What GPA do you need to get into UC Berkeley

Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have an optional essay section.

UC Berkeley requires you to take the SAT Essay/ACT Writing section. They’ll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.

SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

UC Berkeley has indicated that SAT subject tests are recommended. Typically this means that SAT subject tests are not required, but submitting them can showcase particular strengths. For example, if you’re applying to an engineering school, submitting science and math SAT subject tests will boost your application.

*Typically, your SAT/ACT and GPA are far more heavily weighed than your SAT Subject Tests. If you have the choice between improving your SAT/ACT score or your SAT Subject Test scores, definitely choose to improve your SAT/ACT score.

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Still Accepting Fall 2021 Applications

Saint Mary’s is ready to welcome our students back to campus this fall, and there is still time for you to apply. Our goal for the fall 2021 term is to offer primarily in-person classes, welcome many more students to our residence halls, and resume most in-person services and activities, albeit with some modifications.

Become part of a safe, close-knit, and resilient community that has adapted to changed circumstances and is committed to protecting everyone’s health through enhanced protocols and personal accountability.

We’re consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the west by U.S. News and World Reports, the Princeton Review, and others. Here, you’ll receive personal attention from world-class educators, build friendships in our small classes, and get hands-on learning experiences through one-on-one mentorship, internships and research opportunities.

Step #1: A 3.89 weighted GPA or higher
Wondering what GPA do you need to get into berkeley? Well it’s a 3.89! These are high expectations! But they’re not impossible to achieve. If attending Cal Berkeley truly is your student’s dream, you have some options to give their GPA a boost:

If you struggle in school or are sitting just below those UC Berkeley admissions requirements, look into tutoring. Yeah, it’ll cost you some money now, but it can easily pay off later with scholarships and your student’s college diploma.
Help yourselves to FREE academic resources by becoming a Student-Tutor member. Click here to learn more!
Step #2: 1415 on the 1600 SAT scale
This college really does pride itself on pursuing excellence — they’re not playing around UC berkeley requirements. That’s why I can’t stress it enough — use your resources. Study for the SAT as well as the ACT very carefully because they put high emphasis on the scores you achieve on those two tests during your UC Berkeley application.

ALSO, take note: for Chemistry or Engineering Majors: The SAT 2 Subject Tests are strongly recommended.

Which brings us to our next point…

Step #3: Research your major/program
You wouldn’t call a heart surgeon to come fix your TV.

What’s our point here?

An electrician and a heart surgeon “fix” things, but they have completely different skill sets to do it. Likewise, different majors and programs have requirements that are specific to them so you have to identify your college major that you will be taking.

You can figure out what major/program you’re interested in by using UCB’s Academic Guide for Undergraduate Degrees. This is a convenient tool on their website that allows you to select your student’s interests and find majors that they would like.

When you click on a major, you’ll find the information your student needs as far as any prerequisites, specific acceptance scores, and all that jazz.

If you want additional information, contact someone in the specific program’s department.

Step #4: Take your UC Berkeley Admissions Test no later than December of your graduating year
Basically, you won’t be considered otherwise! To keep your student on track for this as far as test preparation, you can make use of a planner.

How does a planner help?

Well, the best way to stay on track with this is to break your one big goal of Taking the UC Berkeley Admissions Test into smaller, SMART goals that will get you there over time. Remember, a SMART goal is all of the following:

SMART-goals copy
Step #5: Have a stellar UC Berkeley Admissions Essay
Alright, look alive! This is one of the most important things considered in admissions to Cal Berkeley.

Is it really that important?

What, don’t believe me? ? The Institutional Research Department at UCB lists the Admissions Essay/Personal Statement as “Very Important” in terms of acceptance, along with “Rigor of Secondary School Record”, “Academic GPA”, and “Standardized Test Scores — so there ya go!

