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Average GPA for Berkeley

Last Updated on February 7, 2023 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

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average gPA for berkeley acceptance

The school has a 16% acceptance rate ranking it #9 in California for the lowest rate of acceptance. Last year, 14,278 out of 87,847 applicants were admitted making UC Berkeley a very highly competitive school to get into with a low chance of acceptance for typical applicants.  Academically, it has exceptionally high requirements for admission test scores, generally admitting students who score in the top 8 percent. The University of California Berkeley typically accepts and attracts “A-” average high school students. Only 45% of those admitted chose to enrol in the school. 

Average GPA for Berkeley


UC Berkeley Admission Standards

School Average
Average SAT1380.0
Average ACT32.0
Average GPA3.89

The University of California Berkeley typically requires applicants to be in the top 10 percent of SAT test-takers. The school consistently takes SAT composite scores down to 1330 on a 1600 scale, below which admission should be considered a reach. We estimate some students could be accepted with SAT’s as low as 1230. The estimated average SAT composite for admitted freshmen is 1430 out of 1600. The school ranks #7 in California for the highest average SAT composite score. A competitive SAT score is critical as 79 per cent of applicants submit SAT scores to the school.

Admission data indicates that UC Berkeley regularly accepts students with ACT’s of 31 and above. Successful applicants typically send ACT scores in the top 5 percent nationally. We estimate the school accepting minimum ACT composite scores of around 29 in some instances. Prospective students submitting an ACT composite of 33 or higher should be in the upper half of applicants – and students with a 35 and above have very competitive chances. The school ranks #3 in California for the highest average ACT composite score. 50 per cent of applicants submit ACT scores to the University of California Berkeley.

UC Berkeley Admissions Guidance

What is UC Berkeley Looking For?

So you have decided that you want to attend the best

public research university in the world.

The most important factor determining your chances at

UC Berkeley is your recalculated UC GPA.

UC Berkeley re-calculates your GPA for admissions purposes


(1) factoring in only sophomore and junior year grades (no freshman grades),

(2) using academic courses only (no physical education or typing courses or band/orchestra)

(3) weighting the difficulty of academic courses taken such as AP courses.

The average admitted GPA for the College of Letters & Science at UC Berkeley is 4.2. For the College of Engineering, not including Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EE/CS), the average admitted GPA is over 4.3.

What is UC Berkeley’s current acceptance rate?

17.6% in 2019-2020 admissions cycle

Solomon Admissions works with all of our students to ensure you know all the ins and outs when applying to UC Berkeley.

What is Solomon Admissions’ success rate for UC Berkeley?

50% in 2019-2020 admissions cycle

For the 2019-2020 admissions cycle, we had a 50% acceptance rate to UC Berkeley. Solomon Admissions provided an advantage factor of 2.8X for our clients. You can see more of our acceptance rates here.

UC Berkeley Computer Science Admitted GPA

For Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EE/CS) in the College of Engineering, which is the most marketable undergraduate degree coming out of Berkeley (although Haas students may disagree), the average admitted GPA is over 4.4.

Unlike the Ivies, UC Berkeley uses an aggregate point rating system where points are added for factors such as academic record, test scores, extra-curricular activities, leadership positions, and overcoming hardship.

UC Berkeley also admits applicants who are well-rounded as opposed to students who are specialists like at the Ivies. In addition, UC Berkeley does not employ Affirmative Action.

For engineering applicants to UC Berkeley, engineering faculty are involved in the selection process. As such, there is a greater focus on academic achievement, standardized test scores, research in engineering, and interest in STEM.

Admitted engineering applicants have higher GPA’s and SAT scores relative to applicants admitted to Letters & Science. In addition, female engineering applicants are given admissions boost for diversity purposes.

Since Computer Science is the most in-demand major at Berkeley, we at Solomon Admissions would like to share with you a backdoor into the Computer Science major at Berkeley. One can major in Computer Science in either Letters & Science or in the College of Engineering.

For students who lack a 4.4+ UC GPA and relevant computer science extra-curricular activities, we recommend applying to major in Computer Science in the College of Letters & Science instead of in the College of Engineering. There is a lower GPA bar for admission:  4.2 for Letters & Science versus 4.4+ for EE/CS in the College of Engineering.

