UC Berkeley Admissions Consulting Services
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 by: (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), and (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 a 4.2. For the College of Engineering, not including Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EE/CS), the average admitted GPA is over a 4.3. 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 a 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 an 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.
Approaching the UC Berkeley Essays
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 works 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.
For more information about the college application process,
contact us at 1.646.598.8174 or .