores, 100% of successful applicants to were in the top 10% of their graduating high school class. The average GPA was 4.09.

Entry Requirements

The popularity of the University of California, San Diego, has only grown year-on-year as the university continues to offer a vast array of first-class academic options in a highly desirable setting in the La Jolla area of San Diego. As such, over 100,000 students now typically apply annually, giving you an idea of how popular UCSD is. However, gaining a spot is not impossible and having a great application that meets all the required steps can put you in a great position. In order to be successful, applicants must understand the basic admissions process and requirements that will guide them on their journey from starting those first admissions materials through to becoming a part of the UCSD community.

Two students talking about University of California, San Diego Acceptance Rate

Successfully navigating the application process at schools like UCSD can sometimes be a little daunting even for the smartest of students. Don’t worry, we here at AdmissionSight have got you covered – here’s the lowdown on everything you need to know about gaining admission to UCSD and what is expected of its applicants if they are to become a San Diego Triton.

How Much Will It Cost to Attend UCSD?

UCSD has different costs depending upon whether you are considered an in-state applicant (from the state of California) or an out-of-state applicant (outside California). For the academic year 2022-2023, the total cost of first year tuition and fees for the University of California, San Diego for out-of-state students is $44,487. For the academic year 2022-2023, the total cost of first year tuition and fees for the University of California, San Diego for in-state students is $14,733.

This is different to the total cost of attendance, which also factors in other expenses.

The breakdown of costs for attendance at UCSD are outlined below;

  • Tuition and fees (in-state) – $14,733
  • Tuition and fees (out-of-state) – $44,487
  • Room and board – $16,026
  • Personal expenses & books/supplies – $4557

This all amounts to a total cost of attendance for first-year out-of-state undergraduate students of $65,070 and a total cost for in-state students of $35,316, which ranks as pretty competitive for such a popular school in the state of California. In addition, the university offers various financial aid options and continues to honor its promise of meeting the full demonstrated institutional financial need of aid applicants year-on-year, making it an attractive and value for money institution for those with financial need.

Financial Aid at UCSD

When factoring in its reputation and location, the University of California, San Diego provides competitive rates in comparison with similar institutions. In addition to this, the university believes in merit and need-based aid and their packages reflect that.

Notably, UCSD offers both the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) which is designed to meet any remaining need after other forms of aid, such as Pell Grants, as well as the California Dream Act Application as its primary sources of aid. The Cal Dream Act Application is required by March 2 for the following academic year to be considered.

Graduation cap and a roll of dollars placed next to each other.

Additionally, ‘Cal Grants’ are also offered and are administered by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). To be eligible for a Cal Grant, you must be eligible for financial aid and not hold a prior Bachelor’s degree. As well as this, a further financial aid program offered by the university is the UCSD Scholarship which is made available by the University of California and is awarded to California resident undergraduate applicants who are determined to have sufficient financial need, which offers students a variety of awards depending upon their financial need and is based on income. Criteria is specific to family income and awards are based upon those most in need with applicants to the university automatically considered, albeit one provision as with most financial aid packages is that a FAFSA is completed.

For undergraduate students, there are also numerous grants and scholarships available depending on your program. For a more detailed and specific run down of the financial aid available at UCSD students can use the Financial Aid Calculator provided by the university on its dedicated website to determine what they are entitled to in terms of financial aid.

The Application Requirements

Selection of candidates at UCSD is often made up of a number of factors. The official website states that it looks at a wide range of factors when making admissions decisions – including previous grades, course rigor, recommendations, academic honors or awards, personal essays, and other information specific to your own experiences and personal attributes.

Like all institutions, admission requirements are program-specific, but UCSD does provide a guide of minimum requirements for first-year undergraduates applying. These include:

  • Completed application packet
  • Outline of Special talents, achievements and awards in a particular field
  • Official secondary school transcript and school report
  • At least one (1) teacher recommendation
  • Electronic media (optional)
  • Peer recommendation (optional)
  • $70 application fee for US citizens or $80 for internationals or application fee waiver

International students from non-English speaking institutions or applicants whose first/primary language is not English or whose secondary schooling has not been in English are also required by the university to submit official proof of English language proficiency.

Important Dates for the UCSD Admission Timeline?

For all undergraduate admissions programs, the portal opens on October 1 and the deadline to submit your application materials to UCSD is November 30. Applicants can then view their admissions decision via the online portal by March 31.

Applicants who receive an offer for the university ‘waitlist’ will be informed of this by April 15 and must opt-in by 11:59pm on April 15. In all cases students must accept or reject the decision via the online portal by May 1 in order for the admissions decision to remain valid.

What Students Can Expect

The University of California, San Diego is rated amongst the highest public institutions in the United States as one of the University of California campuses. The UCSD campus is nestled in the La Jolla area of California and is an extremely popular location for perspective students. Moreover, the university strikes a great balance between academic and lifestyle.

Multi-racial students walking in the campus.

“I think it’s a great school with many opportunities,” wrote one student on Unigo. “My experience so far has 100% proved it to not be “UC socially dead”. There are parties every Friday and Saturday if you are interested. It’s located in a very nice area, La Jolla, very close to the city of San Diego. There is always something to do!”

In order to get more information about the University of California, San Diego acceptance rate, the UCSD campus and the overall admissions process, you can email [email protected] or call (858) 534-4831.

Academics Offered

UCSD offers a really diverse and fluid mixture of academics. Overall, the University of California, San Diego offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in a total of 94 specialties. Academics at UCSD are divided into its seven schools which are listed below:

  • Revelle College
  • John Muir College
  • Thurgood Marshall College
  • Earl Warren College
  • Eleanor Roosevelt College
  • Sixth College
  • Seventh College

University of California, San Diego enjoys a fantastic reputation in all its academics, and has certainly stood out in certain fields. Some of the most popular areas of study at UCSD include: Biology, Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering and Arts & Humanities.

What Athletic Options are Available?

The University of California, San Diego offers a total of 20 varsity sports team which are the same for both men and women – 10 of which are men’s teams and 10 of which are for women. The teams, known as the ‘Tritons’ are listed below:

Men’s Teams

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Cross Country
  • Water Polo
  • Track and Field

Women’s Teams 

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Indoor Track
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Water Polo
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

UCSD Notable Alumni

Despite its relative youth, the University of California, San Diego has produced a great array of alumni who have had a massive impact across a broad range of fields. Some of the most famous names to have attended UCSD and call themselves UCSD alumni include:

  • Benicio del Toro
  • Andrew Cunanan
  • Paul Phillips
  • Angela Davis
  • K. Megan McArthur
  • David Brin
  • Kip Fulbeck
  • Mike Judge
  • Vernor Vinge
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Russell Lieblich
  • Antony Garrett Lisi
  • Flossie Wong-Staal
  • John LeMoncheck
  • Cara Capuano
  • Yolanda Lopez

The University of California, San Diego acceptance rate displays the competitive yet achievable nature of gaining admission to one of California’s most respected schools. If you feel you have what it takes to gain admission to the University of California, San Diego, allow us at AdmissionSight to show you how to maximize your strengths and minimize any potential weaknesses so that the college admissions officers at UCSD see you for the fantastic potential you possess and you can fulfil your dream of becoming a Triton.


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