Applying to college can be a daunting prospect. This is especially true when the university you are hoping to attend is highly competitive. For students with excellent academic records and great extracurricular activities, the thing that may help set them apart is a strong ACT or SAT score.
While there is no SAT or ACT score requirement for UCLA, the school will ideally want to see at least 1,240 on the SAT or a 29 on the ACT to be seriously considered.
What Are UCLA Acceptance Requirements?
Like most competitive colleges and universities in the United States, UCLA does not have one specific requirement that all students must meet to get accepted. UCLA requires a standardized test score, admissions essays, a high school transcript and evidence of extracurricular activities, hobbies and other interests that you've pursued during your high school years.
Like most schools, UCLA is looking for a combination of a strong academic transcript and a high standardized test score. Additionally, the university will want high-quality recommendations, and some sort of after-school activities that let them know that you are an engaged and motivated self-starter who pursues the things you are interested in.
A standardized test score is important for a college like UCLA, but it is not the be-all end-all of your application process. Strong recommendations, a high GPA and demonstrated engagement in your school community can do a lot to offset a poor standardized test score.
What Are the SAT and ACT?
As most students who are nearing their high school days are aware, the ACT and the SAT are two versions of the standardized tests that are taken by nearly all high schoolers who are applying to college. The tests vary in their scoring, but both examine math skills, verbal skills and reading comprehension. Each of the tests is designed to test the mastery of the material that all students should have after completing their high school education.
The higher your score on the SAT, the more likely a competitive college will be to examine your application carefully. However, if you do not fare well on the SAT or the ACT, you are not wholly out of luck. Many students do not excel in standardized tests. Whether it's anxiety, the test format or the time constraints, many people find that their performance on standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are not a good indication of their aptitude.
The flip side of the coin, however, is even worse for schools like UCLA to see. If you have a strong SAT or ACT score, but you have a poor GPA, weak recommendations and extracurricular activities that don't really speak to passion or commitment, that is the kiss of death for admissions boards. It shows that you are a smart and capable student but likely lazy and unmotivated. If you are a sophomore or junior in high school and worried about your GPA, make sure you do everything you can to raise your grades now so that you can avoid this circumstance.
What Is a Good SAT or ACT Score?
A good SAT score or a good ACT score is relative and depends on the individual taking the test. However, there are certain averages and numbers that are helpful to know for students who are interested in UCLA requirements for the ACT or UCLA requirements for the SAT. For starters, the highest SAT score is 1,600. This means that the student has scored an 800 on both the math and the verbal sections of the test. For the ACT which is scored using a different numerical metric, the highest score is 36.
Unlike the SAT, the ACT measures science. The ACT has four different sections that measure: English, Math, Reading and Science. The SAT measures only Verbal, Mathematics and Reading Comprehension. Both tests have an optional essay section. Each test is geared toward measuring a student's general knowledge, although the ACT has perhaps a broader range of skills that it evaluates than the SAT does.
For admission to a school like UCLA you want to have an ACT score that is no lower than 27 to be considered, and an SAT score that is at least 1,240. These scores are not definitive, nor is there any real requirement to achieve them. However, when faced with a tremendous pool of applying students who have similar GPAs and similar extracurriculars, a strong SAT or ACT score may be the thing that puts you over the top and secures your acceptance.
Is UCLA Difficult to Get Into?
UCLA is a competitive school, but it is not considered among the most difficult schools in the country to get into. In fact, it is not even among the most difficult schools in California from where to secure acceptance. Schools like UC Berkeley, Stanford, Pomona College and Cal Tech are among the most competitive in the state. However, among the schools in the UC system, aside from Berkeley, UCLA is the most competitive.
In 2017, UCLA accepted only a little over 16 percent of its applicants. UCLA like many large universities tries to people its campus with a diversity of students from a variety of backgrounds, both culturally and socially. Students who are going to be compared against you during the admissions process are likely to have a similar background and profile. For example, if you are coming from a small public school in a rural area, you will be compared against students from similar backgrounds.
Students from wealthy schools in urban areas, on the other hand, will be compared against other students with that sort of background. In this way, UCLA admissions requirements are applied to students from all walks of life. This is done in the interest of maintaining on-campus diversity and being attentive to the reality that students who are intelligent and engaged come from a variety of different educational environments with varying access to educational opportunities.
How to Get High SAT and ACT Test Scores
If you want to prepare yourself for the competitive nature of the college admissions process, you can begin by preparing for the ACT and SAT. Most schools require one of the tests, but students are beginning to take both tests in increasing numbers, and sending their high scores to the schools they are interested in. While some colleges only take one of the standardized tests, most are happy to accept scores for either, so it's a good idea to check admissions requirements at the school you're most hoping to attend.
Once you know what test you're going to take. Begin by taking a practice test. A practice ACT or SAT can help you gauge your scores so you know where you are at the starting point, and you know exactly how far you have to go before you have UCLA ACT scores. Once you've scored your test, go back and see where you got things right and where you got things wrong. Do you need more preparation in the math section of the test? Do you need more help and preparation in the verbal section?
Whatever you have discovered, you can definitely create a study plan that will move you closer to UCLA ACT scores. Troubleshoot the areas where you're struggling and begin to study the concepts closely. Once you feel that you understand the concepts, do some practice questions. Once you've studied all the concepts that you know you need to work on, take the practice test again, and see where you are.
Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites. She has written for Pearson Education, The University of Miami, The New York City Teaching Fellows, New Visions for Public Schools, and a number of independent secondary schools. She lives in Los Angeles.