UC Berkeley: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

Le Conte Hall at UC Berkeley
Le Conte Hall at UC Berkeley.

ThoughtCo / Marisa Benjamin

The University of California Berkeley is a large public university with an acceptance rate of 16.8%. This makes the school one of the most selective public institutions in the country. Considering applying to UC Berkley? Here are the admissions statistics you should know, including average SAT/ACT scores and GPAs of admitted students.

Why UC Berkeley?

  • Location: Berkeley, California
  • Campus Features: Berkeley's attractive 1,232-acre campus occupies enviable real estate in the San Francisco Bay area. Iconic Sather Tower dominates the skyline of the main campus, and other features include an ecological reserve and botanical garden.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 19:1
  • Athletics: The California Golden Bears compete in the NCAA Division I Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12).
  • Highlights: For its many strengths, Berkeley often ranks near the top of the nation's best public universities. It is also one of the nation's top engineering schools and top business schools.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, UC Berkeley had an acceptance rate of 16.8%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 16 students were accepted, making UC Berkley's admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 87,399
Percent Admitted 16.8%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 44%

SAT Scores and Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools will offer test-optional admissions. Applicants may submit SAT or ACT scores, but they are not required. University of California will institute a test-blind policy for in-state applicants beginning with the 2022-23 admissions cycle. Out-of- state applicants will still have the option of submitting test scores during this period. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, 81% of UC Berkeley's admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 640 740
Math 670 790
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of UC Berkeley's admitted students fall within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to Berkeley scored between 640 and 740, while 25% score below 640 and 25% scored above 740. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 670 and 790, while 25% scored below 670 and 25% scored above 790. While SAT scores are no longer required, an SAT score of 1530 or higher is considered competitive for UC Berkeley.

Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools, including UC Berkeley, will no longer require SAT scores for admission. For applicants who submit scores, note that Berkeley does not consider the optional SAT essay section. UC Berkeley does not superscore SAT results; your highest combined score from a single test date will be considered. Subject tests are not required, but are recommended for students with an interest in chemistry and engineering majors.

ACT Scores and Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools will offer test-optional admissions. Applicants may submit SAT or ACT scores, but they are not required. University of California will institute a test-blind policy for in-state applicants beginning with the 2022-23 admissions cycle. Out-of- state applicants will still have the option of submitting test scores during this period. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, 41% of Berkeley's admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 28 35
Math 27 35
Composite 28 34

This admissions data tells us that most of UC Berkeley's admitted students fall within the top 12% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to UC Berkeley received a composite ACT score between 28 and 34, while 25% scored above 34 and 25% scored below 28.

Requirements

Beginning with the 2020-21 admissions cycle, all of the UC schools, including UC Berkeley, will no longer require ACT scores for admission. For applicants who submit scores, note that UC Berkeley does not consider the optional ACT writing section. Berkeley does not superscore ACT results; your highest combined score from a single test administration will be considered.

GPA

In 2019, the middle 50% of UC Berkeley's incoming freshmen class had unweighted GPAs between 3.89 and 4.0. 25% had a GPA above 4.0, and 25% had a GPA below 3.89. These results suggest that most successful applicants to UC Berkeley have primarily A grades.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

UC Berkeley Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
UC Berkeley Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex. 

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to UC Berkeley. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

University of California, Berkeley, which accepts fewer than 20% of applicants, has a highly selective admissions process with above average grades and standardized test scores. However, Berkeley, like all of the University of California schools, has holistic admissions and is test-optional, so the admissions officers are evaluating students on more than numerical data. As part of the application, students are required to write four short personal insight essays. Since UC Berkeley is a part of the University of California system, students can easily apply to multiple schools in that system with one application. Students who show special talent or have a compelling story to tell will often get a close look even if their grades and test scores are a bit below the norm. Impressive extracurricular activities and strong essays are all important parts of a successful application to Berkeley.

Keep in mind that California residents who apply must have a GPA of 3.0 or better with no grade lower than a C in 15 college preparatory "a-g" courses. For non-residents, your GPA must be 3.4 or better. Local students from participating high schools may also qualify if they are in the top 9% of their class.

Most important for admission to UC Berkeley is your academic performance, but Berkeley is looking at much more than your grades. The university wants to see grades that are trending upwards (or at least not downwards) as well as successful completion of challenging college preparatory classes such as AB, IB, and Honors. The university wants to admit students who show passion for learning and who have pushed themselves in high school.

The graph reveals that high scores and a high GPA are no guarantee of admission—some students with excellent scores do not get in. There is quite a bit of red (rejected students) hidden behind the blue and green (admitted students) in the top of the graph. When applying to Berkeley, you'll be safest if you consider it a reach school even if your grades and SAT/ACT scores are on target for admission. 

All admissions data has been sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and UC Berkeley Undergraduate Admissions Office.