How to Get In: UC Berkeley Admissions Requirements

Ever wondered what it would be like to go deep-sea diving?

Bet you didn’t know that it was a UC Berkeley Chemistry Professor that made it possible…I didn’t!

UCB prides itself on a number of accomplishments and ranks highly in a number of areas. With a 20% average acceptance rate for incoming, Out-of-State Freshmen, UC Berkeley admissions are definitely competitive…

Don’t be intimidated! As always, we’re here to help.

Keep reading for How to Get In: UC Berkeley Admissions Requirements.

And.. if you are really feeling ambitious make sure to register for our next FREE live webinar by clicking here! In the webinar, we will ensure you are taking the necessary steps for college, scholarship, and most important career success!

Step #1 : A 3.85 unweighted GPA or higher

Yep, Cal Berkeley wants your unweighted GPA!

Use this GPA Calculator to determine where you stand.

Step #2 : A 4.39 weighted GPA or higher

Wait, they want this too? Right again. They want both.

Geez, no pressure… I know, I know. These are high expectations! But they’re not impossible to achieve. If attending Cal Berkeley truly is your student’s dream, you have some options to give their GPA a boost: 

  1. If they struggle in school, OR are sitting just below those UC Berkeley admissions requirements… look into tutoring!
    1. We actually have tutors who currently attend UC Berkley! Click here to learn more! 

Yeah, it’ll cost you some money now, but it can easily pay off later with scholarships and your student’s college diploma.

  1. Help yourselves to FREE academic resources by becoming a Student-Tutor member. Click here to learn more! 

Step #3 : A 2171 SAT Reasoning Test or 33 ACT Plus Writing Score

UC Berkeley really does pride itself on pursuing excellence — they’re not playing around here! That’s why I can’t stress it enough — use your resources.

ALSO, take note: for Chemistry or Engineering Majors: The SAT 2 Subject Tests are strongly recommended.

We also have stellar SAT & ACT tutors who currently attend UC Berkley! Click here to learn more! 

Which brings me to my next point…

Step #4 : Research your major/program 

You wouldn’t call a heart surgeon to come fix your TV.

What’s my point here?

An electrician and a heart surgeon “fix” things, but they have completely different skill sets to do it. Likewise, different majors and programs have requirements that are specific to them.

You can figure out what major/program you’re interested in by using UCB’s Academic Guide for Undergraduate Degrees. This is a convenient tool on their website that allows you to select your student’s interests and find majors that they would like.

Screen-Shot-2015-06-02-at-10.32.20-AM

When you click on a major, you’ll find the information your student needs as far as any prerequisites, specific acceptance scores, and all that jazz.

Screen-Shot-2015-06-18-at-10.12.40-AM

If you want additional information, contact someone in the specific program’s department.

Step #5 : Take your UC Berkeley Admissions Test no later than December of your graduating year

Basically, you won’t be considered otherwise! To keep your student on track for this as far as test preparation, you can make use of a planner.

How does a planner help?

Well, the best way to stay on track with this is to break your one big goal of Taking the UC Berkeley Admissions Test into smaller, SMART goals that will get you there over time. Remember, a SMART goal is all of the following:

SMART-goals copy

Step #6 : Have a stellar UC Berkeley Admissions Essay

Alright, look alive! This is one of the most important things considered in admissions to Cal Berkeley.

Is it really that important?

What, don’t believe me? 😉 The Institutional Research Department at UCB lists the Admissions Essay/Personal Statement as “Very Important” in terms of acceptance, along with “Rigor of Secondary School Record”, “Academic GPA”, and “Standardized Test Scores — so there ya go!

Wondering what you should write about?

We looked through the essays of students who were accepted to UCB to find some trends.

1. Elevated Language

el

2. Family-Orientation

famor

3. Specific and Individually-Centered Examples

detailed

4. Reflective Insight

centered

Step #7 : Use the comments section of your essay

If your GPA is lower than what is stated above, there is a chance you can still get in. UC Berkeley reviews students’ applications with a holistic approach.

