How to get into UC Berkeley—General Information
The University of California Berkeley is a public university located in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1868 and has been a center of engineering and scientific discovery ever since. Today, UC Berkeley remains a beacon for free-thinking and innovation for students from across the nation.
What we’ll cover in this How to Get Into UC Berkeley guide:
- UC Berkeley GPA requirements
- Optimal UC Berkeley SAT scores
- UC Berkeley application deadline
- Details on UC Berkeley Admissions
- The UC Personal Insight Questions
- UC Berkeley class of 2025 statistics, and more.
When thinking about how to get into UC Berkeley, you want to make sure each part of your application is top-notch. This means maintaining a high GPA, studying well in advance to ensure strong UC Berkeley SAT scores or ACT scores, and building up your extracurricular activities list. To boost your chances, you should start strategizing well before the UC Berkeley application deadline.
Figuring out how to get into UC Berkeley takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes UC Berkeley graduates. Want to maximize your UC Berkeley admissions odds? Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.
How hard is it to get into UC Berkeley?
According to U.S. News, UC Berkeley ranks #22 of all universities in the country. However, among public universities, UC Berkeley ranks #2. This makes it one of the nation’s most competitive public schools. Over 100,000 students applied to be a member of the UC Berkeley class of 2025 and less than 15,000 were admitted.
If the UC Berkeley acceptance rate seems overwhelming, don’t worry. This guide will provide helpful tips on how to get into UC Berkeley, despite the competitive UC Berkeley acceptance rate.
Want more tips on how the UC Berkeley acceptance rate, and acceptance rates in general, affects your admissions odds? Check out our expert guide.
What is the acceptance rate for UC Berkeley?
UC Berkeley admissions published data regarding the UC Berkeley acceptance rate for the UC Berkeley class of 2025. This past year, the UC Berkeley acceptance rate was 14.5%, down from 17% two years ago. Applications to UC Berkeley increased from 88,066 in 2023, to 112,854 for the UC Berkeley class of 2025. Basically, more students applied for the same number of slots, which lowers the UC Berkeley acceptance rate.
The UC Berkeley acceptance rate is just a piece of the UC Berkeley admissions puzzle. Remember, there are many things you can do to stand out.
Want to learn more about acceptance rates? Check out our guide.
What is the required GPA for UC Berkeley?
The middle 50% of applicants for the UC Berkeley class of 2025 held an unweighted GPA between 3.86 and 4.00. Because the UC Berkeley Admissions team releases a median range, note that some admitted students will have GPAs higher and lower than the above range. Therefore, if your GPA is currently lower, you can still explore how to get into UC Berkeley. That said, improving your GPA will help your chances of admission.
UC Berkeley GPA requirements mandate that students residing in California have a GPA of at least 3.0 for admissions consideration. Additionally, non-residents must have at least a 3.4, according to the UC Berkeley GPA requirements. In addition to the UC Berkeley GPA requirements, all applicants must meet UC Berkeley’s A-G subject course requirements.
If your GPA falls on the lower end of the UC Berkeley GPA requirements, try to submit strong responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions. You can also start early, preparing your application well before the UC Berkeley application deadline. Because the UC Berkeley admissions office does not focus on only one metric, you can still make a strong case for admission even if you barely match the UC Berkeley GPA requirements. If your GPA falls below the UC Berkeley GPA requirements, you can apply by choosing admission by exception.
What does the University of California application require?
Students who want to know how to get into UC Berkeley should start by filling out the UC Application. There are many parts to the UC application that must all be completed before the UC Berkeley application deadline. These include: writing UC Personal Insight Questions, meeting the UC Berkeley GPA requirements, and submitting optional UC Berkeley SAT scores.
To begin, students should fill out the personal information section and then choose which UC schools they are applying to. Then, you must self-report your high school course list and grades. UC Berkeley admissions does not require students to submit official transcripts, but it is important that you make sure the grades you report match the information on your official transcript. This ensures that you both meet the UC Berkeley GPA requirements and have taken the required number of courses.
Personal Insight Questions
In addition to the UC Berkeley GPA requirements, students must also answer the UC Personal Insight Questions. There are eight total UC Personal Insight Questions, but students should only answer four of them. UC Berkeley admissions designs these short essay questions to help get to know you better. Strong responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions can greatly improve your UC Berkeley admissions odds.
