Ucla Personal Statement

Freshman Admission - 2017-18

Guide for Freshman Applicants

This page provides admission selection information for freshman applicants. Refer to Applying for Admission for information about how to obtain an application and application filing deadlines.

Each year UCLA admits an extraordinary group of students. We have carefully designed our review process to ensure fairness and expand opportunity. We perform a holistic review of all applicants to UCLA in which all of your achievements, both academic and non-academic, are considered in the context of the opportunities you have had and how fully you have taken advantage of those opportunities. No single attribute or characteristic guarantees admission. Since admission to UCLA is highly selective, it is crucial that freshman applicants present complete pictures of themselves, their educational histories and their personal perspectives by thoroughly and carefully completing the application.

How UCLA Selects Its Freshman Class

We consider the following academic elements:

  • Academic grade point average (GPA), calculated using 10th and 11th grade UC–approved courses only
  • Performance on standardized tests: the ACT Assessment Plus Writing or the SAT
    Note: if you take the new SAT exam (March, 2016 and later) you must complete the essay section for UCLA to recognize the exam.
  • Quality, quantity, and level of course work taken throughout your entire high school program (including the strength of your senior year program), especially course work completed beyond the minimum "a–g" courses to meet the University of California admission requirements
  • The strength of the program taken within the context of the high school you attended
  • A progressively challenging academic program, including the number of and performance in college preparatory, honors, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and transferable college courses; passing scores on AP or IB exams; mastery of academic subjects as demonstrated by high grades and exam results; and presence of summer session/inter-session courses that enhance academic progress.
  • California high school students—Identification by the University of California as ranked in the top 9% of your school and/or ranked in the top 9% or high school graduates statewide
  • Sustained participation in activities that develop academic and intellectual abilities and honors and/or awards in recognition of academic, intellectual, or creative achievement

UCLA Undergraduate Admission reviews all applicants for admission. Freshman applicants to the UCLA College of Letters and Science are reviewed without regard for major. Therefore, no Letters and Science major (including Undeclared) is more or less selective than any other. Representatives from all other schools—the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science; the School of the Arts and Architecture; the Herb Alpert School of Music; the School of Nursing; and the School of Theater, Film and Television—further review their respective applicants and admit students by major. The portfolio/audition is the primary consideration in the review of applicants to the School of the Arts and Architecture; the Herb Alpert School of Music; and the School of Theater, Film and Television. Applicants to the School of Nursing must submit a supplemental application.


The Personal Insight Questions

The personal insight question portion of the application allows you to provide information that will give us more insight about you during the review process. Your answers to the personal insight questions should add clarity, richness, and meaning to the information in the other parts of your application. You should respond to four of the eight questions and share with us the accomplishments, perspectives, experiences, and talents that are important to you. The answers to the questions should reflect your own personal perspectives and should complement, not repeat, the information included elsewhere in your application.

The personal insight questions...

  • Offers us an understanding of you as a unique individual within the context of your family, school, community, and the world
  • Provides us with information that may not be evident in other parts of your application
  • Is a forum for you to explain how factors outside of your school environment have enhanced or impeded your ability to maximize available academic and intellectual opportunities

We use these elements from the application to increase our understanding of you as a whole person. We consider the following:

  • Your likely contribution to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus
  • Your personal background and experience
  • Extensive leadership and initiative in school and/or community organizations and activities
  • Exceptional achievements, such as recognition for special talents or extracurricular activities
  • Employment or personal responsibilities
  • Overcoming life challenges relating to personal or family situations, social or economic difficulties, lack of educational opportunities, or challenges particular to the urban or rural environment, including foster care if relevant
  • How military service has been instrumental in the developing of your educational plans

For Additional Information

Please refer to University of California Admission Requirements for information the subject, test score and scholarship requirements.

Refer to the Applying for Admission for information about how to obtain an application and application filing deadlines.

Refer to Majors and Minors for a complete listing of undergraduate majors.

UCLA is one of the most popular universities in California. In recent years, it has received a record number of applications. If the West Coast calls to you and you like the idea of finding your niche in a large top tier university, UCLA may be the school for you. If you’re still working on your responses to the UC essay prompts, these examples may help. 

One of the most sought-after UC schools, UCLA is a dream school for many Californians. More than 100,000 students applied to UCLA last fall, and the numbers are expected to remain the same for this upcoming application season. For those of you applying this Fall, the regular application filing period is November 1-30. If you’re still working on your UC essays, here are 5 successful examples that might inspire you to write yours: 

ClaireL

UC Los Angeles ‘20

Prompt: Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community, or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

It was my fault. I had chosen this topic for my math exploration, armed with only the feeblest grasp of actual concept. Music, math, and the harmonic series…I sighed. In the time-honored tradition of all students, I had turned to Google for succor. The words on the screen blurred together hazily. “Pythagoras discovered that a string exactly 1/nth its length produces a frequency n times the original frequency…” It just didn’t make sense: what did a bunch of numbers have to do with musical consonance? Read her full UCLA application essay.

Mbshark

UCLA ‘20

 

Prompt: Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community, or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

A bright orange glow reflecting on the water, I love watching the sunrise at the beach. I grew up less than ten minutes away from the Atlantic and my early childhood memories include frequent trips to the beach. Although the beach is a stunning sight, the beach is not always pristine. My family and I regularly remove trash from the beach, including commercial fishing and industrial debris, particularly after storms, sometimes in quantities almost too heavy to carry. Unlock his full UCLA profile read his application!

Cdougherty

UCLA ‘18

 

Prompt: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

Starting in 6th grade, I spent every summer at Jon Lee’s East Beach volleyball camp. Most kids came and went on a weekly basis, but I just stayed. There was nowhere else I would rather have been, than at East Beach playing volleyball with my friends. I loved it so much that I sought out faster improvement, committing to more formal training with an AVP professional player. View his full successful UCLA profile.

Cotoole

UCLA ‘19

Prompt: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

T-shirt. I had never heard of DECA before. Curious, I asked him more about it, and learned that it was “a club for, like marketing and business”, as he called it. Her persuaded me to join and we planned to compete together in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team even. Unlock his full UCLA profile read his application!

WyTeav

UCLA ‘21

 

Prompt: What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?  

I can read koalas with turtles and I can eat ice cream with friends in North Korea. This is all possible due to the power of Photoshop. Photoshop is like a straw that allows people’s eyes to drink from my imagination. I can make anything and put it anywhere; from sea monsters in the ocean to winged toasters at my birth. For nearly four years, I have used Photoshop to express myself in an adventurous way, one that offers me wider avenues than music or writing do. I am constantly improving my photoshopping abilities and therefore expanding the limits of my expression. Unlock his full UCLA profile read his application!

Applying to college?

View the app files and essays of accepted students.

LEARN MORE

Are you looking to apply to UC Schools? or just starting to build out your college list? Make sure to search through profiles of students accepted to see essays, stats, and advice. See how they got in, and how you can too!

About The Author

Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.




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