If you aren’t confident with your essay writing skills, here is a list of some articles by Student-tutor that you might find helpful:

  1. How to write an informative essay
  2. How to write an argumentative essay
  3. Compare and Contrast Essay: The definitive guide
  4. How to Start an Essay: Your Ultimate Guide to a Winning Introduction
  5. How to Write a Good Essay | The Ultimate Guide
  6. How to Write a Good Thesis Statement

Wondering what you should write about?

We looked through the essays of students who were accepted to UCB to find some trends.

  1. Elevated Language
  2. Family-Orientation
  3. Specific and Individually-Centered Examples
  4. Reflective Insight
    Step #6: Use the comments section of your essay
    If your GPA is lower than what is stated above, there is a chance you can still get in. UC Berkeley reviews students’ applications with a holistic approach.

Holistic? What does that mean?

It means that IF your GPA is lower than the average accepted, or IF your test scores are sub par, you have a chance to say why.

And guess where you can say it?

The comments section of your essay! Unrelated to the prompt of your Admission Essay, this is where you can explain to UC Berkeley what happened, and they will take it into consideration.

Step #7: Optimize your Extracurricular Activities
UCB is interested in what your student does with their time. Here’s a chance to ask what your student’s been up to, so…

Do they exhibit leadership skills? Do they work well in groups?

Specifically, Cal Berkeley pays attention to the following when considering admission:

Character and Personality Traits
Volunteer Work
Work Experience
You’re in luck, because we have an article just for this! Follow the steps to create the perfect Extracurricular profile for your student’s UCB application.

Step #8: Create a MyFinAid Account
UC Berkeley has what is called a MyFinAid Account. If you are eligible for financial awards such as scholarships, this is how you view those awards.

AND to make it easier for you, UC Berkeley has this all laid out for you in a lovely tutorial video!

As with all schools, there are various scholarships available for UCB students. For example, the Berkeley College Achievement Award: Incoming full-time and part-time students with a 2.50 grade point average (GPA) or higher will be considered for receiving up to $3,000 a year.

To see other awards available you can view the entire Financial Aid Catalog of UC Berkeley.

Alright, let’s review. To pass the UC Berkeley admissions requirements and be a Golden Bear, we recommend the following:

A 3.89 weighted GPA or higher
1415 on the 1600 SAT scale
Research your major/program (Use UCB’s Academic Guide!)
Take your UC Berkeley Admissions Test no later than December of your graduating year
Do well on your UC Berkeley Admissions Essay (Remember the points I gave you!)
Use the comments section of your essay (if needed)
Optimize your Extracurricular Activities
Access scholarships and other awards through your MyFinAid Account
Have any other helpful information about UC Berkeley admissions requirements for us? Tell us in the comments below!

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: UC Berkeley admissions requirements

Part 3: 2020-2021 UC Berkeley personal insight questions

Part 1: Introduction
If your child is a forward-thinking student with a passion to challenge the status quo and make their mark on the world, they might be interested in applying to the University of California, Berkeley. Consistently ranked one of the best public universities in the nation, UC Berkeley is the perfect place for students who want to build legacies of activism, innovation, and leadership.

UC Berkeley was founded in 1868, which makes it the oldest institution in the University of California system. Originally created to educate the best and brightest students in California, the 10 UC campuses have earned a world-renown reputation for providing the highest levels of teaching, research, and public service. Today, the UC alumni network of over 2-million members work and live in every corner of the globe.

Often referred to as “Cal,” UC Berkeley has a unique history and personality. Ever since the Free Speech Movement arose on its campus in 1964, Berkeley has been recognized as a hotspot for student activism. But it’s also the birthplace of major scientific breakthroughs, such as the discovery of the flu virus and vitamin K. Whether for its political movements, scientific innovation, or many other contributions to society, UC Berkeley frequently lands in the national spotlight.

In the classroom, UC Berkeley offers its students intimate learning experiences, with over half of its classes containing less than 20 members. Students are encouraged to explore and pursue their passions in classes taught by Nobel laureates, MacArthur fellows, and Turing award winners.

