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School Name: University of California, Berkeley
School Location: Berkeley, CA
School Type: Research University
Category: High Reach

University of California Berkeley Admissions Rates Fall 2020

Applications: 88,062
Admitted: 17%

General Info


Test Optional for 2021-2022
Admission Cycle

Fall 2020 Test Scores
Math: 660-790
ERW: 650-740
ACT: 30-35


Application Deadline: November 30
Results: March – April

School Information

Schedule: Semester
Curriculum Type: General Education
Greek Life: Yes
Athletics: DI

UC Berkeley Application Requirements, Admissions Tips, and University Guide:

UC Berkeley, or “Cal” to most sports fans, is located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. Just north of Oakland, you can hop on a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train that will conveniently shuttle you downtown or across the bay to one of the many iconic locations in San Francisco. As part of the 9-school UC system, Berkeley is consistently ranked as one of the top public schools and research universities in the country with 9 current faculty members who have been awarded Nobel Prizes. While Berkeley students are known for their political engagement and liberal activism, the more than 30,000 undergraduates represent a wide range of interests, beliefs, and backgrounds. With more than 1,200 student groups on campus, finding your community is a breeze for all students.

Here are a few frequently asked questions about UC Berkeley:

How diverse is the student body at Berkeley?

UC Berkeley is an incredibly diverse school with a welcome place for everyone. Based on reports from the university’s Office of Planning and Analysis about the class of 2024, the two largest demographics were White students, who accounted for 17% of the class, and Mexican American/Chicano students, who made up 16.4%. However, 16.1% of students identified as Chinese, and 11.3% are international students. No matter which way you look at it, Berkeley is a welcoming place where you’ll experience foreign culture and familiar traditions all in the same day.

How hard is it to get into Berkeley?

UC Berkeley is an incredibly competitive school, considered a reach for all applicants. In 2020, they admitted 17.6% of applicants, but some of the five Berkeley colleges have lower acceptance rates. The College of Engineering accepted 8% of freshman applicants for the 2020-2021 academic year. A vast majority of attendees (76.5%) come from public schools, but that’s simply because they apply in much higher numbers—the school shows no bias against private school students. The middle 50% of accepted students had ACT scores between 29-35 or SAT scores between 1330-1530. Unweighted GPAs for this same group fall between 3.86-4.00 which is to say that the competition is very stiff.

Berekely’s Application:

  • Berkeley’s application is part of the UC application system which is its own unique portal separate from the Common App or Coalition App.
  • You will fill out one application that can be used for all 9 of the UC campuses, but each UC will be unaware of the other UCs you apply to.
  • For Berkeley, you will apply to the one college that offers the major or majors you’re interested in (transferring once admitted is possible).
  • There are 8 personal insight questions of which you will respond to 4.
  • For the high school class of 2021, the university is test-blind.
  • Applications are due November 30th.

What is Berkeley known for?

Berkeley is known for being one of the top public universities in the world. In the mainstream media, it is coined as a “hippie haven” with an incredibly politically active and engaged community. A quick Google search will surface over a century’s worth of images of students hosting protests, gatherings, and demonstrations on campus. Compared to it’s more buttoned-up rival, Stanford, Berkeley has a more casual culture known for students looking to make a social impact. And Berkeley students don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk— Berkeley has sent more students to the Peace Corp than any other university. However, this is only one part of the school’s identity, which has changed over the years. Additionally, Cal has an elite athletic department that has produced athletes such as Olympian swimmer Missy Franklin, NBA star Jason Kidd, and 2-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. UC Berkeley is a melting pot with a recognizable Californian flavor. Don’t be misled by images of long hair and skateboards, these are dedicated students excelling in every area.

Can I afford Berkeley?

Despite being a public university, Berkeley can be quite expensive. The UC system was designed to give California students affordable access to an elite education. While the elite education is intact, even in-state students should budget $39,550 to cover costs for one year of school. Unfortunately, out-of-state students pay a heavy price and are asked to budget $69,304 to cover the increased tuition. The good news is that all applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships and that over 65% receive aid of some kind. Additionally, 38% of students pay nothing out of pocket for tuition due to grants and scholarships. You can use this net price calculator to learn more about your personal financial expectations.

What are the academic requirements at Berkeley?

The first thing to know is that Berkeley and Merced are the only UCs on the semester system, the rest follow the quarter system. When you apply to Berkeley you will select one of the five colleges on the application but you can apply as “undeclared” to the College of Letters and Sciences. Once accepted to a specific college, you will be required to complete that individual college’s requirement as well as your specific degree requirements. Additionally, all Berkeley students must satisfy Entry Level Writing, American History and American Institution, and American Cultures requisites. The good news is that many courses fulfill multiple requirements and that students have a large number of options when choosing how to fulfill them.

What else should I know about Berkeley’s academics?

Berkeley has amazing abroad offerings because of its partnerships with the other UCs—there are over 100 programs in 40 different countries and you can always petition to complete another accredited abroad program as well! Berkeley offers another amazing program called DeCal which allows students to submit course proposals for classes that they receive credits for teaching to other students—some examples are parkour, knife skills, and sustainable gardening. 77% of classes have less than 30 students and there are a vast number of opportunities for undergraduate research (available even to freshmen), making Berkeley a great place to connect with professors. In addition, Berkeley offers a junior-start business major at Haas and it is common to study in the College of Letters and Sciences and then apply to business sophomore year. Furthermore, there are a few paths that get you guaranteed admission to the MBA program at Haas such as Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology, Biology & Business, and Global Management.


National Center for Education