Back to posts

University of California Schools

College Admissions

If you’re looking to go to school in California, checking out UC schools is one of your best options! Schools in the University of California system are some of the best in the country. Keep reading to learn more about the UC Schools, their rankings, and how you can boost your chances of getting into one of them!

Who are the UC Schools?

UC Schools is a network of large, public research universities in California. Nine of them offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. If UC San Francisco is on your list of schools to apply to, you might want to hit the pause button for a second and consider what degree you need. This is because UC San Francisco is a graduate and professional school only. So if you’re looking for an undergraduate degree, UC San Francisco is not the school for you. Here’s a list of the UC schools you should look into:

  •    UC Berkeley
  •    UC Davis
  •    UC Irvine
  •    UC Merced
  •    UC Riverside
  •    UC San Diego
  •    UC Santa Barbara
  •    UC Santa Cruz
  •    UCLA

Ranking the UC Schools

Now that you know the schools that you can apply to, let’s learn more about them and their rankings so you can begin preparing your applications! Below, I’ve complied information from the nine UC schools above. One thing I need to mention is that UC Merced is the smallest of the schools we’ll be talking about. That’s because UC Merced opened in 2005, making it the newest addition to the UC schools network.

Here are the UC schools you can apply to, their test scores, and acceptance rates:

School Undergraduates Middle 50% SAT Score (old SAT) Middle 50% SAT Score (new SAT) Middle 50% ACT Score Acceptance Rate
UC Berkeley 29,310 1940-2300 1380-1560 30-34 17.50%
UC Davis 29,557 1705-2130 1220-1480 26-32 42.30%
UC Irvine 27,331 1670-2100 1200-1460 25-32 40.70%
UC Merced 6,815 1370-1780 1010-1270 19-27 73.70%
UC Riverside 19,799 1490-1915 1090-1360 22-29 66.20%
UC San Diego 26,590 1820-2220 1300-1520 28-33 35.90%
UC Santa Barbara 20,607 1760-2180 1260-1500 27-33 35.90%
UC Santa Cruz 15,742 1630-2020 1170-1420 25-31 58.40%
UCLA 30,873 1880-2270 1340-1540 29-34 18.00%

You can use these numbers to determine which UC schools you can be easily accepted into and the ones where getting in will be a little more challenging.

Improve Your Chances of Getting into the UC Schools

Because the UC schools have such a wide range for you to get into, tailoring your academic career to them can be a little tricky. UC Berkeley and UCLA are comparable with Georgetown. UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCSB, and UCSD are more in line with Boston University. UC Santa Cruz and UC Riverside are similar to Florida State. UC Merced is in a class of its own in terms of comparable colleges and is focused on underrepresented minorities.

Get a College Consultant

When you’re applying to colleges, I cannot stress enough how important working with a college consultant is to your success. Basically, a college consultant helps you figure out how to present yourself in a way that is most appealing to the colleges you’re applying to. Depending on when you start working with them, this can be in terms of your academics to how you write your personal statements. Their goal is to make your application stand out to the admissions committee.

Use Your Brain

Regardless of which of the UC schools you’re applying to, you’ll need to show them you’re capable of mastering college-level material. You can do this by pursuing four years of your major academic areas with as many AP and IB classes as you can handle. You should also be working with a tutor to help you earn the best grades possible. Your GPA matters, especially when you’re taking AP and IB courses. Partnering with a tutor means you’re preparing yourself for success.

Earn High Scores on the ACT or SAT

Depending on which of the UC schools you’re applying to, their standardized test scores range from achievable to challenging. Use the ranges I provided as your guide. You want your scores to fall in between those two numbers, but remember: the higher the better. Here are five proven ways you can increase your ACT or SAT scores:

  •    Use your scores from the Pre-ACT and PSAT to determine which test to focus on.
  •    Look at your scores and the ranges for your UC college of choice. Are you close? Way below? Somewhere in the middle?
  •    Practice, practice some more, and keep on practicing. You don’t have to re-take the Pre-ACT or PSAT, but you should use tests from online or in test prep books.
  •    Find a coach with a high score who can help you prepare for the official ACT or SAT. Work with them as much as you can, ask questions, learn from them.
  •    Not happy with your scores? Re-take them. You can safely submit between four and six tests without jeopardizing your chances.

Flaunt Your Passions

Unless you're interested in adding more anxiety and depression to your life, I don’t recommend spending all of your time studying. You need a break to recharge and your extra-curriculars show off your personality, demonstrate that you’re actively making a difference in the world around you, and help you develop your leadership muscles. So whether you’re involved with a club or two at school, holding down a part-time job, or volunteering in your community, a break from studying not only keeps you from burning out, but it makes your college applications look even better.

Widely regarded as some of the best public universities in the country, the UC schools system provides high quality education to their students. With nine schools to choose from and a wide range of academic expectations, you can easily find a University of California school to fit your needs.

Are you thinking about going to one of the UC schools? Which ones are you going to apply to? Comment below and let us know!

Get The Most Important College Admissions Data In The Last 12 Months Delivered Straight To Your Inbox Now.