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UCI Students

We consider an applicant's achievements, potential, and uniqueness as a person.

Discover what UCI is looking for.

Find out about our comprehensive review process and prove your English proficiency as an international student.

Having good grades and high college entrance exam scores matter. But they’re not the only things we take into consideration when reviewing your application.

Students admitted to UCI excel in their college preparatory courses, perform very well on the SAT or ACT, and will graduate in the upper tenth of their high school senior class. These scholarly achievements are hallmark traits of most Anteaters.

But remember, there’s more to a UCI student than a great academic record. We also value individuality. Tell us why your accomplishments make you great Anteater material. We want to know your story. If you believe you have zot it takes to become our next admitted student, apply to UCI!

Learn about UCI’s selection criteria for freshman admission.

Everything you need to know to be considered for admission to UCI.

UCI uses a comprehensive review process. Freshman applications are reviewed for completion of required college-preparatory coursework ("a-g"), required tests, demonstrated academic achievements, activities, talents, and skills — all in the context of your circumstances and experiences. We consider all information provided in your application, including your answers to the personal insight questions.

GPA Requirement

  • If you are a California resident, you must receive a 3.0 GPA or higher in the required “a-g” subjects during grades 10 and 11
  • If you are a non-California resident, you must have a minimum 3.4 GPA in the required "a-g" subjects; all other requirements for admission are the same as for California residents

"A-G" Requirements

The “a-g” requirements, also called Academic Subject Requirements, represent the minimum academic preparation you must meet to be eligible for admission to the University of California.

A. Two years of history/social science — One year of world or European history, cultures and geography, and one year of U.S. history or one half-year of U.S. history and one half-year of American government or civics 
B. Four years of English 
C. Three years of mathematics (four years recommended) — Must include algebra, geometry, and advanced algebra 
D. Two years of laboratory science (three years recommended) — Must include two of these three subjects: biology, chemistry, and physics 
E. Two years of a language other than English (three years recommended) — The second year or higher of the same language must be completed to fulfill this requirement 
F. One year of visual and performing arts — A yearlong course chosen from the following: dance, drama/theater, music, visual art, or interdisciplinary arts
G. One year of college preparatory electives

For "a-g" requirement details, visit

Exams Requirement

You must submit college admission test scores from the SAT or the ACT with Writing. Submission of SAT Subject Test scores is not required, but may add positively to the review of your application. For exam requirement details, visit

Other Considerations

The following faculty-approved criteria are also taken into account when reviewing your application.

  • Number of, content of, and performance in academic courses completed beyond the university’s minimum eligibility requirements
  • Number of and performance in honors and AP courses
  • Being identified as “eligible in the local context” by ranking in the top nine percent of your high school class, as determined by the university’s academic criteria
  • Quality of your senior year program, as measured by the type and number of academic courses in progress or planned
  • Quality of academic performance relative to educational opportunities available at your school
  • Outstanding performance in one or more academic subject areas
  • Outstanding work on one or more special projects in any academic field
  • Recent marked improvement in academic performance
  • Special talents, achievements, and awards in a particular field, or experiences that demonstrate unusual promise for leadership or ability to contribute to the intellectual vitality of the campus
  • Completion of special projects that offer significant evidence of your special effort and determination or that may indicate special suitability to an academic program
  • Academic accomplishments in light of your experiences and circumstances, such as disabilities, low family income, first generation to attend college, need to work, disadvantaged social or educational environment, difficult personal and family situations or circumstances, refugee status or veteran status
  • Location of your secondary school and residence, to provide for geographic diversity in the student population and to account for the wide variety of educational environments existing in California

Personal Insight Questions

Your personal insight questions should be exactly that – personal. This is your opportunity to tell us about yourself, your hopes, ambitions, life experiences, and inspirations. Key points about the personal insight questions include:

  • Freshman applicants choose four out of eight questions to answer.
  • Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.

We encourage you to take your time. Be open, be reflective, and be honest. Your personal insight questions provide context for the rest of your application.

Learn more about the personal insight questions.

Definition of Freshman Applicant

The University of California system considers you a freshman applicant if you are still in high school or have graduated from high school but have not enrolled in a regular session at any college or university. If you attend a summer session immediately after graduating from high school, you are still considered a freshman applicant.

