Your Guide to the UCLA Application

[fa icon="calendar"] 7/5/19 3:00 PM / by Heather Gupton

University of California, Los Angeles is a public university located in the southern part of California. Founded in 1919, the university has about 31,000 undergraduate students and is one of the most applied-to universities in the country. Students can apply to UCLA through the UC application which is due on November 30th for all students. Now let’s take a closer look at applying to UCLA!

Just the Facts

To get started, let’s look at the facts and numbers around UCLA admission:

Acceptance Rate: 14%

Application Deadline: November 30th

SAT Middle 50%: 1360-1540

ACT Middle 50%: 31-35

Average GPA: 4.16-4.31

Percent in top 10% of HS Class: 97%

Application Fee: $70

Application Method: UC application system

Essays: 4 essays (max 350 words each) – can choose from 8 prompts

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Understanding the 8 UC Application Essay Prompts and How to Answer Them

The first application essay asks students to describe an example of leadership and talk about the results of that experience such as positive influence, resolving conflicts, or contributing to group efforts. With this prompt it’s important that students tell a story demonstrating leadership, but that they also make sure to mention the impact their leadership had. This essay should be very reflective on that particular experience, but also connect it to personal growth or a direction you’d like to see yourself go in in the future.


The second topic asks students to describe how they choose to express their creative side. Many students assume this is focused on artistic expression, but this can also be related to problem solving such as in engineering projects, or innovation which is a common theme in entrepreneurship. The important part of this essay is to make sure you talk about a very specific example of your creativity in action and also to talk through your thought process as this creativity comes to life.


The third essay asks students to talk about their greatest talent or skill and how it has developed over time. This prompt in particular really requires students to show, not just tell their story. Unless the talent you’re choosing to display is writing, the reader will need specific examples to understand how you’ve nurtured your craft, such as competitions or showcases. This talent or skill should also be one that you’ve had for quite some time as the prompt specifically asks about how it has developed over time.


The fourth prompt asks about any significant educational opportunities or barriers that you’ve had as a student. This prompt clearly lends itself to having a clear story arc. The student should set the scene with some context on the situation, talk about to process of either overcoming or taking advantage of their situation, and end with how they have grown. Being able to tie the story up with forward thinking sentiment is very important for this prompt.


The fifth application essay is asks students to describe a challenge they’ve face, how they overcome it, and how it affected their academic achievement. The final part of this prompt makes it clear they are looking for stories that directly relate to your educational journey, so students should try not to tell overly personal stories. It is really important that students make sure to answer all 3 parts of the question and that they only use a challenge that they have successfully overcome.


The sixth application essay asks students to describe their academic passion and how they’ve furthered this interest inside and outside of the classroom. To make this a really compelling story, students must use a subject they have actively pursued outside of the classroom, either through personal projects, competitions, or additional courses such as summer programs or community college courses. It is also important that students talk about why they find it so inspiring, not just the activities they’ve done in the subject.


The seventh application essay asks students what how they’ve made their school or community a better place. Students can write about community service or personal projects for this essay, and they need to be sure to talk about the direct impact their work had. Measuring impact can be quite tricky, but it is a necessity for this essay prompt. It is also important that you define the community you impacted where it’s your school grade, your local church or your whole town.


The final application essay prompt asks students to share anything else that may not fit in any of the previous prompts that the student feels defines them as a strong applicant. This prompt is very open-ended and gives students a large window of topics to covers, but it can also be a very tricky question. It is very important that students don’t write an essay that could be used to answer any of the other prompts. This essay prompt should only be chosen if students are absolutely positive the story they want to tell can’t fit into any of the other prompts.


Looking at Academic Programs Within UCLA

There are 6 different schools that students can be a part of at UCLA: College of Letters and Science, Herb Alpert School of Music, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, School the Arts and Architecture, School of Nursing, and School of Theater, Film, and Television. The College of Letters and Science is the most popular as far as number of majors and students. The Engineering program is also quite popular and houses the common major of computer science.


Empowerly and UCLA

Since Empowerly’s founding in 2016 we’ve helped hundreds of students with the UC application, especially for UCLA. For the Class of 2019, Empowerly had about 42% of our students who apply to UCLA admitted, compared to the 18% nationwide. We have multiple counselors who have attended UCLA and all of our counselors have quite a lot of experience with the UC application. If you’re interested in learning more about how Empowerly can help you with the UC application or other universities please schedule a free consultation with our enrollment team.  


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Topics: College Applications, College Essays, College-Specific Info, Admission deadlines/timeline

Heather Gupton

Written by Heather Gupton

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