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Colleges / University of California, Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz Admissions

If you want to apply to UC Santa Cruz, the regular decision application deadline is November 30 and the application fee costs $70.

Application fees can add up, but some schools do have free applications and students with financial need may qualify for for an application fee waiver.

Students who apply for Fall should hear back from UC Santa Cruz by March 31.

UC Santa Cruz Admissions Stats at a Glance

UC Santa Cruz 2021 Admissions Statistics
Mean Unweighted GPA 3.5
Admitted Students in Top 10% of Graduating Class 96%
Admissions Test Policy Not optional and are not even considered
Waitlist Yes

Considering Applying Early to UC Santa Cruz?

University of California, Santa Cruz does not offer early decision or early action.

The early decision acceptance rate at UC Santa Cruz is 0%, compared to an overall acceptance rate of 65%.

Some students apply to college early because they believe it will help their chances. Early deadlines may increase the chance of being admitted, since applying early shows your are very interested in a school, and your application is being considered before all the regular decision applicants apply.

See a list of some selective colleges that admit significantly more applicants during early decision or early action than during regular admission.

How Hard Is It To Get Admitted to UC Santa Cruz?

It is very difficult to get into UC Santa Cruz. UC Santa Cruz evaluates applicants carefully based on multiple criteria to decide who to admit, and who to deny or waitlist.

In 2021, UC Santa Cruz accepted 65% of all applicants, around 35,174 of the 54,041 students who applied.

Schools that are very difficult to get into, like UC Santa Cruz, accept fewer than 60% of all applicants. At least 50% of all admitted students have GPAs in the top 10% of their high school class and scored over 1230 on the SAT and over 26 on the ACT.

It is very difficult to be admitted as a transfer student. For applicants who are not residents of California, getting into University of California, Santa Cruz is extremely difficult.

In 2021, UC Santa Cruz waitlisted 16,484 students. Of those, 10,370 eventually got off the waitlist.

What's Most Important to Get In to UC Santa Cruz?

Colleges consider a range of factors when choosing who to admit for their next incoming class. Each college has a different way of determining which factors are are most important in the admissions process. When creating your list of schools to apply to, you may want to consider your strengths and any possible weaknesses in your application, and choose schools that prioritize the admissions factors where you stand out.

Admissions Factors at UC Santa Cruz

Admissions Factor Level
Academic GPA Very Important
Application Essay Very Important
Rigor of Secondary School Record Very Important
State Residency Very Important
Character/Personal Qualities Important
Geographical Residence Important
Extracurricular Activities Important
First Generation Important
Talent/Ability Important
Work Experience Considered
Volunteer Work Considered

UC Santa Cruz 2021-2022 Application Requirements

To apply, all applicants to UC Santa Cruz must submit the following items. Double check with UC Santa Cruz's admissions department to confirm all application materials and requirements.

Area Required Recommended Required for Some Details (If Any)
Written Essay or Personal Statement
Minimum High School GPA (On 4.0 Scale) 3.0 3.4
Other Requirements minimum high school GPA of 3.0 for California residents, 3.4 for non-residents
Transcript of High School Record

What GPA Do I Need To Get Into UC Santa Cruz?

Your high school grade point average (GPA) is a number that reflects your high school academic performance. A weighted GPA or an unweighted GPA are the two possible GPA scores considered by colleges.

An unweighted GPA is an average of your scores from each class on a four-point scale. 4.0. Unweighted GPAs range from 4.0 to under 1.0. A weighted GPA considers your average grade and the difficulty of your classes. A weighted GPA boosts your average by adding extra points for honors or Advanced Placement courses.

Students admitted to UC Santa Cruz have an average unweighted GPA of 3.5

At UC Santa Cruz 96% of students ranked in the top 10% of their graduating class in high school, 100% were in the top 25% and 100% were in the top 50%.

At University of California, Santa Cruz, student GPAs fall in the following ranges
3.75 and 3.99 19.3%
3.50 and 3.74 32.1%
3.25 and 3.49 27.3%
3.00 and 3.24 14.3%
2.50 and 2.9 3.3%
2.00 and 2.49 0%

UC Santa Cruz doesn't consider ACT or SAT scores as part of the admissions process.

UC Santa Cruz is not test optional. Test optional schools allow students to choose if they want to submit ACT or SAT scores with their applications or not.

Transferring to University of California, Santa Cruz

For transfer students, it is very difficult to get admitted to UC Santa Cruz.

For transfer students wishing to start in the Fall, the deadline to apply is November 30. Applicants should hear back by April 30.

Transfer students can enroll in UC Santa Cruz during the following terms: - Fall Term - Winter Term - Winter Term

UC Santa Cruz Admissions FAQs

Can I defer my acceptance to UC Santa Cruz?

Students who are admitted to UC Santa Cruz must attend in the term they start. Deferring admissions is not encouraged. If you have a unusual circumstance, contact the admissions department.

Does UC Santa Cruz accept transfer credits?

UC Santa Cruz accepts eligible transfer credits from accredited institutions.

Does UC Santa Cruz accept Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits?

UC Santa Cruz accepts International Baccalaureate credits (IB) credits and Advanced Placement (AP) credits.

Do I have to submit test scores to UC Santa Cruz?

UC Santa Cruz is not test optional. Test scores will not be considered during the admissions process, even if you submit them.

What is UC Santa Cruz's acceptance rate?

UC Santa Cruz's acceptance rate is 65%.

What is the early decision acceptance rate at UC Santa Cruz?

UC Santa Cruz's early decision acceptance rate was 0% in 2021.

Want To Learn More About UC Santa Cruz?

To learn more about UC Santa Cruz, choose from the options below:


Student Life


Tuition & Aid

See what others say about UC Santa Cruz in the College Confidential forums

Explore other colleges in California or use the college admissions predictor to calculate your chances of getting into some of the top colleges and universities in the U.S.

UC Santa Cruz Admissions Requirements

Admission Difficulty

Very Selective


How hard is it to get into UC Santa Cruz? UC Santa Cruz is a very selective institution. The UC Santa Cruz acceptance rate is 65%. This means that the institution accepts 65 out of every 100 applicants.



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UC Santa Cruz Application Deadline

First-Year Applications are Due

Nov 30

Transfer Applications are Due

Nov 30

The deadline for Fall first-year applications to UC Santa Cruz is Nov 30.

The deadline for Fall transfer applications to UC Santa Cruz is Nov 30.

Check the school website for more information about deadlines for specific programs or special admissions programs

UC Santa Cruz ACT Scores


ACT Range

Not available

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UC Santa Cruz SAT Scores


Composite SAT Range

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Math SAT Range

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Reading SAT Range

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UC Santa Cruz GPA

Avg. High School GPA (non-weighted)


GPA Needed to Get Accepted

At UC Santa Cruz, the average unweighted high-school GPA for admitted students is 3.51. This is the average, which means that some applicants submit GPAs lower than this and some applicants submit GPAs above this level. If your GPA falls below the average, strong test scores or other qualifications may help you make you a more competitive applicant.

* Data provided by IPEDs and Peterson's Databases, © 2020 Peterson's LLC. All rights reserved.

Quick Facts

Total Enrollment


Campus Setting

Small Town

Acceptance Rate


Tuition and Fees

In State




Fall Freshmen
Application Deadline

Nov 30
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