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How to Get Into UC Irvine–General Information

The University of California, Irvine is one of the ten campuses in the University of California public school system and one of nine that offers undergraduate programs. The UC system is one of the largest collections of public universities in the country. It includes campuses in Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Santa Barbara as well. UC Irvine is ranked among the top 10 public universities in the nation. It is one of the most diverse schools in the country, with 88 languages spoken and 79 countries represented.

What we’ll cover in this “How to Get Into UC Irvine” guide:

  • Understanding the UC Irvine acceptance rate
  • UC Irvine average GPA
  • The UC application deadline
  • Writing strong UC Personal Insight Questions
  • Details on the UC Irvine admissions process
  • Components of the UC Irvine application, and more.

When thinking about how to get into UC Irvine, make sure each part of your UC Irvine application is top-notch. This includes a competitive UC Irvine average GPA, a stand-out extracurricular activities list, and thoughtful responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions. To boost your chances, you should start strategizing well before the UC application deadline. 

Figuring out how to get into UC Irvine takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes graduates from the nation’s top schools. Want to maximize your UC Irvine enrollment odds?  Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

How do I get into UC Irvine?

The question of how to get into UC Irvine has varied answers. Given the competitive UC Irvine acceptance rate, no single factor guarantees acceptance. In order to even be considered for UC Irvine enrollment, students must meet the minimum eligibility requirements. These can be found on the UC Irvine admissions website. Most importantly, students must submit their UC Irvine application before the UC application deadline. Beyond this, students should try to meet or exceed the UC Irvine average GPA for incoming freshmen.

In addition to these thresholds, students should also think about their candidate profile when considering how to get into UC Irvine. Your candidate profile represents who you are both inside and outside the classroom. It is the opportunity to show why a college should admit you. Your character, personality, and extracurricular involvement all contribute to your candidate profile. So, make sure you know what you want your UC Irvine application to say about you.

Looking for ways to talk about your extracurriculars on your UC Irvine application or the Common App? Click here.

How hard is it to get into UC Irvine? 

While the UC Irvine acceptance rate is not the lowest in the UC system, the question of how to get into UC Irvine is still a difficult one to answer. More than two-thirds of students who submit a UC Irvine application will not be accepted. However, don’t let the low UC Irvine acceptance rate discourage you!

The best thing that you can do to boost your chances of joining the UC Irvine enrollment is to put your best foot forward in all aspects of the UC Irvine application. For example, aim for a GPA that exceeds the UC Irvine average GPA. In addition, strong responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions can help set your UC Irvine application apart.

What is the acceptance rate at UC Irvine?

According to U.S. News, the UC Irvine acceptance rate is around 30%, making it a “most selective” school according to their rating system. This number also puts the UC Irvine acceptance rate in the middle to the low range when compared to other schools in the University of California system

The UC Irvine acceptance rate is not as low as that of UCLA or UC Berkeley, but it is lower than UC Davis or UC Santa Barbara. Because UC Irvine is a public university, the UC Irvine acceptance rate will be slightly higher for in-state residents. So, as you consider how to get into UC Irvine, keep the low UC Irvine acceptance rate in mind.

Want to learn more about acceptance rates? Check out our expert guide.

What GPA do I need for UC Irvine?

The UC admissions website specifies a minimum UC Irvine average GPA of at least 3.0 for California residents and 3.4 for non-California residents. However, these numbers simply represent the minimum eligibility requirement. They are not the UC Irvine average GPA numbers for enrolled freshmen.

Admitted students have a UC Irvine average GPA between 3.75-4.00 unweighted and 3.96-4.28 weighted. The weighted number includes extra points given for earning a C or better in honors or advanced classes. So, even though they are more difficult, taking advanced classes can help you meet the UC Irvine average GPA.

In addition to the UC Irvine average GPA requirements, students planning their “how to get into UC Irvine” strategy must also complete all courses in the UC A-G subject areas, earning at least a “C” or better in each one. A list of these courses can be found here. Remember that a “C” is only the minimum required grade for eligibility. Most students with a high UC Irvine average GPA have earned A’s and B’s in their A-G courses.

