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UC San Diego Offers Admission to More Diverse California Residents

Nearly two-thirds of admitted first-year and transfer students are from California, up 7% from last year


  • Erika Johnson

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  • Erika Johnson

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UC San Diego students at welcome week events

Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

A growing number of California residents continue to gain access to the University of California San Diego. This year, out of 118,372 applications received, the campus admitted 32,016 first-year and 10,829 transfer students for fall 2019. There was a 7% increase among admitted California residents from the previous year, with more than one-third of first-year students from Southern California and 93.8% of transfers from a California Community College. More importantly, these newly-admitted students reflect the growing diversity of our state and offer an opportunity for generations to rise—41% of admitted students from California are the first in their family to attend college.

"During our strategic planning process in 2012, UC San Diego made a commitment to diversify our student body in order to better reflect California’s population,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “From 2012 to 2019, the number of overall admitted students increased 40% while the number of admitted students from underrepresented groups increased 68%. To achieve this, we expanded recruiting efforts, established the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program, and invested in student success programs that work to ensure students feel included and ready to flourish.”

UC San Diego is committed to providing access and cultivating an inclusive campus community where all students can thrive. At the first-year level, there is a 27.9% growth among admitted African American students, 9.4% increase for Latinx/Chicanx students and 5.6% growth among Native American students compared to last year. The number of admitted transfer students from underrepresented groups also grew, including a 13.9% increase among African American students and a 15.6% rise for Latinx/Chicanx admits.

UC San Diego students at Teaching and Learning Commons study space

At UC San Diego, students can find find a robust network of resources designed for academic, personal and professional success.

When the new class of students arrive on campus this fall, they will find a robust network of student-centered, high-impact resources designed for academic, personal and professional success. These range from the Student Success Coaching Program, to the Colleges’ First-Year Experience courses, to numerous campus community centers. Spaces for academic support and tutoring include the Teaching + Learning Commons and the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS).  

Additionally, students will be welcomed to an Ashoka-designated Changemaker Campus with more than 600 registered student organizations, various recreational offerings and growing support for student health and well-being, including a Basic Needs Hub that connects students to on- and off-campus resources supporting retention and success. Most recently, UC San Diego launched the Latinx/Chicanx Academic Excellence Initiative to support California’s fastest growing population. The program centralizes resources across campus that recognize Latinx students’ culture, identity, family and life experiences as they work toward their academic and professional goals.

As a top-ranked public research university, UC San Diego is dedicated to elevating the futures of California students. This year, 37% of first-year and 49% of transfer-admitted students from California are the first in their family to attend college. In addition, 34% of first-year and 52% of transfer students from California come from low-income households.

UC San Diego Chancellor's Associates Scholars

The Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program began in 2013 and has since grown to include over 850 first-year and transfer scholars.

More than 70% of UC San Diego students obtain financial aid, while hundreds receive a full scholarship through the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program. The program began in 2013 as a partnership with three local high schools and has since expanded to eligible students from over 100 high schools, community colleges and community-based organizations across the state. This year, more than 500 scholarships were offered—a 38% increase from last year—with the ultimate goal of serving 800 scholars annually. Over 70% of scholars in the program are first in their family to attend college, and 55% identify as Latinx/Chicanx.

The academic caliber of students at UC San Diego continues to impress. The average GPA among new first-year admits is 4.13. They bring average SAT scores of 635 for Reading, 698 for Math and 648 for Writing. Among transfer admits, the average GPA is 3.63.

The campus is experiencing a physical transformation with new colleges, including residential halls and community spaces rising. This week, the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood—an innovative live, learn and play community—reached 50% completion, with students expected to move in by September 2020.

Many students are drawn to UC San Diego for the opportunity to take part in the campus’s interdisciplinary and collaborative learning environments. For example, more than 200 faculty members and students from 20+ disciplines work together at the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute to look deeper at the data that drives innovative research and discovery. Their research includes digitally monitoring the health of coral reefs, developing personalized medicine by analyzing individual genomes, designing highly specialized robotics and more.

UC San Diego art student

UC San Diego continues to admit more students in the arts and humanities.

The five most popular majors for UC San Diego first-year admits are biology, math, economics, chemistry/biochemistry and psychology. For transfers, the most popular chosen areas of study are economics, biology, political science, sociology and psychology. There was a 28% increase in the number of first-year and 16.1% increase in transfer students majoring in art. Social science majors continue to attract the most transfer students—54.8%.

The campus admitted more females than males, with 51.6% female and 45.7% male among first-year students and 49.6% female and 48.6% male among transfer students. A total of 2.7% of first-year and 1.8% of transfers chose not to respond to the question.

Learn more on the UC San Diego Admissions website.

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