Getting into UC Berkeley means rubbing shoulders with the past, current, and future leaders of society. On any given day, students might have office hours with faculty who are discovering ground-breaking gene therapies or designing a new class of robots for daily use. After class, they might study on the Sophomore Lawn or at the Ludwig fountain before visiting the iconic Berkeley Art Museum or heading into downtown San Francisco to mentor foster youth. On and off-campus, UC Berkeley students live out their passion for education, research, and public service.

And after UC Berkeley? Graduates join the worldwide Berkeley alumni network, which spans into every industry. UC Berkeley alumni have won over 30 Nobel Peace Prizes, 20 Academy Awards, and 100 Olympic gold medals. They’ve held the highest positions in many government offices, including the U.S. Secretary of State. They’ve founded major tech empires such as Apple and Intel. Wherever new Berkeley graduates turn, they’ll find fellow alumni eager to offer mentorship and guidance.

With all the advantages of a Berkeley education, it’s no surprise that over 80,000 students apply to UC Berkeley every year—the admissions competition is intense. Continue reading to learn how to get your child into UC Berkeley. We’ll explore the UC Berkeley acceptance rate, the UC Berkeley admissions requirements, and the UC Berkeley application.

UC Berkeley ranking
Forbes: 13

Niche: 46

US News & World Report: 22

Wall Street Journal: 34

Where is UC Berkeley located?
UC Berkeley is located in Berkeley, CA, overlooking the scenic San Francisco Bay. Students can hop on San Francisco’s easy-to-navigate public transportation system, the BART, and explore every corner of the city in a matter of minutes. They can easily visit historical sites like Alcatraz prison, take selfies at popular tourist attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge or Pier 39, or catch a glimpse into the future by exploring Silicon Valley.

UC Berkeley sits an hour south of Napa Valley, California’s most prominent wine country, and an hour west of Sacramento, the capital of California, giving students plenty of options for adventuring on the weekends. And if they choose to stay local, they can shop, dine, and play to their hearts’ content in the vibrant and progressive city of San Francisco.

UC Berkeley setting
Urban. The UC Berkeley campus serves as the heart of Berkeley—it’s unofficial “Central Park.” Many parts of its pristine 1,232-acre campus are open for the public to enjoy. UC Berkeley’s campus offers students and residents beautiful redwood forests to connect with nature, historic architecture to reminisce about the past, and a tranquil creek to engage in contemplation.

With the San Francisco Bay resting just two miles west of UC Berkeley’s campus, students are encouraged to bike down to the water and explore new aquatic hobbies. And for further outdoor adventures, Mt. Diablo—a mere ten miles east of campus—offers pleasant hiking trails and spectacular views.

The city of Berkeley offers students a variety of dining and shopping options—from historic diners to trendy new restaurants and boutiques. With the UC Berkeley campus located immediately beside downtown Berkeley, students can easily engage in the community, both taking advantage of its cultural opportunities and giving back through community service.

Undergraduate population
30,853 students.

Graduate population
11,856 students.

UC Berkeley acceptance rate
Freshman acceptance rate: 16.8%. In 2019, 87,389 freshmen applied to UC Berkeley, 14,661 were admitted, and 6,454 students enrolled.

Transfer acceptance rate: 25.3%. In 2019, 19,074 transfer students applied to UC Berkeley, 4,818 were admitted, and 2,554 students enrolled.

Cost of attendance per year (i.e., tuition, room, board, and fees)
$39,550 for California residents. $69,304 for non-residents.

Average financial aid award:

Who gets into UC Berkeley?
Ninety-eight percent of students accepted to UC Berkeley placed in the top ten percent of their high school graduating classes.

UC Berkeley releases the GPA range for the middle 50% of its admitted students, which demonstrates how competitive the applicant pool is.

