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University Of California Los Angeles Application Essay: Admissions Policy and Requirements

If you are thinking of writing a university of California Los Angeles application essay, the first thing to know that the admissions process here is very selective. Indeed, the process is so complex that there is no formula to define it. Every application to UCLA is evaluated in a holistic manner with a view to identifying applicants who will interact well with the university's community and bring with them diverse experiences. Every September, around 2,800 freshmen enroll while approximately 400 students apply to transfer. Additionally, in January, more than 900 students tend to enroll via the NU.in program. This program provides first-year students with an innovative global study experience wherein students start their studies at an overseas partner institution of UCLA and earn transfer credits in the first semester and then transition to the UCLA campus for the spring (second) semester. You will find more information about NU.in on the university's website.

The process of creating a talented and diverse class of incoming students, the UCLA admissions board looks for students who have shone academically and been active in both their community and school.

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Upon reading each university of California Los Angeles application essay they receive from freshmen, the evaluation committee also considers the applicant's transcript from high school to determine whether this is a good match for the different opportunities their institution. These opportunities include college courses, international placements (baccalaureate), advanced placements or honors courses. Students who gain entrance to UCLA have typically achieved great success with a heavy and challenging academic workload.

As well as reviewing each university of California Los Angeles application essay they receive from potential transfer students, the board looks at transcripts of the applicant's high school or college, their resumes, recommendation letters, their community contributions, and the preparation they have done for their chosen major. In some cases, evaluators look for standardized exam/test scores. It is desirable for potential transfer students to get their applications and support materials submitted by the stipulated deadline.

In terms of how to get into university of California Los Angeles, this institution accepts both common and coalition applications. It is possible to submit an application online via either of these routes. Both application routes are reviewed on equal merit. The admissions committee begins evaluating each candidate's application once they have received all of that candidate's credentials. Information about applications is provided via the status checking tool. Applicants are encouraged to check that their identification details (their name, birth date, and University ID) is listed on each item they submit to ensure everything is processed in an accurate and timely manner.

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Application Decisions and Deadlines

Students of UCLA are offered the following options with respect to their applications.

Application Materials Required

The admissions committee begins evaluating each candidate's application when all their credential documents are received. Information about student applications is available through the status checking system. All students are advised to check that their identification details (their name, birth date, and University ID) is displayed on each document they submit to ensure applications are processed in an accurate and timely manner.

Applications from Freshmen

  • Early Answer/Decision No I (this decision is binding for anyone who wants to be enrolled for fall semester)
  • Early Action (this option is not binding)
  • Early Answer/Decision No II (this decision is binding for anyone who wants to be admitted for fall semester)
  • Regular Answer/Decision (not binding)

Over 62,000student applications are received by UCLA for freshman places. It is the responsibility of the evaluations committee to select candidates they feel will fit in and contribute to the university's vibrant and diverse social and academic community. Candidates who have accepted academic challenges and come through them successfully are of particular interest to the admissions committee; candidates with high motivation levels, are hard-working, and who have shown resilience, creativity, adaptability, diversity, strong creative skills, the ability to engage, good leadership qualities, and a global outlook. Students at UCLA tend to demonstrate a strong commitment when it comes to getting involved and becoming positive influences at both community and global level. Applicants are encouraged to put a lot of thought into their applications to ensure their qualities and strengths strike a chord with the university's admissions board.

Freshman applications are required to include:

