Berkeley is the #2 public university worldwide, according to U.S. News & World Report, and #7 among all global universities. Although there are 350+ degree programs and 30,000 undergraduates, the university remains committed to small classes: 71 percent of undergraduate classes have fewer than 30 students. Beyond the undergraduate community, there are 11,666 graduate students, which add to the vibrant research focus on campus.
UC Berkeley has been recognized by its particular strengths in chemistry, environment/ecology, economics and business, space science, and physics. The undergraduate academic life, however, offers programs in a great variety of disciplines, organized into 5 colleges:
College of Letters and Science:The College of Letters and Science is the liberal arts foundation of Berkeley and includes a wide range of majors in Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences.
College of Engineering:The College of Engineering includes courses taught by internationally recognized faculty and emphasizes research. Housed within the college are the departments of Bioengineering; Civil & Environmental Engineering; Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences; Industrial Engineering & Operations Research; Materials Science & Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; and Nuclear Engineering. A new program, the Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology (M.E.T.) Program combines Engineering courses with classes at the Haas School of Business.
College of Environmental Design:The College of Environmental Design includes programs in architecture, landscape architecture, sustainable environmental design, and urban studies.
College of Natural Resources:The College of Natural Resources includes majors that range from Conservation and Resource Studies to Microbial Biology and Molecular Toxicology. These academic programs focus on economic and ecological sustainability.
College of Haas School of Business:Undergraduatesin the College of Haas School of Business can pursue a BS in Business Administration, the Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology Program, The Global Managements Program, or the Biology+Business Program.
From the Cal athletic program, which has won 87 team national championships, to outdoor adventures, famous speakers, and Bay Area resources, there are no shortage of activities at Berkeley. As a major research university, Berkeley offers a number of opportunities for undergraduates to take part in cutting-edge research and to take advantage of the main libraries (Doe, Moffitt, and the Bancroft), 18 subject-specialty libraries, and 11 affiliated libraries, along with special collections. The Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) is one such opportunity for undergraduates to work with faculty on specific projects. Other programs, like Berkeley Connect, pair undergraduate students with graduate student mentors as they undertake collaborative research.
Interested in studying abroad? Berkeley’s Summer Abroad offerings feature intensive summer programs led by Berkeley faculty. Likewise, Berkley Global Internships place students in competitive internships in the Bay Area and around the world. For juniors and seniors interested in public policy or government, there are opportunities to travel to Washington, D.C. to intern, do research, and take classes for a semester where they live and take classes at the UC Washington Center.
Applying to the University of Berkeley
UC Berkeley is part of the larger “UC system” and adheres to the University of California application system and guidelines. As with all the UCs, there are no early action or early decision programs offered and freshman decisions are posted at the end of March.
Close to 90% of UC undergraduates are California residents. If you are in the top 9 percent of California high school graduates, you will be offered a spot at a UC campus if space is available. Whether or not you fall into the top 9 percent is determined by the admission index—a calculation that takes into account your grades and honors-level courses.
The minimum GPA requirements for admission to Berkeley as a freshman are a 3.0 (CA residents) and 3.4 (non-residents). Applicants must also submit either the SAT or the ACT. SAT Subject Tests are no longer required for admission to Berkeley. However, they are recommended for the College of Engineering and College of Chemistry. Specifically, you must submit a Math Level 2 and a science test (Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics) related to your intended major.
The “personal insight questions” are a series of short-answer questions reviewed by both the Admissions and Scholarship offices. These questions are the same for every school in the UC system.
Students can choose four out of the following eight questions to answer:
Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom.
What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?
Berkeley Admissions Wrap Up
Every year, Berkeley releasees a Freshmen Student Profile. This year’s profile notes that the middle 50% of freshmen had an unweighted GPA of 3.89-4.0 and a weighted GPA of 4.0-4.29. The average ACT score was 30-35, and the SAT score was 1350-1540. In 2019, out of 87,389 applicants, 14,661 were admitted for an acceptance rate of 16.8 percent. In 2018, admission was slightly more competitive with an acceptance rate of 15.1 percent.
