Applying to UC Santa Cruz

Photo by Elena Zhukova.

Q: How do I apply for winter 2022 or fall 2022?
A: The UC Application for fall 2022 will open on August 1, 2021. Fill out your online application and submit it during the application filing period:

Fall 2022: Application filing period - November 1-30, 2021

Winter 2022 (sophomore- and junior-level transfers only: application filing period - July 1-31, 2021

The application can be used for multiple UC campuses, and it is also an application for scholarships.

Please do not send transcripts to us when applying. If you are admitted and accept our offer of admission, we will request your transcripts then. We will not retain transcripts submitted prior to admission.

Q: What are the admissions criteria? 

A: For this information, please see our Freshman and Transfer Admissions web pages.

Freshman Admissions, Transfer Admissions

Q: What standardized tests do I need to take? 

A: The University of California campuses will not consider SAT or ACT test scores when making admissions decisions or awarding scholarships. If you choose to submit test scores as part of your application, they may be used as an alternative method of fulfilling minimum requirements for eligibility or for course placement after you enroll. UC Santa Cruz will no longer use standardized exam scores in our holistic review and selection process. Like all UC campuses, we consider a broad range of factors when reviewing a student's application, from academics to extracurricular achievement and response to life challenges. No admission decision is based on a single factor. Exam scores may still be used to meet area b of the a-g subject requirements as well as the UC Entry Level Writing requirement.

Q: What are the average test scores, GPA, etc. for admitted freshmen and transfer students?  

A: For information of this kind, please see our UC Santa Cruz Statistics page. 

Q: What is the acceptance rate?  

A: In fall 2020, 65.3% of freshman applicants were accepted, and 64.0% of transfer applicants were accepted. Admissions rates vary from year to year depending on the strength of the applicant pool. 

Q: Do students from the East Coast have a greater chance of being accepted than West Coast students? 

A: All frosh, regardless of home geographic location, are reviewed and assessed using faculty-approved criteria, which can be found on the Freshman Admissions web page. UCSC seeks to admit and enroll students who will succeed at the university, including students from California and those from outside California. 

Q: What's the application fee?

The fee for applying to UC Santa Cruz is $70 for U.S. students. If you apply to more than one University of California campus at the same time, submit $70 for each UC campus you apply to. Fee waivers for up to four campuses at a time are available for students with qualifying family incomes. The fee for international applicants is $80 per campus.

Q: Do I need to send in references and recommendations?
A: Please do NOT send in any letters of recommendation or references. The university does not require or solicit letters of recommendation on behalf of applicants for undergraduate admission. Such letters are not forwarded to the admissions office with your UC Undergraduate Application.

If you already have letters of recommendation and references, however, we recommend that you keep them in case you'd like to appeal an admissions decision.

Q: How important is the Personal Insights section?
A: While academic criteria (grades, courses taken) are most important, the Personal Insights are also a very important part of the application and selection process. The Personal Insight questions are about getting to know you better - your life experiences, interests, ambitions, and inspirations.

Freshman applicants will have eight questions to choose from, and they must respond to four of the eight questions. Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.

Transfer students will have one required question, plus seven additional questions, and they must answer three out of those seven questions. As with the freshman application, each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.

Q: What is your AP policy?
A: The University of California grants credit for all College Board Advanced Placement Tests on which a student scores 3 or higher. For more information, please see our AP and IBH table and UC Office of the President information on AP and IBH.

Q: What do I have to do to establish residency in California?
A: Residency requirements are on the Office of the Registrar website. The official determination of residency happens after you are admitted: A series of questions to determine your residency status is included in the online admission acceptance. You will be notified if you are classified as a non-resident. Please email the Registrar’s Office at if you have further questions about residency.

Q: When are acceptance notices sent out?
A: For fall quarter acceptance, most notices are sent March 15–31 for freshmen and March 17–April 30 for transfer students.