UCLA starts accepting applications on October 1st. The first steps include: 1) get an application via the UCLA website; 2) find out if there an advantage to applying early; 3) review what is needed to apply for financial aide; 4) start looking at the essays and outline what you want to write about in your essays.
I highly recommend that you look/apply to at least 2/3 other schools. This is very important.
The time to apply is the Fall of senior year in high school. Assuming you are a senior now, apply between October 1st and November 30th - UCLA website: https://admission.ucla.edu/apply/freshman#:~:text=Dates%20and%20Deadlines,submitted%20October%201%E2%80%93November%2030.
Generally, I would recommend applying as early as possible because sometimes the budget for merit scholarships runs out. (That happened to one of my children at another public university). Applying early assumes that you have had the time to complete the application carefully and write a thoughtful essay.
I also agree that applying to other places is a good idea. The College Board has an online resource to help you identify similar places, and your school may have another one, such as Naviance. For the same reason, I would apply to at least one or two in November. However, if you want to wait until you hear from UCLA, many colleges / universities have application deadlines in January or even a few in February.
Martha recommends the following next steps:
Jasmine Guillory RN,BSN Aspiring Cyber Security Professional
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Once you're accepted, you'll want to dive right into exploring all that UCLA has to offer. Take a tour of the campus, secure your housing, and discover the mentorship and tutoring opportunities available. It's also important to familiarize yourself with safety measures, locate the nearest emergency hospital, and so on.
Remember, your ultimate aim is not just to gain admission, but to thrive once you're there. So, let's get started on crafting a successful plan for your UCLA experience. Your future awaits!