University of California Berkeley Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know

Overview of University of California Berkeley

The University of California Berkeley is a large public institution with an acceptance rate of 16.8 percent. This makes it of the most selective public institutions in the country. The institution has a large selection of undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students to choose from. A robust student/faculty ratio backs students, and professors take a personalized approach to the teaching and learning process. Outside of the classroom, students will find plenty of opportunities to engage with the campus community via the university’s many clubs and organizations.


  • Total Enrollment: 42,501 (30,853 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 47 percent male/53 percent female
  • 96 percent full-time

Cost of Attendance Information

  • Tuition and Fees: $14,184 (in-state); $43,176 (out-of-state)
  • Books: $870
  • Room and Board: $18,754
  • Other Expenses: $5,148
  • Total Cost: $38,956 (in-state); $67,948 (out-of-state)

Financial Aid Information

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 60 percent
  •  Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 49 percent
    • Loans: 21 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $18,993
    • Loans: $5,627

Academic Programs Offered

  • Most Popular Majors: Social Sciences; Engineering; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies; and Natural Resources and Conservation

Retention and Graduation

  • First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 97 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 74 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 91 percent

NCAA Athletic Programs

  • Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Crew-Rowing, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field
  • Women’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Crew-Rowing, Field Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis

Overview of University of California Berkeley Admissions

Like all the University of California schools, Berkeley is highly selective. Berkeley Students with good grades and good test scores are likely to be admitted. Applicants must complete an online application and send test scores from either the SAT or ACT and high school transcripts. Half of the students submit SAT scores while half submit ACT scores. Glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a challenging course load. After applying, students will receive a message from an admissions counselor about the application process’s next steps. Interested students should check out the university’s website, which has helpful tips and contact information for the admissions offices. You should consider it a reach school even if your grades and SAT/ACT scores are on target for admission.

Admissions Data

The institution had an acceptance rate of 16.8%. For every 16 students who gained admission, 84 students received rejection letters.

SAT Requirements and Scores

79% of admitted students provided SAT scores during the 2018-2019 school term. If Berkeley’s SAT numbers are compared to national SAT score ranges, you’ll find that nearly all students scored in the top 20% of test-takers. Half of Berkeley’s admitted students scored between 650 and 740 on the evidence-based reading part. This means 25% of students got a 650 or lower, and the top 25% scored a 740 or higher. Scores on the math exam were higher, with  50% scoring between 670 and 790. The bottom 25% got a 670 or lower, and the top quartile scored either a 790 or perfect 800. Competitive applicants for this school will have a combined SAT score of 1450 or higher.

ACT Requirements and Scores

For the entering class of 2018-19, 50% provided ACT scores. The SAT is more popular than the ACT among Berkeley applicants, but both exams are equally acceptable. In comparing ACT scores for the nation’s top public universities, you’ll see that only Georgia Tech is more selective. Compared to all test-takers nationally, Berkeley students tend to be in the top 5%. 50% of Berkeley’s admitted students scored between 30 and 34 on the exam. This means 25% of applicants scored a 30 or lower, while 25% scored a 34 or higher on the upper end.

GPA and Class Rank

The high school GPA of all first-year students who enrolled at Berkeley in the 2018-19 academic year was 3.91. 97.4% of admitted students had GPAs of 3.50 or higher. 98% of students who gained admission were in the top 10% of their high school, and 100% were in the top 25%.

Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission

If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for the University of California Berkeley, then it should be easy for you to gain admissions to the schools below. If the University of California Berkeley is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.

Stony Brook University, University of Texas at Dallas, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Syracuse University, University of Cincinnati, Penn State University Park

Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission

If you’re a competitive candidate for the University of California Berkeley, you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.

University of California, Los Angeles, Villanova University, Binghamton University, Lehigh University, University of Florida, University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Texas at Austin

Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will Be More of a Challenge

These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than the University of California Berkeley. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, then you’ll be a competitive candidate for these schools.

Cornell University, Tufts University, Duke University, Northeastern University, Emory University, University of Michigan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Applying to University of California Berkeley

Application Deadline: November 30

Undergraduate Admissions Website:

Undergraduate Application Link(s):

Graduate Admissions Website:

Graduate Application Link(s):

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