UC Berkeley average weighted GPA:

25th percentile: 4.00

75th percentile: 4.29

UC Berkeley average unweighted GPA:

25th percentile: 3.89

75th percentile: 4.00

Test scores;

UC Berkeley average ACT score

25th percentile: 30

75th percentile: 35

UC Berkeley average SAT score

25th percentile: 1350

75th percentile: 1540

California residents: 84%

Out-of-state residents: 16%

International students: 13%

Financial aid recipients: 65%

First-generation students: 15%

Students of Asian descent make up the largest racial demographic at Berkeley with 43% of the student population. The next-largest groups are Caucasian students (21%), Hispanic students (15%), and African-American or black students (3%).

The most popular majors at UC Berkeley are Social Sciences, Engineering, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Natural Resources and Conservation.

Part 2: UC Berkeley admissions requirements
As part of the UC system, UC Berkeley has unique admissions requirements you won’t find at most other public universities. To help your child increase their admissions odds, let’s take a closer look at how to get into UC Berkeley.

UC Berkeley’s “A-G” course requirements
The UC system has designed its own college preparatory course plan to ensure its applicants possess the ability and knowledge to be successful in the rigorous UC curriculum. Most California high schools put college-bound students on track to fulfill these “A-G” requirements automatically. However, if your child attends a high school outside California, you want to ensure they follow these requirements closely. Missing more than one or two of these classes may leave your child ineligible to attend UC Berkeley or any other UC school.

(A) History/Social Science: Two years required

One year of world history, cultures or geography

One year of U.S. history OR half a year of U.S. history and half a year of U.S. government

(B) English: Four years required

(C) Mathematics: Three years required, but four years recommended

One year of geometry

(D) Laboratory Science: Two years required, but three years recommended

Must include two of the following: biology, chemistry, and physics

(E) Language other than English: Two years required, but three years recommended

(F) Visual and Performing Arts: One year required

(G) College Preparatory Electives: One year required

Can be additional A-F courses in excess of requirement

Other approved courses: psychology, speech or debate, computer science, economics, etc.

UC Berkeley requires applicants to complete these “A-G” classes with a 3.0 GPA or higher. But completing the minimum class and GPA requirements won’t be enough to get your child into UC Berkeley. They will need to show off their abilities and prove they have what it takes to thrive in a rigorous academic environment.

When evaluating students’ academic history, UC Berkeley will pay special consideration to three important factors:

The number of college prep, honors, dual enrollment, and AP or IB classes completed

The overall pattern of grades (Is there an upward or downward trend? Are grades steady or inconsistent?)

The classes planned for 12th grade—a reminder that senior year definitely matters!

If your child excels in their “A-G” classes and passes the bar on these three additional measures, they’ll increase their chances of getting into UC Berkeley.

UC Berkeley’s testing requirements
The UC system has recently made significant changes to its standardized testing requirements. For the entering classes of fall 2021 and fall 2022, all UC schools, including UC Berkeley, will be “test-optional,” meaning students can choose whether or not they want to submit their SAT or ACT scores. Students who don’t submit test scores will still receive full admission consideration.

In fall 2023 and fall 2024, admission to the UC schools will be “test-blind” for students from California, meaning test scores will not be considered when reviewing their applications at all. The UC system is working to create a testing policy for non-Californian students, which will be made available on the UC website prior to the fall 2023 admissions cycle.

All this to say, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the UC schools for updates to their testing requirements and what they will mean for your child. In the meantime, it’s important to know that UC Berkeley will still use applicants’ scores from AP and IB exams as one of the many factors it considers in its holistic review process.

UC Berkeley extracurricular requirements

UC Berkeley: Acceptance Rate, SAT/ACT Scores, GPA

With so many high-achieving students applying to UC Berkeley, your child’s choice of extracurricular activities presents an opportunity for them to stand out. There’s no one “right” activity that can guarantee they’ll get accepted to UC Berkeley. Instead, the best chance they have is to pursue one or two of their interests in a variety of activities that demonstrate their best qualities.

