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Application Tips

UC Berkeley receives more than 130,000 applications each year. Here are some ways to make your application complete and as competitive as possible within our applicant pool.

Selecting a major

When applying to Berkeley, you will be asked what major you are interested in. Berkeley has over 100 majors across our five colleges: Letters and Science, Rausser College of Natural Resources, Engineering, Chemistry, Environmental Design, and the Haas School of Business (transfers only; freshman read below). If you are still trying to determine your major, Berkeley Guide can help.

Many students are undecided about their major and there are options in three of Berkeley’s colleges to be “undeclared”. For Letters and Science, select the “intended” division in the “Undeclared” section in the college. Rausser College applicants may also select the “intended” division in the “Undeclared” section in that college. While the College of Engineering offers undeclared as an option, we recommend that applicants select a major if you know for sure your intended major.

Interested in Engineering and Business? Check out the Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (M.E.T.) program, where students will take classes and receive a degree in both the College of Engineering and the Haas School of Business. NOTE: This program is only available for freshman applicants. Students who select an M.E.T. major on the application but are not accepted to the program will be considered for admission to the Engineering major.

Freshman applicants are not able to apply directly to the Haas School of Business to major in business administration. If you are interested in applying and potentially majoring in business administration, you should select the “Undeclared” option of “Intending to major in Business Administration in the Haas School of Business” under the College of Letters and Science. Selecting this option will have no bearing on your class availability and your preparation for admission to the upper division business major.

How to use the Additional Comments boxes

There are two Additional Comments boxes within the UC application: one is within the Academic History, under “Other Academic History – Additional Information” and one within the Personal Insight section. Use these to provide information to supplement or explain what’s already in your application or to include relevant information that doesn’t appear anywhere else or that you feel should be brought to a reader’s attention.

Use the Additional Comments box within Academic History for academic-related information. This is a good place to explain any fluctuations in your academic performance and what you did about it. You also can:

  • Explain a course choice
  • Highlight or explain grade trends (Example: C’s to A’s, or vice versa, over a period of time)
  • Share anything about your academic record not yet covered in the application

In the Personal Insight section, use the Additional Comments box to report any meaningful extracurricular activities or volunteer work you want to elaborate on or that you were not able to include in the Extracurricular section of the application. Show us how you made a difference, showed leadership, or took initiative. For example, explain more about how you showed leadership as a team co-captain, saved money for your employer, or solved a major IT problem when you volunteered at a nonprofit organization.

How to report your academics

Freshmen Applicants:

  • List ALL high schools you attended (or will attend before enrolling at a UC campus)
  • Include dates you attended
  • List ALL academic courses taken during high school, even those completed in summer
  • List your grades
  • List non A-G courses (Physical Ed, Test Prep, etc.) under the Activities & Awards section: “Coursework Other Than A-G”
  • Report any TRANSFERABLE college courses taken while in high school (Transferable courses = factored into your GPA)
  • Specify which year you took each course (Example: sophomore or junior year)
  • Not sure a course is transferable? Check ASSIST.ORG or your community college catalog
  • Do NOT send transcripts with your application

Transfer Applicants:

  • Report ALL courses from all two- and four-year institutions, even non-transferable coursework
  • Report courses exactly as they appear on your transcripts
  • Keep any unofficial transcripts available
  • Applicants from California community colleges = copy coursework from assist.org and paste it directly into Transfer Admission Planner (TAP) or your application
  • We look favorably on academic improvement (Example: from C to A)
  • Report failing grades from early in your academic career; failure to disclose coursework will hurt your admission
  • Do NOT send transcripts with your application; you will receive information on how to send academic updates in January

Personal Insight Questions

Berkeley does not conduct interviews in the admissions process. The application is the only information we will have to assess your strengths. The Personal Insight Questions presents an opportunity for you to tell us who you are as a student, as a learner, and as a community member. For more information on how to approach your Personal Insight Questions, review our webpage.