UC Berkeley is also a test-free school. This means that a student’s UC Berkeley SAT scores will not factor into admissions decisions. Students may still provide UC Berkeley SAT scores or ACT scores for credit and course placement purposes, but UC Berkeley admissions will not consider them in their holistic review process. Students with strong UC Berkeley SAT scores should submit them. But as far as knowing how to get into UC Berkeley, test scores are not a factor.
All of these parts of the application must be submitted ahead of the UC Berkeley application deadline. The deadline is November 30th. There is only one UC Berkeley application deadline for all students applying for fall admission. However, applying early may let you view your decision earlier. This could improve your eligibility for scholarships or other grants.
Although you may not submit your application until November, you can begin working on it as early as August 1st. This gives you time to perfect your “how to get into UC Berkeley” strategy before the UC Berkeley application deadline.
What does UC Berkeley use to determine acceptance?
When considering how to get into UC Berkeley, understanding the UC Berkeley admissions process is key. UC Berkeley admissions uses a holistic review process to determine whether a student is a good fit. The UC Berkeley admissions process relies heavily on the application—and specifically the UC Personal Insight Questions—to learn more about each applicant. This lets Berkeley determine whether a student has the character and academic ability to succeed. Although interviews and UC Berkeley SAT scores do not impact the UC Berkeley admissions process, they use other supplemental materials, such as letters of recommendation.
When thinking about the UC Berkeley admissions process and how to get into UC Berkeley, start with your grades and coursework. It is important that you take the most challenging courses offered by your high school, whether they are honors, AP, or IB. Those accepted to the UC Berkeley class of 2025 earned mostly As and Bs in challenging courses.
The rest of the UC Berkeley admissions process is based on a student’s character, extracurricular activities, and achievements. There is no single formula for how to get into UC Berkeley. However, a strong candidate profile is key. Your candidate profile represents who you are, what you have accomplished, and what you can bring to a school if you are accepted. With such a competitive UC Berkeley acceptance rate, a strong candidate profile is essential to maximizing your UC Berkeley admissions odds.
UC Berkeley admissions looks for students with diverse interests and the passion to succeed in a difficult academic environment. This information does not come from UC Berkeley SAT scores or other numbers on a page. Instead, it comes from your extracurricular activities and responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions. Therefore, it is important for you to start your application well before the UC Berkeley application deadline so you can have time to build a strong profile.
What extracurriculars do I need for UC Berkeley?
When thinking about how to get into UC Berkeley, your strategy should be holistic. Similarly, your understanding of extracurriculars should also be holistic. The UC Berkeley admissions team uses extracurricular activities as a way to measure a student’s involvement beyond numbers. Your activities say more than your UC Berkeley SAT scores or the UC Berkeley GPA requirements.
There are no extracurricular activities that will guarantee your admission to UC Berkeley. The UC Berkeley admissions team looks for leadership and consistency of involvement, not a specific type of involvement.
It does not necessarily matter what extracurricular activities you did as long as you were passionate about them and took a leadership role when possible. It will not help your application to join a club for a short time only because you believe its prestige will help you with your “how to get into UC Berkeley” strategy. Quality, not quantity, is more important.
Finally, be sure to mention any awards or honors you received. Students thinking about how to get into UC Berkeley should plan ways to stand out from other applicants.The UC Berkeley acceptance rate is so competitive, and recognition in extracurriculars is a good way to stand out.
Did you participate in community service, win an academic competition, or receive a grant from a project? Talk about that! Start working on your list well ahead of the UC Berkeley application deadline so you do not miss any important details.
Tips on writing the Personal Insight Questions:
While many schools use the Common Application essay prompts, UC Berkeley (like the other UC schools) has its own set of short essay questions: the UC Personal Insight Questions. The purpose of the UC Personal Insight Questions is right in the name; the UC Berkeley admissions committee wants you to reveal details about your character so they can get an insight into the kind of student you might be. There are eight questions total, but you only need to answer four of them.