For example, if your child loves coding, they should explore that passion in several ways. They could start a Computer Science club at school and learn one or more of the different computer programming languages. They could attend a summer coding boot camp to advance their skills. They could volunteer at after-school programs to teach younger students how to code. And they might start their own business building or improving websites for local small businesses.

Taken together, this collection of activities show leadership, a passion for learning, entrepreneurship, initiative, and a desire to serve others—as well as a developed interest in computer science. Encourage your child to do what they love, find ways to expand their knowledge or skills, and use their talents to better their community. This approach is sure to make a strong impression on the UC Berkeley admissions committee.

(Suggested reading: Extracurricular Activities for College Admissions: The Ultimate Guide)

How to Get Into UC Berkeley: 4 Steps to a Stellar Application

UC Berkeley application requirements
After a high school career spent pursuing academic rigor and extracurricular depth, your child might be ready to apply to UC Berkeley. Here are the UC Berkeley application requirements to guide their process:

University of California application

A high school transcript is needed to input grades into the online application but is not submitted with the application.

Optional: SAT or ACT scores

Optional: AP or IB exam scores

Optional: Two letters of recommendation. A small number of applicants may be asked to submit recommendations if the application evaluators need additional information to make a decision. Students who don’t receive a specific request for recommendation letters should not submit them.

If your child is applying to the Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology (MET) Program, they will be asked to submit an additional supplemental essay and may be invited to interview.

If your child is applying to the Global Management Program through the Haas School of Business, they will be asked to submit an additional supplemental essay and may be invited to interview.

Quick UC Berkeley Admissions Statistics
Let’s start out with the basics. Wondering how to get into UC Berkeley? Here are the facts you’ll need!

UC Berkeley SAT Scores (middle 50%, composite) 1330-1530
UC Berkeley ACT Scores (middle 50%, composite) 29-35
Average GPA for admitted UC Berkeley students (unweighted) 3.86-4.00
UC Berkeley acceptance rate (2020) 17.6%

Of course, that isn’t the whole picture. Read on for more about UC Berkeley admissions.

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The UC System and Test-Blind Admissions in 2021
Before we dive into UC Berkeley test scores, an important note: UC admissions has announced that, beginning with students applying for fall 2021 admission, they will not take SAT or ACT scores into consideration.

This is different from a test-optional policy. With a test-optional policy, you choose whether or not the school will consider your scores. With a test-blind policy, the schools won’t consider them, even if you do send them. However, this is only (definitely) true for the fall 2021 entering class!

This may not be true for future applicants, depending on pending litigation. Legally, a judge has decided that the test-optional policy the UC system had decided to implement first was unfair to applicants with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has only been decided with a preliminary injunction, though. This could be overturned later. If the UC system’s lawyers win their case, the schools will become test-optional instead of test-blind for applicants for fall 2022 forward. Watch this space for more news!

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More About UC Berkeley SAT Scores
Before we dive into UC Berkeley SAT scores, an important note: UC Berkeley admissions has announced that, beginning with students applying for fall 2021 admission, they will not take SAT or ACT scores into consideration.

If you have awesome SAT or ACT scores, that’s great—they can definitely still help you with things like course placement and even scholarships (though not the UC Regents and Chancellor’s scholarships, also now test-blind). However, they will not be an admissions factor in 2020.

If you’re wondering how these scores came into play historically, though— as you might expect, Berkeley students tend to receive fairly high scores. This table shows the 25th-75th percentiles in each section for the admitted class of 2020.

UC Berkeley Composite SAT Scores (middle 50%) 1330-1530
UC Berkeley Evidence-Based Reading and Writing SAT Scores (middle 50%) 640-740
UC Berkeley Math SAT Scores (middle 50%) 670-790

The composite score of 1330-1530 is useful to take into consideration, even if you’re applying for admission after the new testing policy has gone into effect. Why? For one, it shows you exactly how strong UC Berkeley students are academically. These scores place the middle 50% of admitted students between the 89th and 99th percentile of all SAT takers. No doubt about it, they’re high achievers!

