UC Irvine Admissions: The SAT, ACT Scores, and GPA You Need to Get In

UC Irvine Admissions - image by Magoosh

In the heart of Orange Country, between the Pacific Ocean and the San Bernardino Mountains, you’ll find UC Irvine–a public research university and one of the 10 campuses that make up the University of California (UC) system.

A relatively new school, UC Irvine was established in 1965 in response to the growing popularity of the UC system. Since then, it’s quickly made a name for itself.

Times Higher Education ranked UCI the number one university in the US under 50 years of age from, every year from 2012 until 2015 (which was the final year the school was eligible for this ranking).

This year Forbes ranked UCI the 3th Best Value College in America, alongside schools like Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Amherst, UC Berkeley and UCLA. Not bad company!

Also the UCI mascot is an anteater, despite the fact that no wild anteaters have ever lived in America.

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Has your interest been piqued? Well you’re in luck! Today, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about UC Irvine admissions–including how to get into UC Irvine, UC Irvine SAT scores, UC Irvine ACT scores, general college application tips, and much more!

So what do you need to know about how to get into UC Irvine?

UC Irvine at a Glance

UC Irvine SAT Scores (middle 50%)1190 - 1410
UC Irvine ACT Scores (middle 50%)25 - 33
UC Irvine Admissions Rate28.8%
UC Irvine GPA (middle 50%)3.96 - 4.26

UC Irvine SAT Scores

Want to know more about the most recent UC Irvine SAT scores? You saw the mid-range above; now let’s get a little more specific.

Evidence Based Reading & Writing580 - 670
Mathematics610 - 740
Essay15 - 18

So what do these scores mean for you?

Well, here at Magoosh, we recommend setting your SAT goal score at the 75% percentile mark. This ensures that you are well above average in the pool of applicants you will be competing with, but that your not pressuring yourself to get a perfect 1600 when you really don’t need one. Not that there’s anything wrong with aiming high, but the time it would take you to get from the 75th percentile to, say, the 99th, would almost certainly be better spend bolstering other parts of your application.

So…what should your UC Irvine SAT goal scores be? According to the chart, your best bet is to aim for a 740 in Math, a 670 in EBRW, and an 18 on your Essay*. We recommend taking the SAT as many times as necessary to get there.

*Unlike many schools, UCI requires you submit the SAT Essay along with your other scores.

UC Irvine ACT Scores

Reading 23 - 32
Math25 - 32
Writing24 - 30

Just like your UC Irvine SAT goal scores, you should set your UC Irvine ACT goal scores for the 75th percentile.

Aim for a:

  • A 32 ACT Reading Score
  • A 32 ACT Math Score
  • A 30 ACT English Language Arts*

*same deal here, if you’re going to apply to UC Irvine with the ACT, you’ll have to take the ACT Writing section (or else you won’t receive an ELA score).

UC Irvine Admissions Rate

This year, 97,937 students applied to UC Irvine and 29,245 were accepted, making the UC Irvine admissions rate 28.8%.

UC Irvine GPA Average

The average GPA of students admitted to UC Irvine is 4.11…which, as you’ve probably noticed, is above a 4.0. This means that the average UC Irvine admitted student is performing well in at least a few honors, AP, and IB classes to get that extra grade point boos–so you’ll want to as well.

Find out how your school calculates your GPA to see if you’re on track!

UC Irvine also has a minimum GPA requirement: 3.0 for California residents and 3.4 for non-residents. However, this GPA is calculated only from certain courses, so make sure you check those out.

Remember that GPA and test scores aren’t the be-all and end-all. If your scores are a bit lower, you can balance them out with great letters of recommendation and essays!

UC Irvine Freshman Profile

So just who becomes a UC Irvine student? A whopping 80% of these students are from California–which might not surprise you, considering California residents receive a huge tuition cut at the UC schools (not just at Irvine, but also at UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, and others). What’s more surprising is that 18% come from outside the United States, while only 2% of the UC Irvine freshman population is made up of students from other U.S. states and territories.


Does UC Irvine offer any classes online?
It does! The UCI Division of Continuing Education offers a limited number of programs online, which can be found under the “Course” tab on their website.

Can I apply to UC Irvine as a readmission or re-entry applicant?
Yes–if you are an adult aged 25 years or older and have either experienced a significant break in your education, or decided to earn a university degree for the first time. Contact a UCI counselor in your perspective major for more information.

Do I need to take the SAT or ACT essay?
Yes! Don’t forget!

How do I notify UCI that I got a D or an F my senior year?
If you earn any D’s or F’s after applying to UC Irvine, you’re responsible for notify the school using the Message Center in your MyAdmission account. The school will then be able to advise you on how to remain eligible for admission.

How to Get Into UC Irvine

How to get into UC Irvine? Let’s recap!

Here’s your “How To Get Into UC Irvine” Checklist…You need:

Check all those boxes, and you’ll be ready to start packing your bags for sunny Southern California!

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Happy studying! 🙂

Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

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  • Molly Kiefer

    Molly is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She designs Magoosh’s graphic assets, manages our YouTube channels and podcasts, and contributes to the Magoosh High School Blog.

    Since 2014, Molly has tutored high school and college students preparing for the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. She began her tutoring journey while in undergrad, helping her fellow students master math, computer programming, Spanish, English, and Philosophy.

    Molly graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and she continues to study ethics to this day. An artist at heart, Molly loves blogging, making art, taking long walks and serving as personal agent to her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

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