Top Tier Admissions Can Help You Get Into Berkeley:
“I am excited to inform you that I will be attending Northeastern University this fall! I am hoping that they fully reopen the campus as they plan to. Until then, I’m greatly anticipating being a Husky. I could not have done it with you and your team. Thank you very much for helping me with my application. I greatly appreciate it.”–C.K., Application Boot Camp student, Northeastern
"Thank you so much for all your time and work with N over these last few months. N found his experience at Boot Camp to be incredibly helpful and he very much enjoyed meeting you and working with all the Top Tier counselors as well as the other students. The process was educational for N in so many ways- thank you, thank you, thank you!" –M.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"I want to thank you, again, for a fantastic Top Tier Boot Camp experience. As a second time Top Tier family, we drank your Kool Aid fully and completely, and it paid off! You know your stuff; you manage to thread the needle with a mix of tough love and compassion (for both the students and their parents - no small feat) and you run a super-efficient 4-day program." –R.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"I got my acceptance letter over the weekend from Middlebury!! I’m officially a Panther!!! 🙂 Thank you for all of your help; I could not have made it through 1st quarter without ABC!!!" -S.F., Application Boot Camp student
"Dear Michele, I just wanted to let you know that I just got accepted into Dartmouth for ED! I’m overjoyed and incredibly excited to continue my academic journey in New Hampshire. Thank you so much! You were always there to answer so many of my questions and were incredibly supportive of me; I couldn’t have done it without you and the Top Tier team!" –B.S., Application Boot Camp student
"Thank you so much!! He couldn’t have done it without your amazing team!" –H.O., Application Boot Camp parent
"We just got the news! Northwestern Class of 2024! She’s over the moon. This would not have happened without the advice and guidance along the way from all of the folks at Top Tier Admissions! From the advice on how to structure her supplemental info, including how to position her interests and activities relative to her major, the advice to take a college course this summer, and the amazing work that was done during Boot Camp, Top Tier is the absolute best and I know we have you to thank for her acceptance!!! Happy Holidays and thank you from the bottom of my heart!" –P.S., Application Boot Camp parent
"Michele and team - Just wanted to pass along the great news that J got admitted today to Pitzer, her first choice ED school. Thanks for all the amazing support you've provided H and J over the past few years. They both learned a lot from the process and, of course, benefited greatly. We now get to celebrate the holidays with a sigh of relief!" –V.J., Application Boot Camp parent
"J is so thrilled about attending Middlebury College next fall (and we are thrilled for her) and we appreciate all your assistance. It was so exciting for her to get the official acceptance last week. She loved her time at ABC and still keeps in touch with the group of friends she made. Boot Camp was tough, but she thoroughly loved it. She’s a grinder so the intensity and complete immersion didn’t bother her at all. She loved working with all of you and cherishes having another little group of friends that she bonded with in Boston. Don’t fire your caterer - she’s a big fan of the food at Boot Camp." –W.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"B, you helped me with my application during Boot Camp this past summer and I wanted to let you know that I committed to UPenn last night! Thank you so much for helping to transform my supplements into something readable. Boot Camp DEFINITELY helped me get in and made the process a lot less stressful. Thank you so much for all of your help!" –B.A., Application Boot Camp student
"We wanted to thank you for your guidance, counsel and support through T’s application process. Your advice has been instrumental to his success and, more importantly, you gave him the confidence boost he needed to apply early at Princeton. We will continue to recommend Top Tier services to our friends and will always be grateful for what you did. We hope we can stay in touch and wish you a wonderful holiday season." –K.L.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"We are excited to report that B was accepted ED to Duke University and has committed to attend next fall. We’ll forward a picture once our first Duke swag order arrives. Duke was her clear first choice and we are all very happy! We are also very pleased with the assistance we received from all of you at Top Tier and are confident that the guidance we received over the last seventeen months helped B wind up with this great outcome. So, thank you!" –E.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"I am ecstatic to report that I got into my ED school: University of Chicago! Thank you so much for all your help and willingness to work through draft after draft until I got it right." –W.D., Application Boot Camp student
"I am happy to report that we found out this evening that L has been accepted to Boston College! We are SO excited! And for your records, he was also accepted at Villanova and invited to the honors program. Thank you all so much for your help and support! We would have been lost without you!" –M.J., Application Boot Camp student
