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Summer 2003
Getting In
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While the process of admitting students to UCLA is a frustrating mystery to many people, it is one of integrity, sensitively calibrated to be balanced and fair.

By Judy Lin-Eftekhar and Karen Mack ’79

AT FIRST LOOK, the two students appear identical in nearly every respect.

Both applied to UCLA for admission in Fall 2003 with stellar 4.04 Grade Point Averages and excellent scores of 1260 and 1240 on their SATs. Likewise, they both did well on their SAT II tests. Each took multiple semesters of Advanced Placement and honors courses. They both received a variety of accolades and participated in an array of activities beyond the classroom.

They are two students among the nearly 45,000 who applied for admission (as well as being among the almost 19,000, about 40 percent, who had GPAs of 4.0 or higher — enough students with straight A’s to make up more than four complete freshman classes). One of these students got in. The other was one of the 34,000 who were turned away.

Why?

For the three of every four applicants to UCLA and their families who receive the disheartening news that they didn’t get in, questions inevitably arise: I did great in school, I worked hard, why wasn’t I selected? Why did a classmate I know with the same grades and test scores (or maybe even lower ones) get in over me? How was the decision made?

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