Ucla Essays Faculty Committee Classroom

Freshman Selection - Fall 2018

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Each year, UCLA considers many more excellent applicants for freshmen admission than it can possibly admit. The goal of the campus’ admissions review process is to single out from a large and growing pool of academically strong applicants those unique individuals who have demonstrated the intellectual curiosity, tenacity, and commitment to community service expected of the UCLA graduate. These select applicants are the ones who would contribute the most to UCLA’s dynamic learning environment; they are also the applicants who would make the most of being immersed in it. Although high school grade point average and standardized test scores are important indicators of academic achievement used in UCLA’s admissions review, they only tell part of the story.

As a public, land grant institution of higher learning, UCLA has a mandate to serve the State of California by educating its future leaders in research, industry, and the arts. California’s future depends heavily on this important charge. While California law prohibits the consideration of an applicant’s race and/or gender in individual admission decisions, the University also has a mandate to reflect the diversity of the state’s population in its student body. Student diversity is a compelling interest at UCLA. It contributes to a rich and stimulating learning environment, one that best prepares leaders-in-the-making for the challenges and opportunities of California, the nation, and beyond.

Admission Review Process

Selection is based on a comprehensive review of all information—both academic and personal—presented in the application. All applications are read twice, in their entirety, by professionally trained readers. After independently reading and analyzing a file, the reader determines a comprehensive score that is the basis upon which the student is ultimately admitted or denied. In addition, admissions managers conduct multiple checks for consistency and completeness throughout the reading process. While this evaluation process is based on human judgments rather than a system that quantifies factors and incorporates them into a numerical formula, the extensive reader training, comprehensive reading of files, as well as other monitoring procedures, ensure that the process is highly reliable. Formal tests of reliability are conducted regularly to assure quality control.

The admission review reflects the readers’ thoughtful consideration of the full spectrum of the applicant’s qualifications, based on all evidence provided in the application, and viewed in the context of the applicant’s academic and personal circumstances and the overall strength of the UCLA applicant pool. Using a broad concept of merit, readers employ the following criteria which carry no pre-assigned weights:

  1. The applicant’s full record of achievement in college preparatory work in high school, including the number and rigor of courses taken and grades earned in those courses. Consideration will be given to completion of courses beyond the University's a-g minimums; strength of the senior year course load; and performance in honors, college level, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate Higher Level (IBHL) courses to the extent that such courses are available to the applicant. In assessing achievement levels, consideration will be given to individual grades earned, to the pattern of achievement over time, and to an applicant’s achievement relative to that of others in his or her high school, including whether he or she is among those identified as Eligible in the Local Context.
  2. Personal qualities of the applicant, including leadership ability, character, motivation, tenacity, initiative, originality, creativity, intellectual independence, responsibility, insight, maturity, and demonstrated concern for others and for the community. These qualities may not be reflected in traditional measures of academic achievement. They may be found elsewhere in the application and judged by the reader as positive indicators of the student’s ability to succeed at UCLA and beyond.
  3. Likely contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus. In addition to a broad range of intellectual interests and achievements, consideration will be given to evidence of an applicant’s ability and desire to contribute to a campus that values cultural, socioeconomic, and intellectual diversity. This includes the likelihood that the student would make meaningful and unique contributions to intellectual and social interchanges with faculty and fellow students, both inside and outside the classroom.
  4. Performance on standardized tests, including the ACT plus Writing or SAT, and any AP or IBHL examinations the applicant may have taken. Applicants who have not had the opportunity to take AP or IBHL courses or who have chosen not to take the examinations for these courses will not be disadvantaged. Test scores will be evaluated in the context of all other academic information in the application and preference will be given to tests that show a demonstrable relationship to curriculum and to Academic Senate statements of competencies expected of entering college students. Under no circumstances does UCLA employ minimum scores or "cut-offs" of any kind.
  5. Achievement in academic enrichment programs, including, but not limited to, those sponsored by the University of California. This criterion will be measured by time and depth of participation, by the academic progress made by the applicant during that participation, and by the intellectual rigor of the particular program.
  6. Other evidence of achievement. This criterion will recognize exemplary, sustained achievement in any field of intellectual or creative endeavor; accomplishments in the performing arts and athletics; employment; leadership in school or community organizations or activities; and community service.
  7. Opportunities. All achievements, both academic and non-academic, are considered in the context of the opportunities an applicant has had, and the reader’s assessment is based on how fully the applicant has taken advantage of those opportunities. In evaluating the context in which academic accomplishments have taken place, readers consider the strength of the high school curriculum, including the availability of honors, AP, and IBHL courses, and the total number of college preparatory courses available, among other indicators of the resources available within the school. When appropriate and feasible, readers look comparatively at the achievements of applicants in the same pool who attended the same high school and therefore might be expected to have similar opportunities to achieve.
  8. Challenges. For an applicant who has faced any hardships or unusual circumstances, readers consider the maturity, determination, and insight with which he or she has responded to and/or overcome them. Readers also consider other contextual factors that bear directly on the applicant’s achievement, including linguistic background, parental education level, and other indicators of support available in the home. 

