As one of the most prestigious public universities in the United States, the University of California (UC) has a highly competitive admissions process. Preliminary admissions data for Fall 2023 sheds some light on trends in the UC system, which includes 9 undergraduate campuses.

Systemwide, the freshman admission rate rose from 60 percent to 63 percent compared to last year. The rate for admitted California residents increased from 64 to 67 percent, and the rate for out-of-state applicants increased from 48 to 53 percent. One reason for this year’s increase in admission rates is that applications declined 2.1 percent, while total acceptances rose 3.3 percent systemwide. 

 Application interest in UC schools is expected to remain high for Fall 2024. If the trends persist, out-of-state (and international) applicants may continue to have advantages at some UC campuses that seek increased diversity and full-pay students, especially at Davis, Irvine, and Santa Cruz. Below is a summary of Fall 2023 admission rates at each campus, in order of selectiveness.

 Selectiveness Ranking by Campus

  • UCLA: This remained the most selective campus, with an overall admission rate of about 9 percent. Rates were steady for residents at 9.5 percent and out-of-state applicants at 8.6 percent.
  • Berkeley: The admission rate remained at about 12 percent overall, with resident acceptances up 4.5 percent and out-of-state acceptances down 12 percent.
  • Irvine: The admission rate rose from 21 to 26 percent due to a 2 percent increase in applications and 25 percent increase in acceptances. Resident acceptances were up from 18 to 20 percent, and out-of-state acceptances rose from 37 to 47 percent.
  • San Diego: The admission rate rose from 24 to 25 percent, with resident acceptances at 25 percent and out-of-state acceptances at 32 percent. The school saw a 4 percent increase in acceptances overall.
  • Santa Barbara: Admitted students increased by 8 percent and the overall admission rate rose from 26 to 28 percent. The acceptance rate for out-of-state applicants increased by 13 percent.
  • Davis: Admit rates rose from 38 to 42 percent overall, driven by an 11 percent increase in acceptances. Davis continues to admit out-of-state applicants at much higher rates than California residents, this year at 61 percent and 36 percent respectively.
  • Santa Cruz: This school saw the biggest increase in admission rates, from 47 to 63 percent since last year; the number of applicants rose by 5 percent and acceptances rose by 39 percent. The resident admission rate increased from 43 to 60 percent, while out-of-state applicants maintained an advantage with admission rates increasing from 71 to 81 percent.
  • Riverside: The admission rate increased from 69 to 71 percent overall, with California residents making up 82 percent of the admits. Applications increased 4 percent and acceptances rose 8 percent since last year.
  • Merced: The newest UC campus (opened in 2005) admitted 93 percent of applicants for Fall 2023 and remains California resident-centric.


Rank Campus Admit Rate (2023) Admit Rate (2022)
1 Los Angeles 8.8% 8.6%
2 Berkeley 11.6% 11.4%
3 Irvine 25.8% 21%
4 San Diego 24.7% 23.7%
5 Santa Barbara 27.9% 25.9%
6 Davis 41.9% 37.5%
7 Santa Cruz 62.7% 47.2%
8 Riverside 70.9% 68.5%
9 Merced 93.3% 103.9%
  Total 62.8% 59.6%

 Source: https://www.ucop.edu/institutional-research-academic-planning/_files/factsheets/2023/admission-table-1-1.pdf