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Make the Most of Your January Start

What does it mean to start in January at UC Berkeley? Here are answers to prepare you for success at Cal.

Why Berkeley Uses January Start

UC Berkeley may admit students from the waitlist to start in January 2021. Starting in January as a first-year or being admitted to spring as a transfer in no way reflects on a student’s performance or academic abilities compared to students starting in the fall. If special First Year Pathways are available, students can select the option to begin their studies in the spring or explore other pathways such as Global Edge or Fall Program for First Semester

Your Options for Fall

The fall is a time to explore and prepare for the transition to college. Your options include:

  1. Enroll in a community college. You must obtain approval before enrolling in courses, to ensure that you do not make yourself ineligible. (Your officer’s email is located in your MAP@Berkeley portal). In most cases, you will not be approved to take courses at a four-year institution.
  2. Work at a temp job. Build your nest egg for college.
  3. Intern or volunteer to explore different fields and careers.
  4. Get a jump on your studies. See if your course syllabi and required reading lists are posted online.
  5. Travel, explore, invent, imagine, innovate…or simply take time off.

Orientation & Class Enrollment

In late fall, before the initial phase of course enrollment for the spring semester, Golden Bear Orientation schedules programs for all undergraduates who will enroll in January. You will receive an email with all of the details.

Financial Aid

Starting in January does not affect your financial aid package.

Housing & Campus Services

Although housing is not guaranteed for any student, the Housing office will make every effort to accommodate you. In the event that spaces are available in the residential program, the Housing office must receive your application by the housing deadline which typically is October 15. You can confirm dates and other information on the Housing website. Regarding campus services, such as access to campus libraries or University Health Services, during the fall term these services are not available to students who enroll in January.

Graduation Rates

FIRST-YEARS: First year who attend a community college (or who enroll in Fall Program for First Semester or Global Edge) during the fall typically graduate at the same time as students who begin in the fall. The good news is that January-start first-years have higher four-year graduation rates — around 80% —than do first-years who enter in the fall.

TRANSFER STUDENTS: Transfer students should consult their college or department advisers after the spring semester begins to determine their graduation time. Graduation rates for January-entrant transfers vary more than with other groups, although the two-year rates are generally rising slowly.