UCSB: 2020 Requirements, Scores & GPAs

This is the go-to guide for getting into University of California-Santa Barbara. We suggest you read until the end... Not only will we layout the exact GPA and test scores you should aim for when applying to UCSB, but we’ll also offer creative ways to help your application stand out from the pack. We breakdown UCSB statistics better than any article out there and show you how these have changed over time. Also, make sure to check out University of California-Santa Barbara on CampusReel to see what it’s really like here. If you're interesting in transferring to UCSB, the read our transfer guide. You can also use the below calculator to help determine your likelihood of acceptance at UCSB

What are your chances at UCSB?

Your SAT Score
Your ACT Score
Select a score
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at UCSB or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    What GPA do you need to get into University of California-Santa Barbara?

    University of California-Santa Barbara’s average GPA is 4.12. University of California-Santa Barbara does require GPA. This average GPA means University of California-Santa Barbara is brutally selective - the most competitive applicants in the world are already applying to the school, in hopes of taking up residence in Santa Barbara, and, somehow, you need to be better. Generally speaking, if your GPA is not at least equal to 4.12 then University of California-Santa Barbara may be a reach. However, University of California-Santa Barbara considers the ENTIRE application - we can make up for a weak GPA with more factors that we’ll discuss below. If your GPA is equal to or greater than 4.12, you’re sitting right in the sweetspot.

    *BEFORE CONTINUING PLEASE NOTE: GPA and “prestige” DO NOT mean a college is right for you. University of California-Santa Barbara may seem amazing on paper, but you may hate it... That’s why 700,000 students transfer colleges every year - they end up going to the wrong school. It’s crucial to watch the videos on CampusReel and make sure you can envision yourself on UCSB’s campus. These UCSB admission statistics do not sufficiently tell you what a college or university is like.

    What is University of California-Santa Barbara’s acceptance rate?

    Last year University of California-Santa Barbara’s acceptance rate was 0.0. However, check out how the acceptance rate has changed over time.

    2016 2017 2018
    Acceptance Rate 36.0 % 33.0 % N/A

    As you can see, University of California-Santa Barbara is getting more and more difficult to get into. If this trend continue it’s likely that UCSB will be even more competitive by the time you apply.

    Acceptance rate alone does not indicate your likelihood for getting into UCSB - it’s a very high level understanding of the true competition. Use the acceptance rate as a general guide for curating a list of 10-15 schools that fall into different ranges of competitiveness. Then, use the below data to get a deeper understanding of how your application will compare to the rest of the pool.

    What are your chances at UCSB?

    Your SAT Score
    Your ACT Score
    Select a score
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at UCSB or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    Does University of California-Santa Barbara Require Test Scores?

    University of California-Santa Barbara requires that you either take the SAT or ACT. See the table below for how University of California-Santa Barbara’s accepted students have performed on both tests. You may be wondering how many test scores should you submit. Generally, don’t freak out about taking the test too often. Industry consensus is that you can submit up to 6 tests as a reasonable limit.

    University of California-Santa Barbara SAT Requirements

    University of California-Santa Barbara’s average SAT score is 1255 - this is the sum of the math and reading portions of the SAT (the 1600 scale). Check out the below table for a deeper look into how students performed - it’s also very interesting to look at the average test score over time. The trend over time helps give insight into whether University of California-Santa Barbara is getting more or less competitive.

    25th Percentile 75th Percentile Average
    Math 570 730 650
    Reading 550 660 605
    2019 Total 1120 1390 1255
    2018 Total - - -
    2017 Total - - -

    University of California-Santa Barbara’s average SAT score is 1255. To be a competitive applicant for University of California-Santa Barbara your SAT score should come close to the average. If you’re closer to the 1120, you’re likely going to have a tougher time getting accepted. To consider University of California-Santa Barbara a “target” school (one that you are likely to get into) you should aim for a score of 1390.

    University of California-Santa Barbara ACT Requirements

    University of California-Santa Barbara’s average ACT score is 87. To be a competitive applicant for University of California-Santa Barbara your ACT score should come close to the average. If you’re closer to the 77, you’re likely going to have a tougher time getting accepted. To consider University of California-Santa Barbara a “target” school (one that you have a good chance of getting into) you should aim for a score of 98.

    25th Percentile 75th Percentile Average
    Math 25 32 28
    Reading 25 34 29
    Writing 27 32 29
    2019 Total 77 98 87
    2018 Total - - -
    2017 Total - - -

    How hard is it to get into University of California-Santa Barbara?

    As you can see from the data above, University of California-Santa Barbara is exceptionally difficult to get into. Not only should you be aiming for a 4.12 but also SAT scores around 1255. Getting into University of California-Santa Barbara is no easy feat and you will need to set yourself apart with more than just numbers and data. Read on to learn how.

    University of California-Santa Barbara Requirements

    Now you know where you need to be for getting into University of California-Santa Barbara from a grade and test score perspective. Let’s quickly outline what else you’ll need to provide for your application to get reviewed, and then we’ll move onto the most important section: differentiating your app.

    Recommendations Status
    School Rank Required
    GPA Required
    School Record Required

    How to get into UCSB

    Follow these steps to maximize your chances of getting into UCSB. Everything you read above will help prepare you for what you need to achieve to have a shot at UCSB, but these steps will take you even further in applying that knowledge and differentiating your application.

    Main Academic Excellence that is in line with UCSB admission standards.

    1. Score at least a 1255 on the SAT or 87 on the ACT.
    2. Maintain a GPA of at least a 4.12.

    Join Extracurriculars that Align with UCSB’s Values.

    1. Join your school band, a sports team or another group activity. If University of California-Santa Barbara values music heavily, for example, then try to participate in an organization related to that topic.
    2. Volunteer in your hometown. Santa Barbara has tons of ways to be involved beyond just the college. University of California-Santa Barbara wants applicants that are also good ambassadors for the school - they want students who will give back to the local community and broader Santa Barbara area in general.
    3. Spend your summer doing something that speaks to your values, personal growth, leadership qualities and other less quantifiable characteristics. UCSB needs to see past your test scores and grades - they need to know that you will be a valuable and contributing member of their community. You are more than grades and test scores - your experiences should demonstrate that.

    Prepare Your Application

    1. Write a stellar essay that shows University of California-Santa Barbara something they can’t figure out from the other parts of your application. For a detailed guide on writing the best college essay, check this out.
    2. Get teacher recs that speak to your character. If you know what you’re majoring in and include that in your UCSB app, try to have at least 1 recommendation from a teacher in that department.
    3. Apply Before the Deadline. Too many students wait until the last minute to submit their application, and too much can go wrong during this precious time window. Since many students are applying on the last day, it’s possible that UCSB’s own system crashes. Don’t risk the added stress this can cause - submit your app a few days early.

    What are your chances at UCSB?

    Your SAT Score
    Your ACT Score
    Select a score
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • Your GPA*
    on a 4.0 scale

    *gpa score is required

    This free college chances tool calculates your acceptance chances at UCSB or any other U.S. college

    Please note all chances are estimates based on test score and GPA averages.

    *or select a school above for a specific calculation

    Need chances at another college?

    Related College & Universities: