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Last updated March 21, 2024

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How to Use the UC Berkeley Common Data Set

Key Takeaway

UC Berkeley's Common Data Set reveals crucial elements the university values in its admissions process. Your academic GPA, rigor of high school curriculum, and essays are vital. Extracurricular activities, work experience, and volunteer work are also considered. The university doesn't track demonstrated interest. With a competitive acceptance rate of 11.4%, it's essential to strategize and articulate your unique narrative, interests, and commitments through your application.

The UC Berkeley Common Data Set can be a key tool in your UC Berkeley application process. It's full of information about what the UC Berkeley admissions team looks for in applicants. You’re preparing your application to undergo a multi-stage review process at a selective college, so understanding this data set is a crucial part of your application strategy.

Let's get started.

How UC Berkeley Evaluates Applicants — based on CDS data

Admissions officers at UC Berkeley look at many factors in your application. These factors can vary in importance, ranging from the toughness of your high school curriculum, your GPA, your essay, your extracurricular activities, and more.

As you prepare your application, focus on showcasing your academic excellence, community involvement, and unique personal qualities. This might include sharing your unique story and ensuring that your application pieces tell a cohesive narrative. Your extracurriculars don't necessarily need national recognition, but they should show your leadership skills and your impact.

  Very important Important Considered Not considered
Rigor of Secondary Record X      
Class rank       X
Academic GPA X      
Standardized test scores     X  
Application Essay X      
Recommendation(s)     X  
Interview       X
Extracurricular activities   X    
Talent/ability     X  
Character/personal qualities   X    
First generation     X  
Alumni/ae relation       X
Geographical residence       X
State residency     X  
Religious affiliation/commitment       X
Racial/ethnic status       X
Volunteer work   X    
Work experience   X    
Demonstrated interest       X

Does UC Berkeley track demonstrated interest?

UC Berkeley doesn't track demonstrated interest, according to the Common Data Set. This means that your engagement with UC Berkeley—like attending events or emailing the admissions office—isn't factored into your application evaluation.

Does UC Berkeley care about standardized test scores?

UC Berkeley does consider standardized test scores, but they aren't as important as your academic GPA or your high school course toughness.

Does UC Berkeley care about essays?

Yes, essays matter a lot to UC Berkeley. Through your essays, the admissions officers want to get to know your strengths, personality, and personal values. Well-written, standout essays can be a key part of your application, showing who you are, what you stand for, and your unique story.

What GPA do I need to get into UC Berkeley?

While there's no exact GPA data, we can learn a lot about the academic performance of enrolled students.

GPA % of Enrolled Students
4.0 38.8%
3.75-3.99 51.8%
3.50-3.74 8%
3.25-3.49 1%
3.00-3.24 0.4%
2.50-2.99 0.1%
2.0-2.49, 1.0-1.99, Below 1.0 0%

As you can see, UC Berkeley values academic GPA and your high school curriculum's toughness quite a bit. Over 90% of enrolled first-year students had above a 3.5 GPA, so you should probably aim for that, too.

UC Berkeley Acceptance Rate

Out of the 128,226 applications UC Berkeley received, 14,614 students were accepted. This makes for an acceptance rate of about 11.4%. While it isn't the toughest acceptance rate out there, it's certainly challenging. You need to plan your application strategy carefully in this competitive an admissions environment.

Most popular majors at UC Berkeley

The Common Data Set doesn't directly tell us which majors are most popular, but we can guess based on the percentage of degrees awarded in each field. Let’s take a look.

Major Percent of Degrees Conferred
Social sciences 18
Computer and information sciences 15
Engineering 11
Biological/life sciences 10
Business/marketing 9
Physical sciences 7
Mathematics and statistics 5
Interdisciplinary studies 5
Other fields 20

This data paints a picture of the academic atmosphere at UC Berkeley. Your chosen major can also shape your application strategy. For instance, if you're aiming for a popular major like social sciences or computer and information sciences, be ready to explain why you're a good fit for these subjects.

On the other hand, less common majors such as mathematics and statistics, or interdisciplinary studies, might offer a unique chance to stand out. If you're excited about these areas, you could find less competition and more opportunities.

Using this information wisely can give you a competitive edge in your application. Remember, your chosen major should reflect your genuine interests, and your application should clearly articulate why you've made that choice.

What should you do with all this information?

With an acceptance rate of 11.4% at UC Berkeley, you need to bring your A-game. Your application should show a high academic GPA and a strong high school record. Use your essays to shine a light on your personality and community involvement. Pick a major that truly sparks your interest, and be clear about why you've chosen it.

All this information should help you build a strong application strategy. Even though UC Berkeley doesn't track demonstrated interest, it's still important to participate in activities related to your intended major to show a commitment to your future discipline.

Remember, UC Berkeley is competitive, but with careful preparation and the insights from the Common Data Set, you're well-equipped to make a compelling case for your admission. The sky's the limit for your potential, and this could be your stepping stone to California's flagship university.

Good luck with your application journey!

For more Common Data Set data and a chance to compare admissions criteria between schools, check out the Data Room.




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