In applying the criteria above, readers carefully consider evidence provided in the personal insight questions, as well as in the academic record and list of honors and achievements. It is important that the student as an individual comes through in the personal insight questions.

Selection

UCLA is among the most selective universities in the country and is becoming more competitive for freshman applicants each year. This past year UCLA received more than 102,000 applications.  Generally the campus is able to admit about one in six freshman applicants for the fall term.

For the College of Letters and Science, the applicant's major is not considered during the review process. The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science admits students by declared major, with more emphasis on science and math programs. The School of Nursing also places more emphasis on science and math programs and requires the submission of an additional supplemental application. The School of the Arts and Architecture; Herb Alpert School of Music; and the School of Theater, Film and Television admit students by declared major (within the school), and put more emphasis on special talents through a review of portfolios and/or auditions, which are the most significant admission factors for these schools.

This blog post is part of our "Application Insider" blog post series that provides insider information, tips, and advice about applying to the UCLA Anderson MBA program.



APPLICATION INSIDER TOPIC:

REAPPLICANTS

 

If you were unsuccessful in getting admitted into our MBA program, do not be discouraged! Sometimes there is just not enough room for all of the qualified candidates, or perhaps you needed a bit more time to strengthen the competitiveness of your profile.  The good news is that the applicant pool changes every year and you have additional time to improve your candidacy, so we highly encourage individuals to re-apply to our program. Every year, we accept a group of highly qualified re-applicants to our program, who go on to be very successful throughout the MBA program and into their post-MBA careers.  

When the Admissions Committee reviews re-applicant profiles, we want to see that you have taken this additional time to strengthen your candidacy. To do so, we recommend that you take an honest look at your prior application and reflect on where you can strengthen your profile. Some areas you may want to evaluate include: 

  • Academics: While you cannot change your undergraduate GPA, if you feel your academic performance was sub par or that you didn't demonstrate your ability to handle quantitative work, you may want to consider taking additional course(s)...and perform well in those courses! The Admissions Committee will still be evaluating your undergraduate performance as a part of your profile, but additional coursework may help demonstrate your ability to handle the academic rigor of our program. 
  • Test Scores: Many of our re-applicants use the additional time to re-take the GMAT/GRE to help improve their candidacy. The higher the score, the better, but look at our class profile GMAT averages and 80% range to help you evaluate whether or not you should take the test again -- also remember that we admit individuals below (and above) these averages every year.  Ultimately, if you believe you can do better on the exam, you may want to consider re-taking it if you believe it will improve your candidacy and is worth your time, energy, and money. Note that your standardized test scores (GMAT, GRE, TOEFL and IELTS) remain on file if previously reported, though scores are still subject to expiration dates.
  • Professional & Extracurricular Experiences: In the the time since your prior application, you should have had sufficient time to build upon your professional experiences (i.e., new skillsets, accomplishments, projects, etc.) and extracurricular activities (i.e., new leadership opportunities, volunteering, etc.). Make sure to highlight these in your application.
  • Self-reflection & Research: Take the time to think about what you communicated in your previous application (especially in your essay) and ask yourself some of these questions: Have my post-MBA goals changed? Did I demonstrate why now is the right time in my career path to get an MBA? Do I have a better understanding of what UCLA Anderson's program has to offer me?  Was I clear in my goals and why I want to go to UCLA Anderson? Your re-application will be a fresh start for you, meaning it is definitely OK to have new goals if you feel they have changed. 

The good news is that the process to re-apply is streamlined for those who submitted a completed UCLA Anderson full-time MBA application within the previous two years (i.e., who applied for the MBA program start in 2016 or 2017 -- if you applied prior to the previous two years, you are considered a "new" applicant). You will only need to submit one new recommendation and you will be asked to respond to a different essay question, which is the following for this application season: 

Please describe your career progress since you last applied and how you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words maximum)

Check back for more "Application Insider" blog posts that will cover information and tips on the many aspects of applying to the UCLA Anderson MBA program!

 

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Questions? Contact us at: mba.admissions@anderson.ucla.edu

Here's an insider tip to consider as you respond to this re-applicant essay question and put together your application: The Admissions Committee member may reference your entire previous application to provide context, but do not assume that they will necessarily do so. This is a positive for you because you're essentially starting with a fresh slate. But this also does mean you need to communicate everything you want the Admissions Committee to know that you may have covered in your prior application, in addition to highlighting any updates and progress you have made.  

Ultimately, your reapplication gives you a fresh start and puts you on the same evaluation standards as first-time applicants, giving you absolutely no disadvantage to reapplying.

 

 

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