Students who earn a B.A. in Computer Science through Letters & Science (instead of a B.S. through the College of Engineering) still take the same courses and get the same technology company interview opportunities as Computer Science majors in the College of Engineering.

At UC Berkeley, internal transfer from Engineering to Letters & Science is not difficult. However, internal transfer from Letters & Science to Engineering is difficult and is dependent on performance in prerequisite courses for engineering and space availability.

UC Berkeley Admissions Essay

After an applicant’s recalculated UC GPA, the second most important factor determining one’s chances at UC Berkeley is the UC personal statement.

Here’s a brief excerpt from some of the tips we provide clients at Solomon Admissions applying to UC Berkeley:

1. Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you. (350 words)

For Engineering applicants, at least one of the four required UC essays must address the “Why Engineering” question. The essay prompt above is an excellent choice to showcase your interest in engineering.

This essay should address your interest in engineering, STEM background and extra-curricular activities, and your motivations for pursuing engineering.

For College of Letters & Science applicants at UC Berkeley, this essay should address their interest in an academic subject and its relation to their intended field of study in college.

The applicant should address academic interests and passions, extra-curricular activities related to these interests, and how this would translate to coursework and undergraduate research in college.

2. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time. (350 words)

Since UC Berkeley admissions work on a point system, we recommend that all applicants (Engineering and Letters & Science) use this particular essay prompt to address their leadership role in their most significant extra-curricular activity in detail to pick up as many points as possible (as long as you didn’t talk about it in the other three essays).

The essay should address not only leadership positions and accomplishments but what you learned about what it means to lead.

3. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement? (350 words)

We recommend that UC Berkeley applicants use this particular UC prompt to explain poor grades (“B” or below generally).

Examples of more or less acceptable reasons for poor grades include instances where the environment discouraged educational goals and aspirations, where was one forced to take care of younger siblings, and where one commutes more than an hour to school.

How To Get Into UC Berkeley

Founded in 1868 in Berkeley, California, the University of California, Berkeley was originally born with the hope, originating from the state’s constitution, to “contribute even more than California’s gold to the glory and happiness of advancing generations.” 

Set in Northern California’s Bay Area, Berkeley is an energetic city situated about 20 minutes east of the city of San Francisco and about an hour north of Silicon Valley giants like Apple, Google and Facebook. Considered one of the US’s most prestigious public universities, UC Berkeley is home to 14 schools and colleges, including a number of renowned graduate and professional schools like the Haas School of Business, the Division of Computing, Data Science & Society, the School of Law and the Graduate School of Journalism.

UC Berkeley has consistently been socially and academically regarded as one of the top universities in the nation. The 2022 US News National University Rankings place the university at 22nd in the US, and the 2022 QS World University Rankings place it at 32nd in the world, positioning UC Berkeley among (and even above) many of the most competitive universities across the globe! Alongside other UC schools, we’ve listed UC Berkeley as second to only the University of California, Los Angeles.

This high achieving institution offers over 350 degree programs, including more than 150 undergraduate majors and minors across 50 fields of study. Its diverse student population consists of 17.5% international students and 21% transfer students, and nearly one quarter of current freshmen are first-generation college students.

UC Berkeley Academic Statistics
Academic DepartmentsDegree ProgramsInterdisciplinary research unitsMajors & Minors

A Day in the Life: UC Berkeley Student


UC Berkeley’s Acceptance Rate in 2022

UC Berkeley has not officially released their acceptance rate for the class of 2026; however, given that the university received 128,196 applications and accepted around 15,000 students, its acceptance rate is expected to be just below 12%.

UC Berkeley Admissions Statistics 2021/22
Total ApplicantsOverall Acceptance RateInternational Student Acceptance RateCrimson Student Acceptance Rate

How hard is it to get into UC Berkeley?