If your GPA is lower than the UC Irvine average GPA for incoming freshmen, don’t worry. As long as your GPA is higher than the minimum eligibility requirement, you can still apply. There are many other ways to distinguish yourself on the UC Irvine application. For example, quality responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions and a diverse extracurricular list will improve your UC Irvine enrollment odds.

What does the University of California application require?

Students wondering how to get into UC Irvine should start by filling out the UC Application. There are several parts to the UC application that must all be completed before the UC application deadline.

Personal Information

First, students must fill out the personal information section and indicate which of the University of California schools they want to apply to. The next section requires students to self-report their high school course list and grades. UC Irvine admissions does not require students to submit official transcripts, but you must make sure the information you report matches the information on your official transcript. This ensures that you both meet the UC Irvine average GPA requirements and have taken the required number of courses.

UC Personal Insight Questions

In addition, students must answer the UC Personal Insight Questions. There are eight total UC Personal Insight Questions, but students are only required to answer four of them. These are short answer questions designed to help the UC Irvine admissions team get to know applicants better. Providing strong responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions is one answer to the question of “how to get into UC Irvine.”

Test-free admissions

UC Irvine is also a test-free school, meaning that a student’s test scores will not factor into their admissions decision. Students may still provide SAT scores or ACT scores to qualify for certain classes, but the UC Irvine admissions office will not consider test scores in their holistic review process. We suggest students who have strong scores submit them anyway because they may improve eligibility for scholarships. However, when planning how to get into UC Irvine, test scores are not a factor.

What extracurriculars does UC Irvine like?

When you’re wondering how to get into UC Irvine, you will likely wonder about extracurriculars. Because the process of joining the UC Irvine enrollment is holistic, the UC Irvine admissions team uses extracurricular activities as a way to measure a student’s potential success on campus. There are no extracurricular activities that will guarantee you UC Irvine enrollment. The UC Irvine admissions team looks for leadership and consistency of involvement, not a specific type of involvement. 

Looking for passionate leaders

It does not necessarily matter what activities you pursued as long as you showed dedication and leadership. Don’t join a club for a short time only because you believe it will bolster your “how to get into UC Irvine” strategy. Above all, quality, not quantity, is more important when it comes to extracurricular activities.

Finally, be sure to mention any awards or honors you received. One good method of how to get into UC Irvine is to stand out from other applicants, as the UC Irvine acceptance rate is so low. Recognitions and honors are a good way to do that. This is especially true if you participated in community service, won an academic competition, or received a grant for a project. So, start working on your list well before the UC application deadline and include any important details.   

Tips on writing the Personal Insight Questions

When planning your “how to get into UC Irvine” strategy, you may wonder about supplemental essays. While many schools use the Common Application essay prompts, UC Irvine admissions has its own set of short essay questions: the UC Personal Insight Questions. The UC Irvine admissions team wants to get to know you so they can gain insight into the kind of UC Irvine student you might be. There are eight UC Personal Insight Questions in total, but you only need to answer four.

Choose your questions

The first thing to do is narrow down which questions you want to answer. Look over each prompt and brainstorm ideas. If nothing comes to mind, set that prompt aside and move on. The goal here is to figure out which questions best allow you to share your authentic story with the UC Irvine admissions team. Think about which questions will allow you to highlight your best qualities.

Check for candidate profile alignment

Once you have figured out which questions to answer, revisit your candidate profile and think about how you want the UC Irvine admissions team to see you. Do you pride yourself on your organization and community service? Perhaps you are proud of your charismatic leadership skills? Or, maybe you have overcome some major trauma or setback. Whatever your story is, try to have a narrative in mind before you start writing. That is how to get into UC Irvine. 

Then, think about examples from your life that support your chosen narrative. As you build your “how to get into UC Irvine” plan, show off your character and accomplishments. Keep in mind that your UC Irvine enrollment status depends on what you share about yourself. So, be open about your achievements. Talk about how you could benefit UC Irvine to help the admissions team see what kind of student you would be. For more information about how to ace the UC Personal Insight Questions, check out our UC Personal Insight Questions Guide!

What does UC Irvine use to determine acceptance?

