First Year Students | Office of Undergraduate Admissions | UCI (2024)

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The University of California system considers you a first-year 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 first-year applicant.

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.

COVID-19: UC 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

Non-California residents: There is no pre-approved course list for schools outside of California, however, out-of-state applicants should complete a variety of challenging coursework throughout high school.Referring to the A-G course list site and the 15 college-preparatory course categories can provide guidance on the types of courses that have been UC-approved. Learn more here.

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UCI will not consider SAT or ACT scores for admission or scholarship purposes. After enrollment, exams may be used for class placement or some graduation requirements.

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 circ*mstances, 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 circ*mstances, refugee status or veteran status
  • Location of your secondary school and residence

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:

First-year 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.

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You must provide evidence of English proficiency to be successful in university studies at UCI.

If you've completed all or some high school or secondary school at an institution where English wasnotthe language of instruction, you will be required to demonstrate English proficiency if you have hadless than 3 yearsof instruction in English by time of graduation.

You can demonstrate proficiency by meeting any of the following exam benchmarks:

  • 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 2022 only)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)* examination:
    • Internet-based test (iBT)or iBT Home Edition: Minimum score of 80 or better
    • Paper-delivered test: Minimum score of 60 or better
  • Duolingo English Test (DET): Minimum score of 115

*Note: UC does not accept MyBest TOEFL; only the highest composite score from a single sitting is allowed.

Students who earn scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) examinations will receive credit toward graduation at UCI. Successfully completing the International Baccalaureate (IB) Exam can also result in credit allowed toward a UCI degree.

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First Year Students | Office of Undergraduate Admissions | UCI (2024)


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