Holistic? What does that mean? 

It means that IF your GPA is lower than the average accepted, or IF your test scores are sub par, you have a chance to say why.

And guess where you can say it?

The comments section of your essay! Unrelated to the prompt of your Admission Essay, this is where you can explain to UC Berkeley what happened, and they will take it into consideration.

Step #8 : Optimize your Extracurricular Activities 

UCB is interested in what your student does with their time. Here’s a chance to ask what your student’s been up to, so…

Do they exhibit leadership skills? Do they work well in groups? 

Specifically, Cal Berkeley pays attention to the following when considering admission:

You’re in luck, because we have an article just for this! Follow the steps to create the perfect Extracurricular profile for your student’s UCB application.

Or if you really want to go to the extra mile and learn the step by step process to do this. Make sure you register for our next live webinar where we will teach you how to go about optimizing your extracurricular activities!

Click here to secure your FREE spot! 

Step #9: Create a MyFinAid Account

UC Berkeley has what is called a MyFinAid AccountIf you are eligible for financial awards such as scholarships, this is how you view those awards.

AND to make it easier for you, UC Berkeley has this all laid out for you in a lovely tutorial video!

As with all schools, there are various scholarships available for UCB students. For example, the Berkeley College Achievement Award: Incoming full-time and part-time students with a 2.50 grade point average (GPA) or higher will be considered for receiving up to $3,000 a year.

To see other awards available you can view the entire Financial Aid Catalog for 2015 at UC Berkeley.

Conclusion 

Alright, let’s review. To pass the UC Berkeley admissions requirements and be a Golden Bear, we recommend the following:

  1. A 3.85 Unweighted GPA (or higher)
  2. A 4.39 Weighted GPA (or higher)
  3. A score of 2171 on the SAT or 33 on the ACT
  4. Research your major/program (Use UCB’s Academic Guide!)
  5. Take your UC Berkeley Admissions Test no later than December of your graduating year
  6. Do well on your UC Berkeley Admissions Essay (Remember the points I gave you!)
  7. Use the comments section of your essay (if needed)
  8. Access scholarships and other awards through your MyFinAid Account

Have questions on if you have what it takes to be admitted or not? Join our next free live webinar and ask your burning questions! Click here to register! 

Have any other helpful information about UC Berkeley admissions requirements for us? Tell us in the comments below!

Co-authored by Renae Hintze

How to get into UC Berkley

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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sandra
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sandra

Hey Todd, Not sure if you would be able to answer this question, but I am sure you can point me in the right direction to get more information. My organization employs a 15 year old young lady who is determined to attend UCB but has been home schooled for middle and high school, and will be enrolling into online school this year and possibly for the rest of her high school years. I was just wondering what steps we can start taking to get her better chances of getting into UCB, considering she does not have transcripts or any… Read more »

Syndey
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Syndey

Hi Todd, im a sophomore in high school I’m 15 years old and i would like to know if U.C Berkeley is a good place to major in writing?

Sanora
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Sanora

I am 15 years old and have started on my associates degree in Life Sciences. Can I join Cal Berkeley as an undergraduate or do I have to transfer my degree?

nagib shariff
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nagib shariff

Hi, my name is Nagib Shariff and i am a Junior at Hercules high school and i would like to know if UC Berkeley is the right college for me!! Ever since i been a little kid i have always wanted to go to UC Berkeley. I would like to know if anyone would give me a scholarship, i am willing to work as hard as possible. GO BEARS!!!!!

Abbie Willis
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Abbie Willis

Hi, Todd. I am a high school Sophomore from Oregon and was wondering if they looked at things such as extra-curricular activities for their Health Sciences/Education department (or would just increase my chances of being accepted anyway)? My school offers a program called HOSA, which is a club for “future health professionals”. Would this be something that would be considered in the Admissions process, and would it be helpful?