UC Berkeley is one of the most difficult universities to be accepted into, and this difficulty is only exacerbated by its hefty increase in applicants over the years as well as recent threats to its enrollment capacity. This increase in applicants is reflected in UC Berkeley’s acceptance rate, which has been cut nearly in half in the last decade, dropping from 21% in 2012 to under 12% in 2022. Students that are accepted to UC Berkeley typically boast a weighted GPA of 4.25-4.61 and the same trend of excellence in their extracurriculars.

Getting into UC Berkeley is undeniably challenging, but it’s not impossible — especially with a comprehensive personal profile that goes beyond impressive grades and test scores to demonstrate who you are, what’s important to you, and how you’ll contribute to UC Berkeley’s community.

UC Berkeley Admissions Statistics From the Last Decade
YearApplicantsAccepted StudentsAcceptance Rate

UC Berkeley has seen a 140% increase in the number of applications and a 44% decrease in acceptance rate between 2011 and 2022, meaning the competition is plentiful and fierce!


UC Berkeley Admission Requirements

UC Berkeley has a selection of minimum requirements for students to be considered for admission — but the great majority of successful applicants far surpass these requirements. While there are always outliers, your academics are among the first criteria admissions officers will look at as an early ‘cutting factor’ to wade through a massive pool of applicants. So strong academics are a must!

GPA Requirements

The minimum GPA requirement for UC Berkeley applicants is 3.0, but to be truly competitive, students should aim for a GPA of at least 3.89 (unweighted) or 4.25 (weighted) for the best chances of gaining admission.

SAT/ACT Requirements

UC Berkeley and all the University of California schools do not consider SAT or ACT scores when making application decisions or awarding scholarships. Test scores can be submitted and used as an alternative to fulfill minimum eligibility requirements or for course placement after acceptance and enrollment.

Check our blog on ACT vs SAT to find out which test you should take!

Essay Requirements

When it comes to the University of California personal questions, you will have eight questions to choose from. From there, you only need to answer 4. Should there be an aspect of you that you want to share, but don’t get the opportunity to, additional comments will be available to include those extra details. See these personal insight questions to start thinking about how you want to answer.

  1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.  
  2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.  
  3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?  
  4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
  5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
  6. Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom. 
  7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?  
  8. Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

For more information about the Personal Insight Questions please visit this helpful page on the UC application website.

International Student Requirements

UC Berkeley students represent over 50 countries. International students can apply as a freshman or as a transfer student using the UC application.

For students whose primary language isn’t English but demonstrate English proficiency, UC Berkeley accepts results from any of the following language tests:

If you submit the TOEFL test results to one UC campus, they will automatically go to all campuses you apply to. You must submit IELTS and DET results to each campus separately.

How to Apply to UC Berkeley?

With hundreds of students applying to UC Berkeley and many thousands applying across the University of California system’s nine campuses, the UC application was created to streamline the process.

Key Application Deadlines

The application timeline for University of California applicants is as follows:

Key Deadlines for UC Schools
DateApplication Status
August 1UC Application Opens
November 1UC starts accepting applications
November 30Last day to submit applications
Late MarchFirst-year applicants receive decisions
Late AprilDecisions for most transfer applicants released

UC Application Sections at a Glance

About You

This section is where you include basic information about you and your family.

Campuses & Majors

In this section, you’ll select which campuses you’d like to apply to and mark your major if you have one. You may choose “undecided” if you haven’t chosen a major yet.

Academic History

This section is where you’ll record your high school courses and grades.

Test Scores

The UC schools do not consider ACT and SAT scores in their admission decisions. If you need an alternative method of fulfilling your minimum eligibility requirements, you may add these scores as part of your application.

You will record your scores for AP exams, IB exams, TOEFL or IELTS, and International exams on separate pages. If you haven’t taken these tests yet, you’ll need to indicate if you’re planning on taking them in the future.

Activities & Awards

Record the activities and awards you’re most proud of and the ones that you believe would make you a great candidate for UC Berkeley admission. Six categories classify the awards and honors:

  • Award or honor
  • Educational preparation programs
  • Extracurricular activity
  • Other coursework
  • Volunteering/Community service
  • Work Experience

Scholarships & Programs

In this section, you can select any scholarship categories that apply to you. The UC system offers support services while you’re at a UC. If you’re interested in their Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), you indicate it in this section.


