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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 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.

COVID-19 Updates: For commonly asked questions and more detailed information regarding changes to admission requirements for fall 2021, visit our COVID-19 FAQ page here.

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

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 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 disciplines: dance, drama/theater, music, visual art, or interdisciplinary arts
G. One year of college-preparatory electives

For "a-g" requirement details, visit

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.

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:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination:
    • Internet-based test (IBT): score 80 or higher
    • Paper-based test (completed prior to Oct 2017): score 550 or higher
    • Revised paper-delivered test (completed Oct 2017 or later): score 60 or higher
  • 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 (Literature, or Language and Literature)
  • Score 6 or 7 on the IB Standard Level examination in English (Literature, or Language and Literature)
  • 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 Writing section of the SAT Reasoning test OR score 31 or higher on Writing and Language in the SAT with Essay
  • Freshman applicants may complete one UC-E approved English composition course

Freshman Admission FAQs

  • 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.

  • The University recognizes the challenges that students are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, in response, the UC system is suspending the standardized test requirement for all freshman applicants until fall 2024.

    Students are not precluded from taking standardized tests (SAT or ACT) and sending scores if they are able. Doing so can support their statewide UC eligibility, application for certain scholarships, and help them fulfill some University graduation requirements. Students will not be at a disadvantage should they not submit a test score. This modification to the test requirement is not intended as an admissions policy shift but is rather a temporary accommodation driven by the current extraordinary circumstances.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Why UCI?

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