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More About UC Berkeley ACT Scores
Again, just a reminder that UC Berkeley will not take ACT scores into consideration starting with students applying for the class of fall 2021. If you’re trying to figure out your chances of admission, the average ACT score won’t help you. However, there are still reasons to keep this information in mind! Here’s a brief snapshot of the most recent data available for UC Berkeley ACT scores:

UC Berkeley Composite ACT Scores (middle 50%) 29-35
UC Berkeley English ACT Scores (middle 50%) 28-35
UC Berkeley Math ACT Scores (middle 50%) 27-35
UC Berkeley Reading ACT Scores (middle 50%) 28-35
UC Berkeley Science ACT Scores (middle 50%) 26-34

Does that mean you shouldn’t take the ACT or SAT if you’re applying to UC Berkeley? No! This can be really helpful for getting scholarship money and class placement. Also, remember that even though Berkeley may not be considering your test scores, this might not be true for other colleges you’re applying to.

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UC Berkeley Acceptance Rate
UC Berkeley’s acceptance rate shows that it truly deserves the “most selective” label that U.S. News & World Report has given it. For freshman admission in 2020, the school received 88,066 applications and accepted 15,461 students, yielding an overall admissions rate of 17.6%.

This is slightly above the 2019 admissions rate of 16.8% (87,389 applicants, of whom 13,558 were admitted). However, this is a slight difference in the grand scheme of things.

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UC Berkeley GPA Average
Admitted students to UC Berkeley had unweighted GPAs of 3.86-4.00 (middle 50%). The fact that this is the middle 50% of GPAs is key, as it means that the upper 25% of students admitted had perfect 4.00s.

More than 80,000 apply to be UC Berkeley freshmen | Berkeley News

How do schools calculate GPAs? Use this process for an unweighted (out of 4.00) GPA:

Look at your high school transcript.
Give yourself points for each grade:
Assign 4 points for each A.
Assign 3 points for each B.
Assign 2 points for each C.
Assign 1 point for each D.
Divide the total by the number of graded courses.
Weighted GPAs at UC Berkeley ranged from 4.27-4.62. This happens when schools weight honors or AP courses by assigning 5 points for each A, 4 for each B, and so on.

As UC Berkeley admissions moves away from using standardized test scores, grades will likely become even more important in the admissions process.

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UC Berkeley Freshman Profile
Although data from the 2020 admissions cycle is just beginning to come in, the school has already provided some key statistics about their latest group of incoming freshmen. 76.5% of admitted students attended public schools. 5.25% come from rural areas, while 26.6% are in the first generation in their family to attend college.

The 2019-2020 admitted class provides even more info about the kinds of students that UC Berkeley admits. In short? They come from all over and have all different kinds of backgrounds. Undergraduates came from 52 U.S. states and territories, as well as 74 countries. Combined, admitted students spoke 20+ languages!

Age isn’t a barrier to admission at Berkeley, either. The oldest undergraduate admitted was 28; the youngest was 15.

The 2019-2020 freshman also included 200+ more underrepresented minority students (Native Americans, African Americans, and Chicanx/Latinx) than the previous year, for a total of 2,934 students.

In other words, UC Berkeley students constitute an incredibly diverse body in a number of ways.

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Other Berkeley Admissions Requirements and Information
To be considered for UC Berkeley admission, you’ll need to meet the requirements for the UC system overall. One key requirement is the subject requirement (A-G). This means taking 15 year-long courses in high school, getting a minimum grade of a C. 11 must be completed before your final year.

You can also meet some of these requirements through testing, by the way—so don’t write off those standardized exams just yet!

Important! The letter grade requirement for A-G courses completed during the 2020 winter, spring or summer terms has been temporarily dropped. Pass/Credit grades meet the requirement, but will NOT be part of the GPA calculation (so GPA requirements for A-G classes still apply).

