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Students at the beach

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.

How you could become the next admitted freshman at UCI.

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 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"), 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.

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.

GPA Requirement

  • You must receive a 3.0 GPA (3.4 for non-California residents) or higher in the 15 required “a-g” subject courses, with no grade lower than a C

"A-G" Requirements

COVID-19 Update: UC has temporarily suspended the letter grade requirement for A-G courses completed in winter, spring, and summer 2020 for all students. A-G courses completed in winter, spring, and summer 2020 with Pass (P) or Credit (CR) grades will satisfy appropriate 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 — 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 science (three years recommended) — Must include two years of laboratory science, however additional years can include a range of disciplines such as: applied science, engineering, computer science, and other integrated science courses.
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 disciplines: dance, drama/theater, music, visual art, or interdisciplinary arts
G. One year of college-preparatory electives

For "A-G" requirement details, visit

Non-California residents: There is no pre-approved course list for schools outside of California. Learn more about requirements for out-of-state applicants here.

Update on Standardized Testing

UCI will not be using SAT/ACT and SAT Subject Exams for comprehensive review, selection, and scholarships. However, SAT/ACT and SAT Subject Exams can be used for class placement or towards graduation requirements.

Other Considerations

The following faculty-approved selection criteria are taken into consideration:

  • Academic grade point average in all completed "A-G" courses, including additional points for completed UC-certified honors courses
  • Number of, content of and performance in academic courses beyond the minimum "A-G" requirements
  • Number of and performance in UC-approved honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate Higher Level and transferable college courses
  • Identification by UC as being ranked in the top 9 percent of your high school class at the end of your junior year (Eligible in the Local Context, or ELC)
  • 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 the educational opportunities available at your high school
  • Outstanding performance in one or more academic subject areas
  • Outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study
  • Recent, marked improvement in academic performance as demonstrated by academic GPA and the quality of coursework completed or in progress
  • Special talents, achievements, and awards in a particular field, such as visual and performing arts, communication or athletic endeavors; special skills, such as demonstrated written and oral proficiency in other languages; special interests, such as intensive study and exploration of other cultures; experiences that demonstrate unusual promise for leadership, such as significant community service or significant participation in student government; or other significant experiences or achievements that demonstrate your promise for contributing to the intellectual vitality of the campus
  • Completion of special projects undertaken in the context of the high school curriculum or in conjunction with special school events, projects or programs
  • Academic accomplishments in light of your experiences and special circumstances, including but not limited to: 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

Personal Insight Questions

Your personal insight questions should be exactly that – personal. This is your opportunity to tell us about yourself, what matters to you, 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.

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 24 or higher for the ACT English Language Arts (ELA)
  • Score 31 or higher on Writing and Language in the SAT 
  • Score 3, 4 or 5 on the AP examination in English Language and Composition, or English Literature and Composition
  • Score 6 or 7 on the IB Standard Level examination in English (Language A only) 
  • Score 5, 6 or 7 on the IB Higher Level examination in English (Language A only) 
  • Score 6.5 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Score 6.5 or higher on the IELTS Indicator (Fall 2021 only)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination:
    • Internet-based test (iBT): Minimum score of 80 or better
    • iBT Home Edition: Minimum score of 80 or better (Fall 2021 only)
    • Paper-delivered test: Minimum score of 60 or better
  • Duolingo English Test (DET): Minimum score of 115 (Fall 2021 and 2022 applicants)

Freshman Admission FAQs

  • Pass (P) or Credit (CR) grades will meet A-G subject requirements but will not be calculated in the GPA. UC will continue to calculate the GPA for admission purposes using all A-G courses passed with letter grades in grades 10 and 11, including summer terms following grades 9, 10 and 11. Extra points in honors-level coursework will continue to be capped at 8 semesters of honors points in A-G courses completed with letter grades of A, B and C in grades 10 and 11.
  • Half of UCI’s students complete their requirements and graduate in four years or less.

  • The percentage of courses with fewer than 30 students is 68%, and 77% with fewer than 50 students. The student/faculty ratio is approximately 18:1. 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.

  • 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.

Why UCI?

Center yourself in serenity

Aldrich Park, which was modeled after Central Park in NYC, offers a tranquil getaway for students in the center of campus with more than 10,000 trees.

Step into the park