UCLA has received the largest number of applications in its history for fall 2021 admission, with steep increases in freshman applications from African American and Chicano/Latino students and a significant jump in in-state applicants.

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, freshman applications grew by 28%, from nearly 109,000 last year to almost 139,500, making UCLA once again the most applied-to university in the nation.

This year saw significant growth in the racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic diversity of UCLA’s applicant pool, marked by a notable surge in applicants from groups that have been historically underrepresented on campus.

Freshman applications from African Americans rose by 48%, from approximately 6,100 last year to more than 9,000 this year, while those from Chicano/Latino students increased by 33%, from approximately 24,200 to more than 32,300. The number of Pacific Islander and American Indian freshman applicants also grew, by 34% and 16%, respectively.

“These significant increases are partly the result of our robust outreach efforts and our partnerships with high schools and community-based organizations, particularly in underserved communities,” said Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, UCLA’s vice provost for enrollment management. “But we also recognize that the removal of standardized testing as a requirement for admission played a role in these substantial increases.” 

Video: Youlonda Copeland-Morgan discusses UCLA's recruitment and outreach, and this year's historic number of applicants.

Applications from prospective Asian American and white freshmen also rose, by 22% and 35%, respectively, and freshman applications from California residents grew by 28%, from nearly 68,000 to more than 84,100.

UCLA continues to attract freshman applicants from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, and despite the challenges students and their families have faced the past year, applications increased by 28% among prospective first-generation students and by 25% among students from low-income families.

“We are deeply impressed by how well students have navigated the application process amid the hardships brought on by the pandemic,” said Gary Clark, UCLA’s director of undergraduate admission. “They remained focused in the face of adversity and have submitted applications that demonstrate their outstanding talents and academic achievements.”

Transfer students

Driven in part by UCLA’s recruiting efforts throughout California, applications from community college transfer students also grew this year. Nearly 28,500 transfer students applied for fall 2021 admission, compared with 26,000 last year — an increase of 10%.

This growth included healthy jumps in applications from underrepresented students, including an 8% increase in African American prospective transfers and a 10% increase in Chicano/Latino transfer applicants.

“Transfer students continue to bring academic excellence, diverse perspectives and rich experiences to our campus community,” Copeland-Morgan said. “Serving transfer students remains a top priority for UCLA and the UC system, and we are heartened to see more of them considering UCLA, especially California community college students.”

UCLA will notify freshman applicants of admission decisions by April 1, and admitted students will have until May 1 to notify the campus of their intent to register. Transfer students will be notified of admission decisions by April 30 and will have until June 1 to commit.

Tables with systemwide application statistics and data for all nine UC undergraduate campuses are available from the University of California Office of the President. (Note: Information in this release on the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of UCLA’s applicant pool is for all U.S. applicants. The UC tables apply only to California residents.)

► News media: For a link to electronic press kit assets, please email mabraham@stratcomm.ucla.edu.