Meet English proficiency requirements for success.

You must provide evidence of English proficiency to be successful in university studies at UCI.

If your secondary/high school was completed in a country where English was not the language of instruction, or if you have less than three years of instruction in English in the U.S., you are required to demonstrate English proficiency.

Various examinations and scores may be used to demonstrate proficiency in English:

  • Score 80 or higher on the Internet-based version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or score 550 or higher on its paper-based version
  • Score 3, 4, or 5 on the AP examination in English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition
  • Score 5, 6, or 7 on the IB Higher Level Examination in English (Language A)
  • Score 6 or higher on the IB Standard Level Examination in English (Language A)
  • Score 6.5 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Score 24 or higher on the ACT combined English/Writing or English Language Arts (ELA)
  • Score 560 or higher on the old SAT, Writing section, OR score 31 or higher on the SAT Writing and Language Test of the new SAT with Essay

Complete one UC transferable English Composition course (not ESL) taken at a regionally accredited U.S. college/university with a grade of C or better.

Freshman Admission FAQs

  • Half of UCI’s students complete their requirements and graduate in four years or less.

  • The average class size is 31 students. The number of courses with fewer than 30 students is 71%, and 79% with fewer than 50 students. The student/faculty ratio is approximately 19:1. In general, professors teach the lecture section of your class two to three times a week and teaching assistants augment the lecture with a discussion once a week.

  • All students applying for freshman admission must submit one of the following college admissions test scores:

    • SAT or SAT with Writing*
    • ACT with Writing

    SAT Subject Test scores are no longer required. However, submission of SAT Subject Test scores may add positively to your application’s review.

    *See SAT requirement details at

  • Transferable courses taken at a community college are awarded extra grade points in the admission process, just as Advanced Placement and certified honors courses are. However, the university limits the number of honors-level courses you can accrue to eight semesters. In addition to the extra grade points earned, units from transferable community college courses are applied toward your UCI degree.

  • If you do not have a high school diploma, the university will accept the GED certificate in place of a diploma. However, you must still meet the Subject, Scholarship, and Examination requirements. UCI also accepts California Certificate of Proficiency.

  • If you earned scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the College Board Advanced Placement Examinations, you will receive credit toward graduation at UCI. The unit and subject credit allowed toward degree requirements assigned to each test are shown on the AP Exam Credit chart.

  • Freshman applicants entering UCI must submit official test scores to UCI for the following tests:

    1. the ACT With Writing, OR
    2. the SAT* (critical reading, mathematics, and writing)

    SAT Subject Test scores are no longer required. However, submission of SAT Subject Test scores may add positively to the review of a student's application.

    * The critical reading, mathematics, and writing scores on the SAT must be from the same sitting. Students who take the ACT must report their scores on each section of the test as well as their composite score.

    IMPORTANT: See the UCI general catalog and for additional information

    To ensure that UCI receives your test result information on time, so that your application does not have a "hold" placed on it, or your admission offer withdrawn, due to nonreceipt of the results, please review the items below, which describe what you can do to help assure an on-time receipt:

    • Did you use the same name on both your undergraduate application and on all of your tests? Or, did you use another form of your name, or a nickname? If the latter, immediately notify UCI of the additional names used.
    • When reviewing your test scores(s), make sure there are no spelling errors in your name on the score report(s). If you find a misspelling, advise UCI of the precise misspelling.
    • Do your test score report(s) show your correct Social Security Number and birth date? If not, let UCI know what discrepancies you find in those data points. Also, let UCI know if either the Social Security Number or your birth date is missing from your score report(s).
    • If you have a SAT II Subject Test report, check to see if it has a pound sign ("#") placed before the names of the exams that you took. If you find a "#," it means that you need to release your score report to UCI. To do that, call (866) 756-7346 and ask them to release the score(s).
    • If you took test(s) in two or more separate years, you must state you want the score results for all years to be sent/released to UCI. Otherwise, the testing service will release only one year of results. UCI considers the highest scores from a single administration.

    Also note that AP exam scores will not be accepted via high school or college transcripts.

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