You’ve created a stellar “how to get into UC Irvine” plan and submitted your UC Irvine application by the UC application deadline. Now what?

UC Irvine admissions counselors use a holistic application review process. This process involves a standardized list of factors that every college in the UC system uses when evaluating applicants.

The most important factors when considering how to get into UC Irvine are your grades and coursework. While meeting or exceeding the UC Irvine average GPA is important, taking the most challenging classes your high school offers is equally so. Given the UC Irvine acceptance rate, you should submit all application materials, including your UC Personal Insight Questions, well ahead of the UC application deadline.

Also, ensuring you have strong extracurricular involvement is key when thinking about how to get into UC Irvine. UC Irvine looks for students who will engage in the campus community. As such, your extracurricular activities show the school what you can bring to their school.

Finally, try to demonstrate strong character and personality in your responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions. The UC Irvine enrollment process is based on more than just numbers. So, help the admissions committee get to know you in your UC Irvine application.

Will UC Irvine consider my social media accounts?

While thinking about how to get into UC Irvine, students may worry about how their social media presence might affect their admissions odds. However, UC Irvine admissions officers tend not to look at students’ social media profiles. Since over one hundred thousand students vie for UC Irvine enrollment each year, the UC Irvine admissions team doesn’t have time to look at students’ social media.

This does not mean, though, that you should post offensive or irresponsible content on social media. While it might not directly impact your admissions odds, inappropriate social media usage could disqualify you from scholarships, research opportunities, or job placements. Even beyond the college application process, you should use social media responsibly

So, our final recommendation is to play it safe. UC Irvine likely won’t read your Twitter or check your Instagram, but you should still exercise care when using social media.

Is UC Irvine a good school for me?

In addition to asking about how to get into UC Irvine, you should also consider whether UC Irvine is a good fit for you. Keep in mind that you will spend the next four years at whatever college you choose. So, it is important that the school you attend supports you both academically and socially. 

UC Irvine is home to the only school of Information and Computer Sciences in the entire UC system, making it an ideal choice for students interested in a career in computer science or technology. UC Irvine is also a research-heavy school, with almost three-quarters of undergraduates conducting research during their time there. Additionally, the campus is located just a few minutes away from several major beaches, making it ideal for students who enjoy those kinds of activities.

Some vital questions to ask yourself before the UC application deadline include:

  • Does UC Irvine offer the major or program I want to pursue?
  • How can the opportunities at UC Irvine help me with my future goals?
  • Do the school’s mission and offerings align with my interests and values?

These questions matter much more than the UC Irvine acceptance rate or ranking. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of current students and UC Irvine admissions staff and do research on the “Discover” section of the school website. You can use this information to answer your UC Personal Insight Questions and show interest in joining the UC Irvine enrollment. This authentic interest is exactly how to get into UC Irvine. It will not only help your admission chances, but also ensure that UC Irvine is as good a fit for you as you are for it. 

Additional tips to get into UC Irvine

Start early

It is best to start planning out your UC Irvine application well ahead of the UC application deadline. This will give you time to build your candidate profile and revise your UC Personal Insight Questions. The UC System allows students to access the UC Irvine application as early as August 1st. Additionally, UC Irvine admissions accepts applications from November 1st to November 30th, the UC application deadline.

Be honest and authentic

UC Irvine does not use test scores to make UC Irvine enrollment decisions. Instead, they use the UC Irvine enrollment application and the UC Personal Insight Questions to get to know you. Let your personality and passions shine through in your UC Irvine application, and you will be a much more desirable candidate. Colleges want enthusiastic and driven learners on their campus, so don’t shy away from sharing your achievements and interests.

Get help from a trusted source

Consider letting a parent, teacher, or advisor look over your responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions and offer suggestions about how to get into UC Irvine. But, be careful not to let them complete the writing or the UC Irvine application for you; it’s vital that the application has your unique voice behind it.


This guide was written by Alex Baggott-Rowe, Davidson ’16. The UC Irvine enrollment process is difficult and though the UC Irvine acceptance rate is competitive, there are many ways to stand out. If you want to know how to get into UC Irvine, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) including graduates from the nation’s top schools. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.