  1. Completed Coalition or Common Applications.
  2. $75.00 fee for application.
  3. Recommendations from high school teacher and counselor.
  4. Transcripts from high school to include final grades for junior year. It is also necessary to submit grades for first semester or trimester when these become available. Grades for first-quarter are not a requirement.
  5. Early Answer/Decision for applicants under Early Decision I or Early Decision II binding options.
  6. Official ACT or SAT results. The UCLA's ACT and CEEB codes are available on its website. Student test scores should be sent directly from the test agency to the university.
  7. Studio Art students require portfolios and they are strongly encouraged for students applying to the College of Arts, Media and Design. From spring of 2018, students applying for music technology do not need portfolios. SlideRoom is used for submitting portfolios online. Refer to the UCLA website to learn more.
  8. Recipients of the GED (General Equivalency Diploma) are required to submit official reports showing their GED scores as well as the latest completed transcript from their high school.
  9. Applicants who have been schooled at home are required to provide an academic transcript or portfolio as per state-prescribed guidelines. Grades for every course should be included. These applicants are also required to show proof they will meet all the official diploma requirements for high school level before the expiration of the month of May of their graduation year and they must submit a completion certificate or GED provided by their state education board or local education district before the expiration of the month of July of the matriculation year. As well as all the other requirements for first year, students in receipt of home schooling are required to submit the university's home-schooling supplement in which the application describes the coursework they have completed.
  10. Applicants who graduate early from high school: UCLA reviews applicants from candidates who are due to complete their high school education in three (3) years or a shorter timeframe. Prior to enrolling, early-admission applicants are required to have undertaken every unit needed to graduate from high school (to include four (4) years English studies) or have obtained their GED. As well as the materials that first-year applicants are required to submit, those who have graduated early from high school are required to provide supporting statements from their high school counselor or principal and their parents. The supporting documents should indicate whether the applicant is sufficiently emotional mature and academically ready for a college education.
  11. Policies on non-conventional grading: Rather than the conventional method of displaying grades in a letterform, some schools use narrative grading/evaluations and students should submit these narrative versions with applications where applicable.
  12. Proficiency in English: It is UCLA's aim to enroll those students with the most talent and best academic qualifications. Every course at this university is delivered in the English language and, consequently, reviewers pay attention to how likely an applicant is to succeed in an environment where English is the instructional language. Where English is not the applicant's primary language, extra or special requirements may apply. Please refer to the university's website for current information.
  13. Candidates applying from non-USA high schools do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores, and if they do submit them, evaluators will not consider them. Instead, these candidates should show they have completed secondary level education by submitting proof of the results from accredited examinations in their home nation where these exams are a prerequisite for admission to colleges or universities in that country. Candidates who have attended US high schools should submit their ACT or SAT results.

Applications from Transfer Students

  • Applications to start in fall (applications required in spring)
  • Applications to start in spring (applications required in fall)
  • All options for transfer applicants depend on what spaces are available.

Every year UCLA receives more than 4,000 transfer applications. Typically, the transfer candidates most likely to qualify for admission are those with a GPA of 3.500 or an even higher grade-point average.

Transfer candidates are required to submit:

  • Completed Coalition or Common Applications.
  • The $75.00 fee for their application.
  • Official transcript(s) for every institution the applicant has attended.
  • Relevant college reports completed by the dean or registrar's office of previous or current school/college.
  • Academic assessment completed by an employer, professor or academic instructor/advisor.
  • Final GED or transcript from high school.
  • Applicants with less than 24 credits from a college (after graduating from high school) by the time the deadline for submitting the application arrives are required to submit their ACT or SAT scores. This requirement does not apply to applicants who left high school over five years ago. Applicants who have not completed their high school education in the USA do not need to submit standardized test scores.

Credit Transfer

Applicants can transfer credit equaling up to sixty hours of semester time from a 2-year college course or up to eighty hours of semester time from a 4-year college course, or both types of college course may be combined. In the event you undertook a course at a non-AACSB accredited university or college, you cannot transfer more than 60 credits to UCLA. Please refer to the university's website for information on “Residency” requirements.

If you complete a college course with a C grade or higher a credit transfer will be considered by evaluators. Credit transfers will not be considered where a time span of ten years has passed since an applicant undertook coursework for a liberal arts course or five years since they undertook coursework for a science or math course.

Advanced-Level Exams

A student can ask to have up to thirty-two hours' semester time of advanced credit transferred towards an undergraduate program. They may join a university with this advanced credit based on their scores for some specific exams (see the list below) or on the basis of successfully completing certain accredited college courses undertaken before enrolling at UCLA. For this to be considered, the student should submit their test scores or transcripts prior to matriculation and they must also submit official reports of their scores to obtain credit.

At the present time, UCLA considers advanced credit for the exams listed below:

  • Advanced Placements
  • France's Baccalaureate
  • Germany's Abitur
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Switzerland's Federal Maturita Diploma
  • UK's GCE and A-Level Examinations

Evaluations for Advanced Placements

UCLA is known for awarding credit to students who achieve 4 or 5 in test scores. Check out theTransfer Equivalency Databasefor the latest Advanced Placement listing.

Credit given:4 to 10hours of semester time or for 2 courses per exam (see the Advanced Placement listing).

France's Baccalaureate

UCLA is accustomed to awarding credit for any A-E series in the case of the Baccalaureate de l'Enseignement du Second Degré where the student obtains a coefficient of at least4or better and a “10” score or above on a scale of 20 points.

Germany's Abitur

UCLA is accustomed to awarding credit for intense Abitur-level subjects where students achieve scores equal to 7 or better on a scale of 15 points and for scores of 4 or better on a scale of 6 points but only in the case of subjects where a written exam is required.

International Baccalaureate

Generally, UCLA will consider awarding credit to students who achieve scores equality 5, 6, or 7 in courses at the higher level only. Refer to our guide to the IB for the latest listing.

Switzerland's Federal Maturita Diploma

UCLA is accustomed to awarding credit to students who achieve final scores of 4 or better on a scale of 6 points or scores of 6 or better on a scale of 10 points.

