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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
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Brittany Sawyer
5 How to Get Into

How to Get Into UC Irvine: Admissions Stats + Tips

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What’s Covered:


The University of California Irvine (UC Irvine) is a public research university located between San Diego and Los Angeles in Irvine, California. The university is known for its beautiful beachside campus, strong honors program, and small class sizes.


UC Irvine is well-known for its popular Social Sciences, Business, Marketing, and Psychology majors and a top-rated Philosophy program. With over 85 majors and 70 minors, there is something for every student to pursue at Irvine. 


If you want to attend UC Irvine, you’ll need to focus on developing a solid academic profile and a well-rounded set of extracurriculars, work and volunteer experiences, and leadership roles. In this post, we’ll explain the average academic profile of an incoming freshman, what the university looks for in prospective students, how to improve your application, and everything you’ll need to apply.


How Hard Is It to Get Into UC Irvine?


UC Irvine is a highly competitive school with a low admissions rate. It’s essential you have a strong academic profile and a well-rounded application to be considered by the admissions officers. Last year, only 30% of applicants were admitted. Out of 97,942 students who applied, only 29,301 were accepted.


While UC Irvine’s acceptance rate is low, your chances of acceptance may be higher or lower, depending on the strength of your profile.


To better understand your chances at UC Irvine, we recommend using our free admissions calculator. Using your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more, we’ll estimate your odds of acceptance and give you tips on improving your profile!


Average Academic Profile of Accepted UC Irvine Students




The University of Irvine does not explicitly share the average GPA of incoming students in the Common Data Set. Their website states you have to have at least a 3.4 GPA (3.0 for California students) to be considered for admission. Most students admitted to UC Irvine commonly have a GPA anywhere between 4.0 to 4.26.




UC Irvine does not consider SAT or ACT scores in their admissions decisions. However, according to the Common Data Set from the 2020-2021 school year, incoming students had a middle 50% SAT score of 1240-1410. All students who submitted test scores submitted the SAT—ACT scores were not collected.


Class Rank


Of students accepted to UC Irvine, 98% are in the top 10% of their class, and every student accepted is at least in the top 25% of their class.


What is UC Irvine Looking for?


Since UC Irvine is a competitive school, you can assume that most candidates will be highly qualified academically. Fortunately, since UC Irvine is looking for a strong, robust, and memorable student, you can stand out by highlighting other areas where you shine, like work experiences, unique talents, volunteer opportunities, and more.


Students must excel in academics and have a robust, well-rounded resume of extracurricular activities and leadership roles.


How UC Irvine Evaluates Applications


According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, UC Irvine considers the following factors “very important”:


  • Course rigor
  • Academic GPA
  • Application essay 
  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Talent/ability
  • Volunteer work
  • Work experience


These factors are “important”:


  • Character/personal qualities


These are “considered”:


  • First-generation
  • Geographical residence
  • State residency


And these are “not considered”:


  • Class rank
  • Standardized test scores
  • Interview
  • Recommendation
  • Alumni relation
  • Religious affiliation
  • Level of applicant’s interest
  • Racial/ethnic status


Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.


How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into UC Irvine


1. Achieve at least a 4.0 GPA while taking the most challenging classes available.


Remember, most students who are accepted to UC Irvine have an unweighted GPA between 4.0 and 4.26. That means you should be aiming for at least a 4.0 GPA—if not higher—to make your application competitive.


Top schools like UC Irvine use the Academic Index to sift through applications. The Academic Index is a tool that calculates a student’s overall academic performance from grades to test scores and represents it in a single numerical score.


Students who reach Irvine’s Academic Index threshold will be considered for admission, but students who don’t make the cut won’t move along in the admissions process. It’s crucial to have a competitive transcript to have your application considered by the UC Irvine admissions team.


Aside from your GPA, UC Irvine also considers the rigor of your classes when making admissions decisions. While you’re still in high school, you should consider taking the challenging courses available to you, whether that be honors, AP, or IB classes. These classes will demonstrate your commitment to challenging yourself, and your success will be reflected in the scores on your transcript.


If your GPA is lower, and you’re earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to improve your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.


2. Cultivate at least one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”).


Although all your extracurricular activities and interests are important, some rank higher than others during the admissions process, as seen in the Four Tiers of Extracurriculars.


When you’re applying to a competitive school like UC Irvine, we recommend becoming involved in one to two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars to stand out to the admissions committee.


  • Tier 1 activities include winning a prestigious national award, starting a nonprofit, or attending a distinguished summer program.
  • Tier 2 activities include holding a leadership position in a well-respected club, representing your school in a state competition, or winning a regional competition. 


Since there are plenty of impressive extracurriculars for college to choose from, it’s crucial to highlight activities that best reflect your personality, interests, and accomplishments on your application. Feel free to share about your volunteer experience and work experiences, too.


It’s also essential to develop a deep interest in one or two extracurriculars (a highly-developed interest known as a “spike“) rather than participating in several unrelated activities. An example of a “spike” would be a student who notes that they attended The Summer Science Program (SSP), is the president of the biology club at school, and volunteers at a local hospital twice a week. This demonstrates that this student is not only gifted in science but is deeply interested in medicine.


3. Write engaging essays.


Once you’ve proven your academic excellence, your essays are one of the best ways for you to set yourself apart from other applicants. They are also an excellent opportunity to showcase important aspects of your life that may not have been otherwise stated on your application, like a well-developed skill, unique talent, or experience that has shaped you into who you are today.


Essays are also helpful to demonstrate your interest in UC Irvine and explain why you are a good fit for the school’s programs and values. Discover our best tips for writing the University of California essays for the 2021-2022 school year to make your essay stand out!


How to Apply to UC Irvine




Application Timeline


Early Action & Early Decision


Regular Decision

November 30th


Application Requirements


Students can apply to UC Irvine using the UC Application Portal, used specifically for applying to California public universities. You’ll need the following to apply:


  • $70 (domestic) or $80 (international) application fee
  • High school transcripts (for reference)
  • Standardized test scores (not required or considered)
  • Information about your parents or guardians, such as educational background, occupation, annual income, and employer information
  • Social security number
  • Citizenship status (must provide visa type and immigration status)
  • California Statewide Student ID (optional)


Learn more about UC Irvine


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Short Bio
Brittany Sawyer is a graduate of Grand Canyon University, where she majored in Marketing and minored in Professional Writing. She works as a freelance copywriter and lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and her golden retriever, Sedona. When Brittany isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, trying new coffee shops, and traveling.