Bella
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Bella

Hi, I’m now a sophmore in highschool and would just like to know how involved I should get in school. The only thing I did last year was cheer and I’m wanting to join some clubs next year. My question is, does having extra curricular activities increase your chances of getting accepted into the school?

Erika
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Erika

Hello Todd! Some of the information here is not necessarily accurate for every student. I was admitted to Berkeley for the fall of this year and there are some things which I noted as imported in the admissions process. First is that the UC system has a holistic admissions process, but not as holistic as, say, Ivy League, Stanford, and MIT level schools. Unless you are a borderline student, Berkeley will not ask for letters of recommendation, your art portfolio, an interview, or extra essays. They are also not interested in your score in the 1600 point SAT if you… Read more »

Sydney Theis
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Sydney Theis

Hi Todd!

Although i’m only 13, Berkeley is my dream school.
I’m very interested in genetic studies but my I am worried that my GPA (3.65) isn’t good enough. Is there anything that you would recommend that I should do or some tips on how to do better?

Thanks!- Sydney Theis

joseph valdez
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joseph valdez

Hey Todd i’m 14 years old is U.C. Berkely really the place for quantim physics in engineering? I would like to know because i want to be ahead of the game.

Aboubaka
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Aboubaka

I am Kenneh. My dream is to pursue my geology major at Ucb. I wanted to know if the SAt and the Act are requirements for only the high school students, or they are also requirements for those holding associate degree.

shivani
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shivani

Hi Todd!
Does Berkley have any good courses for quantum computing?
Prefferably PhD courses.
I’m 1 4 years old and I’ve heard that Berkley is one of the top universities for quantum computing. Is it?

Batsukh
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Batsukh

Hi! Im from Mongolia. I just have a IBT-Toefl 112 point. Do you think i have a chance?

Grace
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Grace

Hi Todd,

I’m only 14 years old but I’m working hard to get to where I want to be. Cal Berkeley is my DREAM college. What should I do to insure that I pursue my dreams?

Nithyashree S
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Nithyashree S

Hi!
I’m an undergraduate student from India. How do I convert my GPA( out of 10) into the weighted or unweighted GPA?
And is there any other requirement in particular to those students from India?

Samantha Price
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Samantha Price

Hello Todd,
So if I wanted to Major in Business at UC Berkeley and I didn’t have good math grades throughout high school (ex: c’s) but I excelled in Language Arts and possibly other helpful subjects that would contribute to a Business Major , would they consider that or totally veto my application?

Elsie McLaughlin
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Elsie McLaughlin

Hi! My name is Elsie McLaughlin, and I am a high school junior from Rhode Island. I was wondering if Berkeley looks at the specific classes you take in relation to the field of study you want to go into. For example, I would like to major in Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology, and am taking (AP) courses next year more focused on art, history, and language rather than science and math. I will not be taking a science or math course next year, but will have taken 3 years of a lab science and 3 years of math. Will… Read more »

Cassandra
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Cassandra

Sooo Berkeley, as with all schools in the UC system, does not look at your regular GPA and most CERTAINLY does not look at your weighted GPA. The entire UC system calculates a special number called the UC GPA. They weight the grades of certain classes more than others. For instance, grades received in health class have no weight in the UC GPA, and honors classes carry no more weight than non-honors versions of the same class. Your high school GPA and weighted GPA are entirely irrelevant to the UC Application.

Mia
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Mia

Hi Cassandra, The UC does indeed have their unique way of calculating GPA. First, they only use grades beginning with the summer after 9th grade through 11th grade in their calculation. To determine if a class is considered honors, you need to review the articulation between your school and the UC. https://hs-articulation.ucop.edu/agcourselist#/list/search/institution (your school may call a class honors but it may not be deemed as such by the UC and not eligible for weight in the GPA.) Last, Berkeley and UCLA are the only two schools in the UC systems that don’t cap the weighted GPA to 8 semesters… Read more »