University of California Irvine (UCI) – Admissions and Acceptance Rate

Mar 31, 2022 | Turito Team USA

uci acceptance rate

When it comes to the universities that receive the maximum number of applications, the University of California Irvine ranks 3 in the US. If you are a student who wants to pursue higher studies at UCI, you need to know the UCI acceptance rate, UCI transfer acceptance rate, and UCI admission requirements.

This article provides detailed information about the UCI acceptance rate in 2021 and tips to improve your chances of success. First, let’s have a quick overview of the university.

Overview of University Of California Irvine 

The University of California Irvine (UCI) is one of the most prestigious universities that receive more than 90,000 applications every year. It is a public institution established in 1965. The university has a suburban setting, spread across 1,475 acres.

As per the 2022 ranking for the Best Colleges in National Universities, the University of California Irvine is ranked #36. UCI is known for its specialization in cancer and neuroscience studies. The most popular colleges of UCI that are known for their graduate programs include the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Paul Merage School of Business.

The university offers more than 500 student organizations, including around 50 fraternities and sororities. The university provides an excellent view to students as the Pacific Ocean is only 5 miles from the campus. The university offers on-campus residential accommodations to students. Although 1st-year students don’t need to live on-campus, two-thirds of students choose to live on campus.

University of California Irvine ranking

Universities are ranked as per their performance for a set of broadly accepted indicators of excellence. In the list of National Universities, UCI stands at the 36th position.

The following table presents a broader view of the university’s ranking according to different parameters:

Parameter  Ranking 
Top performer in social mobility 2
Top public school  9
Best college for veterans 15
Best undergraduate teaching 48
Best undergraduate engineering program 42
Best innovative school 40
Best value school 182

What is the UCI acceptance rate

Students who apply for admission to the University of California Irvine need a strong application to secure a seat in their preferred course. In 2021 around 107,957 first-year candidates applied for admission and selected 31,269 to the university. These figures suggest that the UCI acceptance rate in 2021 is 28.96%. 

With a low acceptance rate, the University of California Irvine is ranked #12 among the most competitive universities in California. Academically, UCI Admission requirements are exceptionally high. Applicants must meet all the GPA, ACT, and SAT scores requirements to secure a seat in the school.

The following table compares the UCI acceptance rate from 2021 to 2020  UCI acceptance rate:

Class  Total applications Accepted  UCI acceptance rate


31,269 28.96%


26,797 26.6%

UCI transfer acceptance rate

31.0% of the total student body at UCI are transfer students. In 2020 alone, the university received 21,470 transfer applications. Of these applications, 8924 students were selected for admission. These figures suggest that the UCI transfer acceptance rate is 41.56%.

The UCI transfer acceptance rate makes the university competitive. Moreover, applicants require a 2.4 college GPA on a scale of 4.33 points to increase their chances of UCI transfer acceptance rate. In addition to the college GPA, the university also asks for a 3.0 high school GPA.

What are the UCI requirements for transfer applicants?

Applicants need to submit several UCI admission requirements for transfer programs. The crucial information you need to submit to increase your UCI acceptance rate is listed below:

  • Essay
  • College transcript
  • College GPA
  • Personal statement

In addition to these, UCI admission rates for transfer students also depend on applicants’ completion of a minimum number of credits. Transfer applicants with credit points above 45 have better UCI admission rates.

UCI requirements for high school GPA

Applicants need exceptional grades to improve their UCI admission rate. Although applicants don’t need a minimum GPA to apply for admissions, those who have low grades get immediately rejected by the admission committee.

From the available data, it is estimated that the average GPA for a freshman is around 3.92 on a scale of 4. It suggests that according to UCI admission requirements of GPA, you need to be amongst the A+ students in high school. The following table demonstrates the UCI acceptance rate according to the high school GPA of applicants.