How does UC Berkeley evaluate applications?

The University of California uses a system called a 13-Factor Comprehensive Review System to evaluate applicants. Each campus works with the UC Office of the President to set specific goals and determine how many first-year and transfer students they expect to enroll each fall.

UC Berkeley seeks to enroll students who will contribute to their dynamic learning community. They look for applicants with leadership skills, initiative, tenacity, and intellectual curiosity. While grades and curriculum choices indicate academic achievement, UC Berkeley considers a broad range of criteria when determining who they admit. The criteria include quantitative and qualitative factors as well as academic and personal accomplishments.

Professionally trained readers review each application using the following faculty-approved criteria. You can find the full explanations for each criterion here.

  • A full record of achievement in college preparatory work in high school
  • Personal qualities of the applicant
  • Likely contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus
  • Achievement in academic enrichment programs.
  • Other evidence of achievement
  • Opportunities
  • Challenges

Check out our blog to learn more about ways you can stand out to colleges!

How to Stand Out in Your UC Berkeley Application

With impressive students all around the world applying to UC Berkeley, what differentiates those who are accepted from those who are not?

Academically, the university’s admissions committee will consider:

  • Your weighted and unweighted GPA through your last two years of high school
  • Planned academic schedule for the 12th grade
  • The pattern of your grades over time
  • The AP, IB, honors, and transferable courses a student has access to and takes advantage of
  • How an applicant’s achievement in courses measures up to competitors
  • AP, IB, and SAT subject test exam scores

Beyond academics, UC Berkeley looks for students with extracurriculars and responses to their personal insight questions that demonstrate these characteristics:

  • Leadership ability
  • Tenacity
  • Initiative 
  • Insight
  • Originality
  • Motivation
  • Intellectual independence
  • Maturity
  • Character
  • Responsibility
  • Demonstrated concern for others and the community

Personal Insight Questions

When considering your answers to the UC personal insight questions, admissions officers will look for evidence of initiative, service to others, leadership, cultural engagement, persistence, motivation, and special potential. Achievement is considered within the context of the opportunities available to the applicant. 

When discussing hardships, write about how you have confronted and overcome them and reflect on how you have learned from obstacles to highlight the character traits that UC Berkeley wants on their campus. 

Recommended Courses

Courses that are not mandatory to take or report, but could benefit your college application, include

Extracurriculars for UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley takes a holistic approach to assessing applications, meaning that both academic and non-academic features of an application are important. The university wants students who will contribute to the intellectual and cultural vitality of their campus.

Extracurriculars that show how likely an applicant is to do this can make a big difference in admissions outcomes. For more tips on how to maximize your extracurriculars for UC Berkeley, check out our ebook: How to Build an Extracurricular Profile for Top US Universities.

How Crimson helped Dafi get into UC Berkeley

Is UC Berkeley Right For You?

There are multiple factors that come into play when considering whether a university is a right fit for you. To start, consider these questions:

  • Does UC Berkeley excel in programs related to your planned area of study?
  • Does living on an urban campus in Northern California sound like a fitting environment for you?
  • Will the university culture and social life match your personality? University life goes beyond academics — what will your average day look like attending this college?

Before choosing UC Berkeley, examine the pros and cons and determine if they align with your interests, goals, and personality. If your academics and expectations align with UC Berkeley, you should apply! If not, you might like one of the other UC schools more — or you may want to check out these other leading US universities!

Final Thoughts

The University of California, Berkeley appeals to students all over the world for many reasons. Its academic rigor, high achieving programs and alumni, and ideal location are just a few of the factors that attract ambitious high school students. 

Accepting opportunities available in your school and community is an important way to showcase the type of person you are now, and the potential you will bring with you to campus. 

To maximize your chances of admissions success, it’s critical to get started early on your college application and ensure you have plenty of time to build a personal profile that showcases your strengths, priorities and potential.

Crimson’s global network of university admissions experts are themselves former and current students at the high-caliber institutions our students strive for, and they’re available to help you craft an application that demonstrates the exact qualities that make you a good fit for UC Berkeley.

Schedule a free consultation today to begin your journey to your dream university!


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