UK GCE and A-Level Examinations

UCLA is accustomed to awarding credit for UK A-level courses where students achieve C grades or higher in their final exam.

More Useful Information for Aspiring International Students

Applications from international students are usually reviewed on the basis of the applicant’s performance in their specific academic settings. Applicants coming from schools outside the USA do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores. However, international applicants attending US high schools do need to include test or exam scores. Likewise, students from the USA’s Department of Defense School need to submit their ACT or SAT scores.

With a view to maintaining lawful status while in the US, overseas students are reminded to familiarize themselves of the conditions governing their non-immigrant visas. A number of USA federal regulations and requirements such as SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) make this particularly important for those students in the “J” and “F” categories (exchange visitors and students respectively) to regularly check with an international advisor at the university’s Global Services Center before they act in any way that may affect their academic endeavors and general status whilst in the US.

J-1 and F-1 students are required to register themselves as full-time university students (minimum credits of 12) and in a timely manner (within the time stipulated for registering) and during every term of the standard academic year. Additionally, overseas students should not start, resume or extend any form of work unless they first obtain the right authorization from the university’s Global Services Center. The center needs to approve in advance any unusual events or exceptions to the registration conditions in full accordance with the appropriate federal rules.

For J-1 and F-1 students to begin their undergraduate studies in the US, it is necessary for them to obtain an eligibility certificate from the Global Services Center.  The application documents for these certificates are called Form DS-2019 Form I-20 respectively (for J-1 and F-1 students). Also, international students are required to complete an electronic form on the Global Services Center system and collaborate with the admissions office to ensure they successfully meet the requirements of the relevant forms. Once the admissions office has approved the forms, they send a request for the students’ DS-2019 and I-20’s to the Global Services Center from where the appropriate eligibility certificates will be generated after ten working days. The student is then able to apply for a J-1 or F-1 visa stamp at an overseas US consulate and, if granted, they will be able to enter the US but no sooner than thirty (30) days before their program is due to start.

Application Requirements for Non-Native English-Speaking Students

There is a requirement for students who do not speak English as their first language, irrespective of what country they are citizens of or resident in) to show official proof they have taken one of the following English language tests: IELTS, TOEFL or PTE (the International English Language Testing System, Test of English as a Foreign Language, and the Pearson Test of English respectively). To be admitted, candidates must show themselves capable of achieving the minimum scores required to pass one of these tests.

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Selecting a College, a Degree Program, and Program Length

When applying to UCLA, candidates tend to target one of the university’s exploratory programs or one of its undergraduate colleges.

Students are encouraged to choose a degree program that matches their present academic aspirations and interests; nevertheless, the university’s exploratory programs are a way of exploring various programs and disciplines. UCLA offers a number of advisory programs for the benefit of students with an interest in pre-professional graduate programs such as dentistry, law, medicine and veterinary studies. These programs are not available to transfer applicants.

The curriculum at UCLA is intense and broad-ranging with great flexibility, having an academic calendar that enables students to take maximum advantage of different experiential learning initiatives such as a co-op program, study opportunities abroad, and research. Students are allowed to guide their own particular paths, carving out unique courses that decide when they will obtain their degrees. Students are allowed to create four or five-year programs and acquire up to a year-and-a-half of full-on experiential learning. Freshmen have the option to take part in a summer program during their first year whereby they avail of unique and exciting courses or regular class attendance throughout the May and June semester. Participation enables them to enjoy the university’s renowned flexibility and to start the next year with an extra half-term already completed. A lot of colleges and universities have programs called PlusOne’s where students can link their undergraduate coursework to graduate programs. Check out the university’s curricula to learn more.

Requirements for Admission to the College of Arts, Media and Design

Guidance for Submitting Portfolios

Students should submit their portfolios electronically through SlideRoom. Hard copies of portfolios are not accepted and will not be seen or reviewed.

Studio Art

Candidates for the university’s studio art degree program, which is run jointly with two other colleges, should submit their portfolios via the electronic SlideRoom system. Portfolios should be comprised of at least 15 separate images of original work. This work can be presented in various media and there is no specific style required or no restriction on subject matter. Instead, applicants should include whatever work best showcases their own unique creativity, style, and love of innovation. Feel free to refer to the department’s web page for more details.

Music Technology and Composition

From the spring of year 2018, applicants for the music technology and composition program are not required to submit portfolios.

Music Performance

After enrollment, regardless of the focus of their studies, music students can audition to minor in performance. This is a very competitive program so applicants need to be evaluated by the university’s Music Department. Typically, auditions take place during first semesters. Please check the UCLA website for more information about auditions and the program’s requirements.

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