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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What Does It Take to Get Into the University of California–Riverside?

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Considered one of the most diverse, inclusive colleges within the prestigious 10 campus University of California system, the University of California–Riverside (or UCR) offers more than 100 academic majors and 450 student organizations.


UCR is not only ranked as the No. 35  public university in the nation, it’s deemed America’s fastest-rising ranked university by U.S. News & World Report, 2019. If that’s not enough, the college is regarded as one of the top 25 comprehensive research universities in the U.S. Notable alumni include Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Steve Breen, best-selling mystery novel author Elizabeth George and Nobel Prize-winning chemist Richard Schrock.


Of course, University of California–Riverside students have more than studying to occupy their time. While earning their degrees, students can lounge on the California beaches, hike the Hollywood Hills, tour movie studios, and listen to their favorite artists at regular campus music festivals.


Think this Southern California school is the right fit for you? Read on to discover what it takes to get into UCR, along with our tips for applying.


Applying to University of California–Riverside: A Quick Review


If your goal is to attend UCR, you should start by gathering the necessary application materials. One of the perks of applying to a UC school is that you can use one application for multiple campuses. So first-year students torn between UCR and UC Irvine, for example, don’t have fill out two different applications. Note that students do need to pay separate application fees: it’s $70 for each UC school to which you apply.


Along with a completed UC application, aspiring freshmen must submit the following:


  • Official Test Scores: ACT with Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test along with any SAT Subject Tests, Advanced Placement, IB, TOEFL or IELTS exams
  • Responses to 4 Personal Insight questions
  • Tax and ID information (for financial aid purposes)


For the Fall 2019 semester, the due date for applications is November 30th. Admissions notifications begin in March.


University of California–Riverside Acceptance Rate: How Difficult Is It to Get In?


Last year, the University of California–Riverside received 49,079 applications and accepted just under 25,000 students. That gives the school an admit rate of 50.9%.


With UCR accepting just over half of all applicants, students might be anxious about their odds of getting in. It’s important to remember that the school evaluates candidates based on more than their grades and test scores. Other key criteria include special talents, awards, recent academic improvements, and projects completed out of the classroom. 

So, How Does One Get Into University of California–Riverside?


The University of California–Riverside wants to matriculate students with the academic backgrounds needed to succeed at the college level. To that end, students looking to apply to UCR should pursue a rigorous and diverse coursework that includes:


  • 4 years of English
  • 3 years of math
  • 2 years of history
  • 2 years of laboratory science
  • 2 years of a foreign language
  • 1 year of visual or performing arts
  • 1 year of a college-preparatory elective


Along with taking challenging courses, students need strong grades and test scores to get accepted at UCR. According to the university website, the average incoming freshman has a GPA between 3.66 and 4.09. ACT scores range from 20 to 22, while SATs are between 1130 and 1380.


How to Make Your Application Stand Out


So, how do you ensure your UCR application profile stands out from the pack? One of the best ways students can distinguish themselves is by devoting extra time to their Personal Insight questions. A crucial part of the UC application, Personal Insight questions gives students a chance to share their life experiences, passions, and goals for the future. The goal is to craft answers that tell the admissions department something it wouldn’t know from your grades and test scores while showcasing your unique voice.


Personal Insight responses are capped at 350 words each. Students can choose four questions from the eight options on the list, which includes the following:



  • Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.  


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


Additionally, students can boost their odds of getting into UCR by highlighting special talents and abilities. For example, maybe you speak fluent French or hold a position in your student government. Perhaps you excel athletically or serve members of your community by volunteering your time. Use your Personal Insight responses to tell the admissions committee how your experiences and achievements will help you contribute to the UCR community.


What If You Get Rejected?


There’s no way around it: rejection hurts. The best way to minimize the sting of getting turned down by one of your top-choice schools is to get accepted by another with open arms. To that end, high school seniors should apply at a range of colleges and universities, including both reaches and safeties. Some schools known for being similar to UCR include California State University – Fullerton, Azusa Pacific University, University of California–Berkeley, and Michigan State University.


Additionally, California residents may have a slight edge when it comes to dealing with rejection. If you didn’t get into the University of California–Riverside, you are guaranteed admission to one of the other UC schools provided that:


  • You’re among the top 9% of California high schoolers or in the top 9% of your school’s graduating class
  • Space is available at another campus


Curious about your chances of acceptance to UC Riverside? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!


Want more information on applying to UC schools? Check out these CollegeVine posts:


The Ultimate Guide to Applying to the University of California

The University of California Schools: The Complete Guide + Which Should You Choose?

Short Bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.