College Intel

University of California, Los Angeles Admissions

Royce Hall is featured under a blue sky at the University of California, Los Angeles.
UCLA received more applications to its Class of 2027 than any university in America (photo credit: Alton).

No university in Southern California is more identified with the beachy, easygoing SoCal lifestyle than the University of California, Los Angeles. But don’t underestimate this R1 research university—it is also one of the most prestigious public universities in the United States. Located in the gorgeous Westwood neighborhood of the nation’s second largest metropolitan region, UCLA has garnered an impeccable reputation as a leading institution for the study of all major fields, especially within the fine arts, psychology, humanities, and medicine departments, which are all nationally ranked.

Twelve UCLA Faculty members, including philosopher Bertrand Russell and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, have been honored with Nobel Prizes, while Grammy Award winner Sara Bereilles, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, actor James Franco, and, as fans of the movie-turned-musical will be able to tell you, fictitious lawyer Elle Woods are all alumni Bruins. 

Undergraduates enroll at eight schools at the university: the College of Letters and Science, the School of the Arts and Architecture, the School of Education & Information Studies, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Herb Alpert School of Music, the School of Theater, Film and Television, the School of Nursing, and the Luskin School of Public Affairs. The general education requirements that prevail across all schools call for coursework in “Literary and Cultural Analysis,” “Philosophical and Linguistic Analysis,” “Visual and Performance Arts Analysis and Practice,” “Historical Analysis,” “Social Analysis,” “Life Sciences,” and “Physical Sciences.”

UCLA was originally founded in 1881 as the southern branch of the California State Normal School (now San José State University). In 1919, the school transformed into the Southern Branch of the University of California after overcoming pushback from snobbish UC Berkeley affiliates who wanted to maintain their status as the only UC campus. By the 1950s, UCLA had blossomed into a fully-fledged university with a reputation for student activism (even drawing the scrutiny of anti-communist McCarthyists!). At the same time, the athletics program grew in prestige, securing national championships in football, track, tennis, and volleyball. As the 20th century progressed, UCLA expanded its research apparatus and made significant advances in the fields of medicine, chemistry, and internet software. 

With $1.32 billion in annual research funding and world-renowned academic rigor, the UCLA of today is a far cry from the small infant school of just one century ago. 32,000 undergraduates and 14,000 postgraduates walk its Romanesque Revival-style campus, and film crews are constantly capitalizing on the campus’ beauty due to its proximity to the heart of Hollywood. 

When they’re not hard at work, UCLA students are volunteering their time in one of the extensive community service programs, attending meetings for any number of performance, media, pre-professional, or affinity groups, or simply exploring all of the hustle and bustle that the City of Angels has to offer. With a healthy 13% of students participating in Greek life, and a bevy of student traditions including musical festivals, an annual “hack”-athon, a fundraising dance marathon, and a spirited rivalry with USC that fuels competition and camaraderie, undergraduates at UCLA are never at a loss for activity.

It’s not a shocker that UCLA has recently accumulated the highest application pool of any American university, with 145,904 applicants to the Class of 2027. 12,779 students were admitted, producing an 8.8% acceptance rate that mimics that of an Ivy League school. You might be daunted in the face of this gargantuan admissions process. Fortunately, the Undergraduate Admission office at UCLA lists several important factors they find in a competitive candidate: “strong academic performance in a rigorous high school program,” “special talents, awards or accomplishments,” and “meaningful insights about yourself when answering the personal insight questions” (supplemental essay questions). With the help of Ivy Coach, demonstrating your accordance with these criteria will give you the best shot of becoming a Bruin!


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