"I wanted to extend my personal thanks for all your help with my son's application process and essays. Your Bootcamp proved to be well worth the investment and per your advice I stayed away from the temptation of even reading my son's essays until he was accepted. The bottom line is that he was accepted into his top choice of UChicago and in his acceptance letter his essay was specifically mentioned. Furthermore, this was a reach school for him which made the acceptance even more sweet. Your methods and advice were instrumental in his success and I cannot thank you enough for making my son's aspirations real!!" –L.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"I'm not sure if my daughter told you yet, but she was accepted ED to Dartmouth in December. So, two for two with the W sisters-- thanks Top Tier Admissions!" –G.W., Application Boot Camp parent x2
"I wanted to let you know that I got into my first choice, Boston College, early decision. I'm so excited. Thank you all so much for everything, I'm so grateful!" –L.K., Application Boot Camp student
"Thank you to Mimi who wrote my personalized report back in junior year, to the entire team, and definitely to E! My quick acceptance into Cornell owes much to your insights and guidance. Although I have been accepted to Cornell, the process with Top Tier has made me want to stay competitive in college — whether for internships, or for graduate schools later in life. I thank you for that!" –P.O., Application Boot Camp student
"WE MADE IT!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!" –L.J., Application Boot Camp student
“Once again, I am so impressed with your program. I am amazed at the sheer amount B. accomplished in four days! Equally as important, she feels really great about her essays. She loved working with each of you as well as A. (a great pairing for her!). I know how hard each of you worked this week; I hope you get to enjoy some well-deserved R&R!” –N.G., Application Boot Camp parent
"G is excited to go to her first choice, the University of Miami! She continues to say that Application Boot Camp was the best investment we ever made for her education." –R.J., Application Boot Camp parent
"I liked the process of having multiple people read my essays before finalizing a draft. This made me confident that my essays were clear and concise while also captivating to a diverse audience. Everyone was also patient and encouraging. Boot Camp took away so much stress coming into Senior Fall, allowing me to focus on my academics and earning my highest term average ever." –S.A., Application Boot Camp student
"I know first hand how you run your business. Off the charts ethical! We look forward to continuing our relationship with Top Tier's Application Boot Camp."
"Thank you so much for your help and guidance. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you and the Top Tier Admissions Team! I'm still in between UPenn and Georgetown, but I will make sure to visit both." –S.I., Application Boot Camp student
"Clearly, Application Bootcamp and Top Tier took a lot of anxiety out of the whole situation. Our children know a number of kids who did not get into their top choice ED school, only to be devastated and stressed as they are without a plan for ED II and regular decision and have not worked on a range of essays for other schools. So while F & J’s EA-only strategy is not for everyone but made sense for them since they did not have a clear lead school when they were applying, being prepared made all the difference. The help Bootcamp provided in honing their voice and words into essays that reflect their intent was fantastic. In the end, it is all about having choices they are happy with, and I am happy to say they both have those now!" –F.A., parent of Application Boot Camp students
"E., I just wanted to let you know that I got into Barnard Early Decision! Thank you for everything you have done!!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything you did for me! Thank You!!" - H.L., Personal Boot Camp student
Barnard, Class of 2023
"I wanted to say thank you again for all your help! I got into UPenn, Cornell, Barnard, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Tufts, University of Michigan, and Wake Forest, and am waiting to hear from Georgetown; I think I'm leaning towards UPenn. Thank you so much for all your guidance; I don't think I could have done it without your help!" --I.R., Application Boot Camp student
"We are thrilled! Duke is absolutely fantastic and is the exact right fit for K. Application Boot Camp definitely helped her get into Duke during their most selective year in history, a year in which they turned away well over 2,000 Valedictorians. Thank you!" -Y.R., parent of ABC student accepted to 9 top-tier colleges
"Boot Camp was the most incredible experience. It made me push myself into thinking about my future and prepared me to send in all my applications. I am so thankful that I got the help I needed at Boot Camp because it made my application process effortless once I had completed my essays. I think that the colleges were able to clearly see my goals and ambitions through the writing of my essays. I believe this helped me have a very successful application process." –P.K., Application Boot Camp student