A Visit to the University of California San Diego

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By Sue Luse


As you might imagine, UCSD is the number one surf school in the country and has gorgeous weather year round. There are approximately 23,000 undergrad students – lots of skateboards and flip flops. This school is more conservative than Berkeley.  Engineering and science are strong here. Very diverse student with plenty of international students. Asian students comprise 45% of the student body. Research is not as popular as with other institutions and not nearly as available. Recognized by the Washington Monthly as the nation’s top “positive impact” college, in rankings that measure research, social mobility and commitment to service.

UCSD Campus


UCSD has a a unique College System – like Harry Potter :}. There are six colleges to choose from and each provide students with small communities within the university as a whole. The colleges also provide their students with many of the advantages of a small liberal arts college plus the opportunities and resources of a large research university. When applying at UCSD, you are asked to rank the six colleges in order of preference. Every college has students from all the majors offered at UCSD. Each college has something unique to offer presenting a choice of general education programs distinctive to each college. Students take only their college’s core courses and writing program courses with students from their home college. The great majority of  courses are taken with students from all the colleges.


  • Based on 10th and 11th year grades only
  • Cannot drop courses in your senior year
  • Requires ACT with Writing
  • No superscore
  • Seniors can take exams in December
  • SAT II not required
  • They recommend not to take 5 AP classes in one year
  • Holistic review
  • 33% acceptance rate
  • Average GPA is 4.1 weighted
  • Average ACT score is 29

Costs/Financial Aid

Out of state tuition is $52,000 per year. Approximately 65% of students receive financial aid. It is difficult to get residency. California funds the resident students so UCSD needs to admit the majority of students from California.  Only approximately 10% of students are from out of state.

ucsd-studentsUCSD Bikes

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