Boasting impressive alumni from actor Chris Pine to soccer superstar Alex Morgan, UC Berkeley carries an incredible reputation for research and nurturing students who go on to make a difference in the world. But what is the UC Berkeley acceptance rate? Do you have what it takes to get in?

When you look at 2016’s statistics, 82,573 students applied to be a Golden Bear and only 14,433 were accepted. This makes the UC Berkeley acceptance rate about 17.5%.

About 21% of those accepted are California residents, 16.5% were from other parts of the United States, and a little over 8% come from other parts of the world.

Because the UC Berkeley acceptance rate is so slim, top academic performance is a must. The average GPA of their admits ranges from 3.89 to 3.92.

When you look at their standardized test scores, the need for top performance to be considered becomes clearer:

  •   The average composite SAT score is around a 1440.
  •   The average scores in each section are 740 for Math; a 35 for reading, and a 36 for writing.
  •   The average ACT composite score is a 31.
  •   The average for ACT English is 32 and the average for ACT math is 31.

After reading all of this, it’s not surprising to learn that the Class of 2020 is the most selective admit group in UC Berkeley history. The increasing exclusivity of the admissions process is a common trend among college admissions, making GPAs and standardized test scores more important than ever.

The great thing about knowing these numbers is that you now know what to aim for. And even if you aren’t hitting these marks yet, we’ve gathered some tips and tricks to help increase your chances of being part of the UC Berkeley acceptance rate.

How to Get into UC Berkeley

Like many selective colleges, UC Berkeley has a holistic application process. This means that no one factor is more important than the others when they make a decision to admit you or not. They don’t look at your GPA and immediately accept or reject you. With that and the increasing competitiveness of the UC Berkeley acceptance rate in mind, here are some actionable steps you can take to improve your chances of being accepted.

Be an Academic Superstar

Considering the average GPA of UC Berkeley’s admits, you definitely need to bring your A-game when it comes to coursework. Not only do you need to bring in as many A’s as possible, but taking AP and IB courses will show UC Berkeley that you can handle whatever coursework they throw your way. Taking the AP and IB exams also helps distinguish you academically and are taken into consideration when reviewing your application.

So what does this mean for you? Study your course material, take good notes, ask questions in class, ask the teacher for help, and even invest in a tutor if you’re finding the material challenging. Showing UC Berkeley that you can handle intense academic rigor and perform well helps distinguish you as someone who has a lot to contribute to their community.

Master Those Standardized Tests

Showing your academic mastery through the ACT or SAT is another great way to get your application noticed by UC Berkeley’s admissions department. You can take them more than once, but remember to have all your scores sent to this school. UC Berkeley will determine which testing session was your best and use that to base their admissions decision on.

To do well on the ACT or SAT; taking practice tests on your own or the official Pre-ACT or PSAT is strongly recommended. This way you know what to expect and what areas you need to improve on before taking the official test. You should also invest in working with someone who has obtained top scores in one of these tests as well. They can help you understand what the test creators are actually looking for in the questions they ask.

Get Involved

Whether it’s after school clubs, a job, sports, or community services, showing that you made an impact on those around you shows leadership ability and dedication. What you spend your spare time doing also shows UC Berkeley what kind of energy you will bring to campus. This is how you show them that you’re already contributing to the world and will continue to do so if you’re accepted.

Rock Your Personal Statements

Although your grades and extra-curriculars are one way to show what you’re capable of, your personal statements are an opportunity to give the admissions committee a backstage pass to your life. You can show off your personality, what makes you tick, and show how you’ve grown as a person while preparing for college.

This is also a good opportunity for you to explain why your grades weren’t great during freshman year or how overcoming poverty has prepared you for college and the rest of your life. Be sure to re-write and edit them often. Do multiple drafts and have someone else read over your work so you submit as perfect of an essay as possible.

Research Your Major

Some majors have specific requirements of their students such as auditions or subject tests. Make sure to read up on which major you want to pursue and any requirements they might have. Some even have specific personal statement questions you need to answer on the application so be sure to check those out, too.

UC Berkeley is a competitive university with an impressive line-up of alumni. You have a chance to join the ranks of the Golden Bears if you submit a strong application, work with tutors when you face academic challenges, and show that you’re playing an active role in the world around you. You can be the kind of student colleges will want roaming their halls.

What do you think about UC Berkeley’s standards? Have a question about something we covered here? Leave a comment below. We can’t wait to hear from you!