These subject requirements include:

A) History: 2 years, including specific requirements;
B) English: 4 years, including specific requirements;
C) Mathematics: 3 years, including specific requirements;
D) Science: 2 years, including specific requirements;
E) Language other than English: 2 years, including specific requirements;
F) Visual and performing arts: 1 year, including specific requirements;
G) College-preparatory elective: 1 year, including specific requirements.

In addition to taking these courses, there is also a UC Berkeley GPA requirement: to be considered for admission, you need a 3.0 GPA in A-G courses taken in the 10th and 11th grade years if you are a California resident. Non-residents, you’ll need a 3.4 GPA in those subjects.

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Berkeley Admissions FAQs
Is it harder to get into UCLA or Berkeley?
The short answer is UCLA—but the longer answer is that it will be easier for some students to get into UCLA and some to get into Berkeley.

Recent admissions data shows that UCLA is slightly more competitive, with a 14% acceptance rate in 2019-2020 (last year’s admission rate was 16.8% for Berkeley). This is a very small difference, though!

Meanwhile, UCLA had average SAT scores of 1365, while Berkeley’s ranged slightly higher, 1330-1530 (implying an average SAT score of 1430). Similarly, UCLA’s average composite ACT score was 29, while this is the bottom of the 50% range for Berkeley. UCLA’s average weighted GPA was 4.31, while this is at the lower end of Berkeley’s middle 50% range of 4.27-4.62.

What does this tell us? UCLA lets in a smaller percentage of its applicants, but Berkeley’s have higher stats. In other words, the UC Berkeley applications pool is likely more competitive.

Because of this, it’s not really “easier” or “harder” to get into one school over the other. Instead, focus on boosting your GPA as high as possible, showing off your extracurriculars, and writing stellar essays that explain why each school is right for you!

Does UC Berkeley use the Common App?
Nope! None of the UC schools use the Common Application, actually. They use their very own University of California application, instead. This is true of all of the UCs, such as UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz.

Orientation Leaders to New Students: Welcome to UC Berkeley! | by UC  Berkeley Admissions | Medium

Does UC Berkeley offer financial aid?
Yes, it does— and it tends to be pretty generous. Entering freshmen receive an average of $23,767 in aid.

There are two different kinds of financial aid: need-based and merit-based. Need-based aid includes scholarships, federal loans and work-study programs. Last year, 41% of Berkeley students received some kind of need-based financial aid overall.

Merit-based aid is based on academic achievements, athletics, or other accomplishments. Average Berkeley freshmen received almost $8,000 in merit-based aid.

Does UC Berkeley require the SAT Subject Tests?
According to the University of California system website, the answer is “it’s recommended.” Don’t be fooled though. ‘Recommended,’ in this case, would be like your doctor telling you that, “I recommend that you get that mole removed as soon as possible.” They aren’t required, but most competitive students are going to submit them.

I really hate to make light of a difficult (and immensely frustrating) situation, but consider a few facts. In the fall of 2015, 78,918 students applied to UC Berkeley. The average unweighted GPA of accepted students was 3.91. To say the least, it’s a tall order for anyone to receive the ‘fat envelope’ from UC Berkeley.

Because of the deluge of applicants, SAT Subject Tests play an important role in college admissions. For example, if your application is going up against a near-identical student, it may all come down to how you performed on your Subject Tests. Though you’ll never know either way if Subject Test scores tipped the balance, they are a powerful tool in the ultra-competitive world of college admissions.

Show more about choosing SAT Subject Tests for UC Berkeley admissions

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A Final Word: How to Get Into Berkeley
If Berkeley’s your dream school, you’re in good company! So how do you get the edge in applying?

UC Berkeley admissions officers review the following characteristics when going over your application.

Difficulty of courses taken in high school and grades received in those courses
Your personal qualities, such as leadership, motivation, and passion for helping the community
Your extracurricular activities
Performance in outside of school academic enrichment programs
With all of that said, though, Cal does use a holistic review process: they look at how the aspects of your application combine to show off who you are, not just what your grades have to say about you.

