Guiding your student beyond the application.

CV 2019 - Berkeley

College visit.

UC Berkeley



Competitive, motivated, liberal, and intelligent. That is how Cal Bears describe themselves and the UC Berkeley community. Berkeley is not for the shy student or late-bloomer but much better suited to the student who is motivated by being around other high-achievers. In fact, 98% of admitted students are ranked in the top 10% of their high school class (the admission process compares students to other applicants from the same high school). Students here are driven, and the buzzwords I heard during the admission presentation often included “(academic) achievement and (extracurricular) impact.” Out-of-state students have a 15% chance of being admitted (in-state admission is 17%), apply with a 3.94 GPA (recalculated to include only “a-g” courses), and 1390 SAT or 33 ACT.

With over 30,000 undergraduates on campus (and 11,600 graduates), students at Berkeley learn to be self-sufficient, persistent, and comfortable in large classes (there are just as many instructional graduate assistants as there are full-time faculty). But most students here don’t mind not getting to know their professors personally, and are just as happy listening to lectures from their “world class” instructors. Berkeley is known, after all, for its research and graduate programs, many of which rank among the best in the nation. Comments one student, “It is not unusual to walk into an entry-level class and have 300 to 400 students sitting along with you; however, the caliber of instruction is top notch and you can always make an appointment during your professor’s office hours if you need additional support.”  

Berkeley’s pretty campus is spread across 1,200 acres on a hill overlooking San Francisco Bay. The campus has a variety of architectural styles ranges from the classical amphitheater to the modern East Asian Library. Being a UC school, 86% of students are from California but it is more ethnically diverse than geographically (26% of students are white). Additionally, there are a few non-humans on campus that I noticed on my tour that I learned are food delivery robots called Kiwi’s, that seem to bring levity to student’s daily routines.

Division I varsity athletics are an important part of the culture at Berkeley, and the university is a top producer of Olympic athletes. Greek life is noticeable (and many of them have gorgeous houses) but only comprises 10% of students. Housing after freshmen year can be challenging. UC Berkeley only provides places to live for 26% of its undergraduates and nearby housing can be expensive and difficult to find if you are on a budget.

“Free thought”, “Free Speech”, ‘Innovation and Disruption” are all phrases that fill Berkeley students and staff with pride. Academically and socially-driven students who want to live in a big city but on a campus (Berkeley comes with the Bay Area traffic), will love what Berkeley has to offer.

College Bound & Ready students: click here to learn more about Kristen’s visit to Berkeley, or contact her for a consultation.

Liked this college visit? Read more on our College Visits page.