Get the inside scoop from a current student about applying to college.
At UC Berkeley, the world’s premier public university, you can excel beyond, exchange ideas and, ultimately, change the world.
You are a prospective freshman applicant at Berkeley if you are currently in junior high school or in high school (with or without completed college work), or graduated high school and have taken no college courses.
Students who apply to Berkeley should meet the following minimum requirements…
- Meet the A-G subject course requirements
- Have a 3.0 GPA in A-G courses taken in the 10th and 11th grade years. (3.4 GPA for non-residents)
- Take either the SAT reasoning exam or the ACT exam.
*These minimum requirements follow the University of California (UC) minimum requirements. For more information on UC requirements, visit the UC Freshman admissions website (link is external).
Since Berkeley is a competitive campus, satisfying the minimum requirements is often not enough to be competitive for selection. In addition to the basic admission requirements, the campus selects its freshman class through an assessment that includes a holistic review of your academic performance as measured primarily by:
- Your weighted and unweighted UC grade point average (calculated using 10th and 11th grade UC-approved courses only)
- Your planned 12th grade courses
- Your pattern of grades over time
- The number of college preparatory, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), honors and transferable college courses you have completed
- Your level of achievement in those courses relative to other UC applicants at your school
- Your scores on AP or IB exams
- Your scores on the ACT Assessment Plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test (link is external).
If you're applying for fall, be sure to complete these tests by December. SAT Subject Tests are no longer required. However, they are recommended for the College of Engineering and College of Chemistry: Math Level 2 and a science test (Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics) closely related to your intended major. Include the scores in your application. UC uses the highest scores from a single test administration. (Note: Our school code is 4833.) If you report your scores to one campus, they will be shared with every campus to which you've applied.
We review students using a Holistic Review process. This means that we not only look at academic factors, but also non-academic factors. Using a broad concept of merit, readers employ the following criteria which carry no pre-assigned weights:
- The applicant’s full record of achievement in college preparatory work in high school, including the number and rigor of courses taken and grades earned in those courses.
- Personal qualities of the applicant, including leadership ability, character, motivation, insight, tenacity, initiative, originality, intellectual independence, responsibility, maturity, and demonstrated concern for others and for the community are considered.
- Likely contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus. In addition to a broad range of intellectual interests and achievements, admission readers seek diversity in personal background and experience.
- Performance on standardized tests, the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT Assessment plus Writing Test. In addition, any Advanced Placement or IBHL examinations the applicant may have taken will be considered.
- Achievement in academic enrichment programs, including but not limited to those sponsored by the University of California. This criterion is measured by time and depth of participation, by the academic progress made by the applicant during that participation, and by the intellectual rigor of the particular program.
- Other evidence of achievement. This criterion recognizes exemplary, sustained achievement in any field of intellectual or creative endeavor; accomplishments in extracurricular activities such as the performing arts or athletics; leadership in school or community organizations; employment; and volunteer service.
Race, ethnicity, gender, and religion are excluded from the criteria.
All achievements, both academic and nonacademic, are considered in the context of the opportunities an applicant has had, and the reader’s assessment is based on how fully the applicant has taken advantage of those opportunities. For an applicant who has faced any hardships or unusual circumstances, readers consider the maturity, determination and insight with which the applicant has responded to and/or overcome them. Readers also consider other contextual factors that bear directly upon the applicant’s achievement, including linguistic background, parental education level, and other indicators of support available in the home.
The review recognizes a wide range of talent and creativity that is not necessarily reflected in traditional measures of academic achievement but which, in the judgment of the reader, is a positive indicator of the student’s ability to succeed at Berkeley and beyond.
Next, get familiar with what makes an applicant stand out in our pool:
- How Berkeley Selects Students
- Student Profile
- Personal Insight Questions
- Updates to Freshman Admission Policy (Letters of Recommendation)
- International Students
- Freshman Applicant Checklist