If you’re a junior or senior, focus on what you can control now: your current grades and activities, and emphasizing your personal qualities and performance in various activities on your application. Show off who you are and why you’re a good fit for Berkeley! Good luck!

UC Berkeley Requirements for Admission
What are UC Berkeley’s admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:

GPA requirements
Testing requirements, including SAT and ACT requirements
Application requirements
In this guide we’ll cover what you need to get into UC Berkeley and build a strong application.

School location: Berkeley, CA

This school is also known as: Berkeley, UC Berkeley, University of California, Berkeley


Admissions Rate: 14.8%
If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at UC Berkeley is 14.8%. For every 100 applicants, only 15 are admitted.

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This means the school is extremely selective. Meeting their GPA requirements and SAT/ACT requirements is very important to getting past their first round of filters and proving your academic preparation. If you don’t meet their expectations, your chance of getting in is nearly zero.

After crossing this hurdle, you’ll need to impress UC Berkeley application readers through their other application requirements, including extracurriculars, essays, and letters of recommendation. We’ll cover more below.

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UC Berkeley GPA Requirements
Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school’s average GPA for its current students.

Average GPA: 3.89
The average GPA at UC Berkeley is 3.89.

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(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 3.89, UC Berkeley requires you to be near the top of your class, and well above average. Your transcript should show mostly A’s. Ideally, you will also have taken several AP or IB classes to show that you can handle academics at a college level.

If you’re currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.89, you’ll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

SAT and ACT Requirements
Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to UC Berkeley. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

UC Berkeley SAT Requirements
Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school’s average score.

Average SAT: 1415
The average SAT score composite at UC Berkeley is a 1415 on the 1600 SAT scale.

This score makes UC Berkeley Strongly Competitive for SAT test scores.

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UC Berkeley SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1300, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1530. In other words, a 1300 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1530 will move you up to above average.

Here’s the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

Section Average 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
Math 725 660 790
Reading + Writing 690 640 740
Composite 1415 1300 1530
SAT Score Choice Policy
The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

UC Berkeley has the Score Choice policy of “All Scores.”

This means that UC Berkeley requires you to send all SAT scores you’ve ever taken to their office.

This sounds daunting, but most schools don’t actually consider all your scores equally. For example, if you scored an 1300 on one test and a 1500 on another, they won’t actually average the two tests.

In fact, we researched the score policies at UC Berkeley, and they have the following policy:

We require all scores and will use the highest scores from a single administration.


Some students are still worried about submitting too many test scores. They’re afraid that UC Berkeley will look down on too many attempts to raise your score. But how many is too many?

From our research and talking to admissions officers, we’ve learned that 4-6 tests is a safe number to submit. The college understands that you want to have the best chance of admission, and retaking the test is a good way to do this. Within a reasonable number of tests, they honestly don’t care how many times you’ve taken it. They’ll just focus on your score.

If you take it more than 6 times, colleges start wondering why you’re not improving with each test. They’ll question your study skills and ability to improve.

But below 6 tests, we strongly encourage retaking the test to maximize your chances. If your SAT score is currently below a 1530, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You don’t have much to lose, and you can potentially raise your score and significantly boost your chances of getting in.

SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements
Both the SAT and ACT have an optional essay section.

UC Berkeley requires you to take the SAT Essay/ACT Writing section. They’ll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.

SAT Subject Test Requirements
Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

UC Berkeley has indicated that SAT subject tests are recommended. Typically this means that SAT subject tests are not required, but submitting them can showcase particular strengths. For example, if you’re applying to an engineering school, submitting science and math SAT subject tests will boost your application.

Typically, your SAT/ACT and GPA are far more heavily weighed than your SAT Subject Tests. If you have the choice between improving your SAT/ACT score or your SAT Subject Test scores, definitely choose to improve your SAT/ACT score.


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