What is UC Irvine Known For?
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- Overview of UC Irvine Admissions
- Unique Aspects of UC Irvine
- What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at UC Irvine?
The University of California at Irvine has it all. A beautiful, beachside campus, an easy commute to class, one of the strongest Honors Colleges in the UC System, and… an anteater mascot?!? While this school does have a strong focus on academics, UC Irvine is also known as a fun, exciting place to earn your degree.
Over half of UC Irvine’s classes have fewer than 20 students, allowing learners to grow closer with their professors and develop strong intrapersonal skills. Some of the most popular majors include Social Sciences, Business, Marketing, and Psychology. 93% of freshmen return for their sophomore year, showing a high degree of satisfaction with the program.
What is UC Irvine known for? Keep reading to find out all about the university’s claims to fame.
Overview of UC Irvine Admissions
Location: Irvine, between San Diego and Los Angeles
Undergrad Enrollment: 30,382
Acceptance Rate: 27%
Middle 50% SAT: 1170-1420
Middle 50% ACT: 25-34
Along with all other University of California schools, applications are only accepted via the UC Application Portal. Luckily, they all take the same essays, so you can apply to all nine campuses with the same essay! UC Irvine is looking for a strong, unique, memorable student. Not only do you excel in academics, but you also have a robust resume of extracurricular activities (including sports, clubs, volunteering, etc.), and you can fit into and be an asset to the Irvine community. When it comes to admissions officers, knowing your capabilities as a member of the community is what they’re looking for!
In order to be accepted to the school, an applicant must have a GPA of at least 3.4, but many have a GPA between 4-4.26. Students must have successfully passed the following courses:
History/Social Science: 2 years
English: 4 years
Mathematics: 3 years (4 years recommended)
Laboratory Science: 2 years (3 years recommended)
Language other than English: 2 years (3 years recommended)
Visual and Performing Arts: 1 year
College Preparatory Electives: 1 year
The UC application requires you to answer four of the eight personal insight questions, with a 350-word limit on each prompt. These should not be school-specific, since you’ll be using the same responses for all nine campuses. You can specify the UC system, but keep it that general.
Once again, UC schools do not accept the Common Application. Applicants must submit all their materials through the UC Portal by November 30th of their application year. This is a full month before the Common App is due, so keep this in your mind as you are making your timeline of applications!
When you submit your application, you’ll need to include:
- About you: This section asks for information about you and your family. You may need assistance from your parents or legal guardians to answer these.
- Campuses and majors: Here, you’ll select which campuses you’re applying to, and the majors you’re interested in. While UC Irvine may be your school of choice, you should apply to all that you are remotely interested in attending to increase your chances of acceptance to the UC system.
- Academic history: Here you’ll use your transcripts to enter the courses and grades from all schools you’ve attended while in high school.
- Test scores: UC no longer considers test scores, so you will not need to submit any.
- Activities and awards: In this section, you will list and describe the things you are most proud of accomplishing outside of the classroom.
- Scholarships and programs : Here, you will select any and all scholarship categories that apply to you.
- Personal insight: In the final part of the application, you will answer 4 of 8 insight questions.
Unique Aspects of UC Irvine
UCI’s academic program is extremely strong. Along with one of the best Honors Colleges in the UC system, UCI’s Philosophy program is one of the most renowned in the country. The Honors College combines a rigorous curriculum with a close-knit community of like-minded students working together to achieve their goals. The Honors core classes allow students to think critically and research while working with highly invested professors. They also put on social events to build a community outside of the classroom.
UCI’s faculty includes Nobel laureates, National Medal of Science recipients, National Humanities Medal recipients, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Some notable members include Frederick Reines, R. Duncan Luce, Vicki Ruiz, John R. Miles, and Hector Tobar.
On top of these programs, UCI also offers concurrent enrollment for high school seniors who have exhausted their high school curriculum, and want advanced-level course work or enrichment courses or course work not available at their high school. High school juniors and seniors with unweighted GPAs of 3.0 or higher in college prep classes can also enroll in UCI’s Summer Session courses numbered 1-99 without special prerequisites. Though taking these courses does not mean you are admitted to the university, they are a great way to get comfortable with the school environment while enriching your education and application.
UCI offers 18 NCAA Division I sports programs, including men’s baseball, basketball, volleyball, and water polo. 64 individual students have won national championships, 56 have competed in the Olympics, and over 3,500 have been honored as Big West Conference Scholar-Athletes. The Anteaters also boast over 500 All-American athletes.
Some well-known clubs at the school include the Best Buddies club, Co-SIGN, the Flying Samaritans, and the Ski and Snowboard Club.
- The Best Buddies allow students at UCI to meet and form friendships with differently-abled members of the community while allowing those with disabilities to gain jobs and friendships. Every year, members of the club take a trip to Disney!
- Co-SIGN offers speakers and events to increase knowledge, awareness, and interest in neurology. They offer plenty of research opportunities too!
- The Flying Samaritans organize a trip for those in healthcare to Mexico, where they provide a clinic offering free dental and medical care.
- The Ski and Snowboard Club organizes trips to, well, ski and snowboard. They link up with other Ski and Snowboard clubs from across the UC system and are very popular due to their trips.
During the sports season, you’ll often hear the Anteater cry “Zot!” This is the war-cry of the Anteaters and is included in many aspects of UCI life. From the CIA (Completely Insane Anteaters) cheering on UCI’s teams to Zotlink, Zot! Wire, and the “Give it your best Zot!” recycling campaign, the word is everywhere across campus.
The school offers an open house, known as Celebrate UCI, every year. The event usually attracts thousands of visitors, with highlights being the Wayzgoose Medieval Faire, Car Show on the Green, Earth Day celebration, and theater performances. On top of these, the school provides campus tours and academic information sessions.
One of the greatest perks of UCI is its stunning location. The campus is five miles from California’s Orange County beaches and enjoys a Mediterranean climate throughout the year. The campus is full of large open spaces and is designed with a huge central park in the middle. It is surrounded by Newport Beach, the San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh Reserve, and a variety of wetlands. It boasts five libraries and is known for its excellent special collections and archives.
What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at UC Irvine?
Per UCI’s website, admitted students generally rank in the top tenth of their senior class. This means a student has to be very strong to be admitted, particularly with an average GPA between 4.0-4.26. However, UC Irvine takes into account a growth trend in grades over time, so do your best to improve. Irvine admissions officers are big on unique aspects of applicants and extracurriculars, so make sure you’re choosing activities that you enjoy and are passionate about.
To better understand your chances at UC Irvine, we recommend using our free admissions calculator. Using your grades, test scores, and extracurriculars, we’ll estimate your odds of acceptance, and give you tips on improving your profile.
You can also search for best-fit schools based on your chances, and on other factors like size, location, majors, and more. This tool will make it a lot easier to create a strategy for your college application process.