University of Central Florida (UCF) – Acceptance Rate, GPA, and Requirements

Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida has obvious geographic appeal for potential students. In addition to world-renowned theme parks, the city is also home to a variety of museums, cultural centers, restaurants, and outdoor attractions.

UCF’s location makes it an excellent option for students who want to play just as hard as they work, and the institution consistently achieves high accolades from major higher learning publications. 

Love video games? UCF boasts a top-tier graduate game design program, according to The Princeton Review and PC Gamer.

CEOWORLD named UCF the #4 hospitality school in the entire world! 

The BS in Hospitality Management offers specific focuses in theme park and attraction management, as well as lodging management and hospitality information technology. 

Students in that program can expect to gain hands-on experience in all facets of hospitality, from marketing and accounting to wine culture and tourism.

Students who wish to pursue a career in emergency and crisis management have a wealth of opportunities at UCF – the U.S. News & World Report ranked their program as #2 in the nation. Graduates from this program can expect a high median starting salary after they have spent years interning with local government agencies and participating in live training exercises.

Most students opt to major in psychology, integrated business, or criminal justice, but there is something from everyone in the 100+ undergraduate programs offered by UCF. 

Curious to learn more about UCF and if it is a great fit? Read ahead to learn about UCF’s acceptance rate, admissions requirements, and GPA/standardized test score statistics of admitted students.

University of Central Florida Acceptance Rate

UCF Library
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

UCF accepted 45% of students who applied for admission to the 2021-2022 freshman class – out of nearly 48,000 applicants, 21,661 were accepted. 

90% of admitted students are Florida residents, while 7% of students come from out-of-state and 3% are international students.

As of the fall 2021 semester, UCF’s total enrollment amounted to 70,406 students, positioning the university as the most-populated institution in Florida. 

That being said, only 7,141 of those students were newly-admitted first-year students. The populations of transfer students and graduate students both exceed the number of first-year students. 

UCF’s total enrollment also includes students participating in UCF’s online programs; in total, the university enrolls 3,730 undergraduate students and 2,893 graduate students in a variety of online classes.

University of Central Florida GPA

The high student population at UCF does not mean that they are a less competitive institution. The fall 2021 incoming first-year class maintained an average weighted high school GPA of 4.25, which is considered to be strong. 

Students accepted to the Burnett Honors College typically represent 8% of UCF’s total population, and the average weighted high school GPA for the most recent incoming first-year class was 4.51.

To gain admittance to the Burnett Honors College, applicants should have a competitive weighted high school GPA and senior class rank. SAT and/or ACT scores and advanced coursework in AP, IB, and Dual Enrollment programs are also considered. 

UCF SAT & ACT Requirements

UCF does require all applicants to submit standardized test scores – either the SAT or ACT will suffice. While there is no minimum score required for admittance, hopeful applicants should submit a strong ACT composite (combination of English, Math, Reading, and Science scores) or SAT “Superscore” (combined scores of the Mathematics and Evidence-based Reading and Writing scores). 

In the fall of 2021, the incoming freshman class maintained an average SAT Superscore of 1325 (out of 1600) and an average ACT composite of 28.6 (out of 36). 

The freshmen class profile at the Burnett Honors College exceeds these averages, with an average SAT Superscore totaling 1467 and an average ACT composite of 32.8.

Other Requirements and Admission Tips for UCF

University of Central Florida
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

The University of Central Florida has five core requirements for admission. All hopeful applicants must complete the SPARK form – the Self-Provided Academic Record for Knights (the Knights being UCF’s mascot). 

The SPARK form should be accompanied by a current official high school or home-school transcript (for those who have already completed their high school diploma requirements).

The next four items include official SAT or ACT scores, a $30 nonrefundable application fee, an online application, and an official GED or TOEFL/IELTS score, if applicable. 

Application essays (which we will discuss in the next section) are strongly encouraged but not required.

Unlike many colleges and universities, UCF does not require letters of recommendation as part of the admissions process; students who submit them should not expect them to be considered. 

UCF operates on a rolling admissions system, which means that they evaluate applications as they are received. 

The school encourages first-year applicants to apply as early as possible (between September and December of their senior year) if they want the best chances to be considered for scholarships and admittance. 

First-year applicants intending to start school in the following fall semester should submit all of their application materials no later than May 1, while those hoping to begin in the spring have until November 1. 

All applicants will be notified of their admission decision as soon as possible, and no later than May 31 (for those hoping to commence their studies in the fall).

Essays for UCF 

As previously mentioned, UCF’s essays are an optional component of the admissions process. That being said, submitting essay responses may provide a more holistic representation of a student’s strengths and value to the competitive institution.

In their most recent essay section, UCF listed four possible topics. The school stipulated that their responses for each question should not exceed 500 words (or 7,000 characters). Of the four topics, UCF asked students to respond to at least two:

If there has been some obstacle or bump in the road in your academic or personal life, please explain the circumstances.

How has your family history, culture, or environment influenced who you are?

Why did you choose to apply to UCF?’

What qualities or unique characteristics do you possess that will allow you to contribute to the UCF community?

Depending on the applicants, 500 words could seem like too little or more than enough space to represent themselves accurately. 

Excellent essay responses should tell a story about that individual applicant – something that sets them apart from others in a unique way. 

For those who feel like a 500-word limit is too restrictive, consider eliminating any details that other applicants might also repeat. 

Students who struggle to provide a substantial response should focus on the quality of an experience or talent, versus the quantity. 

For example, listing the names of sports and clubs they were involved in might not make them stand out; however, focusing on one particular experience and reflecting on how it contributed to their development or passions may provide a more interesting and complete representation of that student.

Is UCF Right for You?

UCF Arena
Aent at English Wikipedia, UCF Arena, CC BY-SA 3.0

There are many factors that applicants should review when deciding the college best suited for their preferences and aspirations. 

Location, types of programs, tuition, student population, and available opportunities are just a few things to consider.

UCF is a great option for students who are concerned about high tuition costs and other associated fees. For in-state students, the total estimated annual cost of attendance is roughly $24,000, and tuition makes up approximately 25% of that cost. 

Annual attendance costs for out-of-state students totals just over $40,000, with tuition representing over 50% of the cost. Both figures are based on students enrolling in 30 total credit hours over an academic year.

While out-of-state students may be overwhelmed by higher tuition costs, there are several options to reduce the financial strain. 

Those who earn a designated SAT or ACT score and meet other requirements may be eligible to have their out-of-state tuition fees waived if they have a living grandparent who is a legal resident of the state of Florida (UCF refers to this option as the “grandfather clause”).

There is also a strong chance that an applicant will receive financial aid in some form, upon completing their FAFSA and CSS profile – UCF reports that 81% of their undergraduate students benefit from loans, scholarships, grants, or work-study programs.

Most college students can expect to graduate with some form of educational debt. 

While 42% of American college students graduate without owing any money to outside lenders, over 57% of first-time-in-college (FTIC) students at UCF graduate without any form of educational debt – definitely something to consider when deciding which college is the best option!

All in all, if an applicant seeks to study in a diverse, highly-populated student environment in a fun, stimulating location, then UCF is a very appealing choice.

Florida residents, specifically, stand to benefit the most from affordable tuition rates, though the chances of receiving financial assistance are high for the vast majority of applicants.

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