The first thing to do is narrow down which UC Personal Insight Questions you want to answer. Sit down with each prompt and brainstorm ideas. If nothing comes to mind, set that prompt aside and move on. The goal here is to figure out which questions best allow you to share your authentic story.
Tell your story
Once you have figured out which questions to answer, think about what you would like the UC Berkeley admissions team to know about you. Do you pride yourself on your organization and community service? Perhaps you take pride in your charismatic leadership skills? Or maybe you have overcome some major setback and achieved success despite the many obstacles in your way. Whatever your story is, it is important for you to have a narrative in mind before you start writing.
Then, think about examples from your life that support your chosen narrative. A major part of any “how to get into UC Berkeley” strategy is being able to showcase your character and accomplishments. Keep in mind that UC Berkeley admissions will not know what you don’t share. So, be open about your achievements. Talk about how you could contribute to the UC Berkeley campus if they accepted you, and help the UC Berkeley admissions committee see what kind of student you would be.
For more information about how to ace the UC personal insight questions, check out our essay guide!
Will UC Berkeley look at my social media?
While thinking about how to get into UC Berkeley, students may worry whether their social media will affect their UC Berkeley admissions odds. However, UC Berkeley admissions officers tend not to look at students’ social media profiles. Since UC Berkeley receives over a hundred thousand applications each year, the admissions team usually doesn’t have time to look at students’ social media.
This does not mean, though, that you should post offensive or irresponsible content on social media. While it might not directly impact your admissions odds, inappropriate social media usage could disqualify you from scholarships, research opportunities, or job placements. Even beyond the college application process, you should be using social media responsibly.
Our final recommendation is to play it safe. UC Berkeley won’t likely check your Twitter or Instagram, but you should still exercise care when using social media.
Is UC Berkeley a good school for me?
Before exploring how to get into UC Berkeley, ask yourself if UC Berkeley is the right school for you. While it is one of the top-ranked public universities in the country, that does not necessarily mean that it is the right fit for you. So before you ask how to get into UC Berkeley, here are some other questions to ponder before the UC Berkeley application deadline:
- Does UC Berkeley offer the major or program I want to pursue?
- How can the opportunities at UC Berkeley help me with my future goals?
- Do the campus and its students align with my interests and values?
These questions matter much more than the UC Berkeley acceptance rate or stats on the UC Berkeley class of 2025. Think about it: you will be spending the next four years of your life at the college you choose. So, it’s worth making sure that your chosen school will be both an academic and social fit for you. Looking for more information? Check out the following links to learn more about clubs and campus life at UC Berkeley.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of current students and UC Berkeley admissions staff. If you know someone who is a member of the UC Berkeley class of 2025, ask them how they like the campus. You can use the information you gather in your research to answer your UC personal insight questions and show interest in the school. Authentic interest will ensure that Berkeley is as good a fit for you as you are for it. It will also benefit your “how to get into UC Berkeley” plan.
Additional tips to get into UC Berkeley:
1. Start Early:
It is best to start planning out your application well ahead of the UC Berkeley application deadline. This will give you time to build your candidate profile and edit your UC Personal Insight Questions. Students can access the application as early as August 1st. Applications are accepted from November 1st to November 30th—the UC Berkeley application deadline.
2. Be honest and authentic:
UC Berkeley SAT scores are not used to make admissions decisions. Instead, UC Berkeley uses its application and UC Personal Insight Questions prompt to get to know you. Letting your personality and passions shine through in your application is the answer to the question “how to get into UC Berkeley.” Colleges want enthusiastic and driven learners on their campus. So, don’t shy away from sharing your achievements and interests.
3. Get help from a trusted source:
Consider letting a parent, teacher, or advisor look over your essays and other materials and offer suggestions about how to get into UC Berkeley. But be careful that they don’t do the writing for you; it’s vital that the application shows your unique voice.
Follow these tips to help you on your journey to understand how to get into UC Berkeley. The UC Berkeley class of 2025 is a diverse and vibrant community. Though the UC Berkeley acceptance rate is competitive, there are many ways to stand out as a unique and strong applicant. Good luck!
This guide was written by Alex Baggott-Rowe, Davidson ’16. If you want to know how to get into UC Berkeley, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes UC Berkeley graduates. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.