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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

School Spotlight: UCLA

Updated: May 8, 2023

Through a College Conversation organized through the IECA and open to only IECA members, I was able to hear from Gary Clark, Jr., the Director of Undergraduate Admissions at UCLA. He shared some highlights about campus as well as some information about changes to the admissions process for Fall 2021. Everything you need to know about applying to the UC system (one application for nine schools) can be found here.

Here are your Five "Fun" Facts about UCLA:

1) The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published the 2020-2021 Almanac, chock full of data about faculty, students, administration, outcomes, finances and states. UCLA was categorized as the public doctoral institution with the highest admissions selectivity based on the 2018-2019 data collected. Out of 113,754 applicants, 15,970 (14%) were admitted. Rankings included 207 public institutions at the doctoral level, the highest Carnegie Classification. UCLA is THE MOST APPLIED-TO university in the nation.

Keep in mind that the University of California system guarantees that the top 9% of California high school students get a spot at one of their campuses and they ensure that no more than 18% of a class is comprised of out-of-state and international students. UC also has a commitment to enrolling 1 transfer student for every 2 new freshmen each year, 94% of whom come from CA community colleges. There is something called the Compare Favorably standard that ensures that the quality of admitted students outside the state of CA has to be as good or better than the students admitted from within the state.

So, it is VERY difficult to get a spot at a UC school, particularly this one, if you are not a California resident.

2) UCLA has the largest enrollment of the UC campuses (over 45,000 total students, of which 31,500+ are undergrads) but the smallest footprint. It sits on 419 acres at the base of the Santa Monica mountains and is 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean. In non-COVID times, UCLA has a 3 year housing guarantee for new freshmen.

3) Students who are interested in applying to the College of Letters and Science do not get admitted by major, so interest in a particular major has no impact on the likelihood of admission. The other colleges do admit by major and, in some cases, review of portfolio and/or audition. If the faculty do not approve the admission into the major, the students will not be admitted to the university by the admissions office into another major. Specific majors like nursing or film are even more highly selective, so students need to understand this before they select how to apply to the school.

4) Inventor. James Beard-winning author. Nobel Laureate. Academy Award Winner. Poet Laureate. Diplomat. Mayor. Actor. Wimbledon Champion. NFL Super Bowl Quarterback. Olympic Medalist. Astronaut. What do all of these have in common? They describe influential alumni of UCLA.

5) At its heart, UCLA is a comprehensive research university, so students who want to enroll there should be interested in engaging in research. Each year since 2010, UCLA has received an average of one billion dollars to fund research projects. UCLA research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Endowment of the Humanities and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, in additional to other state and private organizations. Check out student research at UCLA.

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