GPA UCI admission rate Competitiveness 
3.75+ 79% Good
3.50-3.75 19% Reach 
3.25-3.50 1% Reach 
3.00-3.25 1% Reach 
2.75-3.00 N/A Low

UCI requirements for ACT scores

The University of California Irvine considers an applicant’s ACT scores a crucial factor for offering admission. Around 41% of the applicants submitted their ACT scores to UCI admission applications.

The university accepts only those applicants who have ACT scores above 33. This figure makes the UCI admission procedure extremely competitive. Applicants with an ACT score below 30 have a hard chance of getting into the university. However, in certain situations, the university accepts students who have an ACT composite score as low as 22.

Applicants with an ACT score of 33 or above are given priority when granting admission offers. Therefore, if you want to improve your chances of admission to UCI, it would be better to have your ACT scores above 33.

The following table demonstrates the ACT score and its competitiveness for UCI :

ACT score UCI admission rate Competitiveness 
33+ 44% and above Good 
29-33 30-44% Above Average
26-29 21-30% Below Average
23-26 15-21% Reach
Below 23 Below 15% Low

UCI requirements for SAT scores

Applicants’ SAT scores are another crucial factor for admission to the University of California. The university typically prefers applicants in the top 20 percent of the SAT test-takers. Therefore, to fulfill the UCI requirements for SAT scores, applicants need to have at least a 1430 score on a scale of 1600.

Applicants with an SAT score below 1330 have a hard chance of getting an admission offer. However, in certain cases, the university accepts students who have SAT scores as low as 1130. The UCI ranks 12 in California for considering the highest SAT score while offering admission. 

The following table demonstrates the UCI acceptance rate according to the SAT scores:

SAT score Acceptance Rate Competitiveness 
1430+ 42%, and above Good 
1330-1430 30-42% Above Average
1230-1330 20-30% Below Average
1130-1230 13-20% Reach
Below 1130 Below 13% Low

What are UCI admission requirements

As per the UCI acceptance rate 2021, it can be said that the UCI admission requirements are based on the following factors:

  • Academic GPA
  • Standardized test scores for SAT and ACT
  • Course rigor and Class rank in high school
  • Supplemental essay
  • Applicant’s involvement in extracurricular activities
  • Letters of recommendations

Some other factors include:

  • Talent or ability of the applicant
  • Work experience
  • Personal qualities or character of the applicant
  • Volunteer work done by the applicant

What does UCI look for in an applicant?

The University of California clearly states what it looks for in applicants. The following are the key factors chat the university considers while offering admission to applicants:

  • Class rigor: The admission officers of UCI look for the actual classes taken by applicants and the level of challenge of those classes. The minimum requirements of these classes are listed in the following table:
Course Duration
English 4 years
Laboratory Science 2 years
Visual and performing arts 1 year
college-preparatory elective 1 year
Foreign language 2 years
History  2 years
Mathematics 3 years

UCI also wants applicants to take honors, IB, or AP courses because they are more challenging for students. If your high school offers you these courses, you must consider taking them because they will help earn you a seat at UCI. 

  • Grades: Merely taking difficult courses won’t help you in the UCI admission procedure. You also need to score well in all the courses. Your overall GPA is another crucial factor considered by UCI. Applicants need to have an above-average UCI GPA to convince the admission authorities about their competence and involvement in courses.
  • Extracurricular activities: Your involvement in extracurricular activities demonstrates your passion and leadership qualities. This is a crucial factor considered by UCI during the admission procedure. 

UCI looks for the following qualities through the applicant’s extracurricular involvement :

Achievements, special talents, and awards 
Applicant’s leadership experience
Notable achievements or experiences of the applicant that can be valuable to the campus
  • Personal statement/essay: The university wants to know you above your grades and scores. Therefore, they include essays in the application process. UCI primarily wants to know you as a person, why you want to join the university, your future goals, and how you can relate your future goals to the course you choose.


We hope you know all about the admission requirements, acceptance rate, and how you can improve your chances of selection to UCI. Although UCI acceptance rate 2021 makes the university highly competitive, you can secure a seat at UCI with proper course work and efficient application.

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