One of the greatest parts of living in California is our dedicated network of public higher education institutions.  There are no other states in our union that have multiple schools rank as highly as ours do.  Perhaps the shining star of the University of California system is UC Berkeley.  It has consistently been recognized as our nation’s top public university and one of the best in the world.  Graduates include everyone from Nobel laureates to Olympic athletes.  No matter what you end up doing with your life after graduating, you’ll be connected to a massive web of alumni.


True to its UC name, UC Berkeley primarily serves the students of California.  Nearly two-thirds of the incoming class are from the Golden State. But, still, many students come from across the country with all 50 states represented and 9 percent of the class of 2021 are from other countries.  Ironically, the acceptance rate for out-of-state students was two and a half points higher than in-state ones.  While the school has yet to hit over 100,000applications as UCLA has, there are still more and more students applying every year.  This year there were 85,000 applications and that number is expected to continue increasing.  However, unlike other institutions of similar distinction, UC Berkeley has managed to actually increase its percentage of admitted students.  This year the 18.3 percent applicants were accepted, up from 17.5 the previous year.  The school also makes a dedicated effort to accept transfer students, many of whom are coming from community colleges or from underprivileged communities.  Their goal is that for every two California freshmen admitted, one transfer student will be admitted as well.  In an age where the number of rejected students is often used as a proxy for an institution’s prestige, it’s great to see a school reject that narrative and choose to expand its student body.  This decision speaks volumes of UC Berkeley’s public school ethos; Forbes recently ranked it as the fourth best bang for your buck.


In 2021, average GPA of a UC Berkeley student was 3.86 and 98 percent were in the top tenth of their high school’s graduating class.  They scored a 1420 on their SATs and 33 on their ACTs.  It’s important to note that, as is the case with all University of California schools, those stats are slightly lower for students from California.  The campus also has a vibrant multicultural community, accepting students from 74 different countries!  To put this into context, that’s more than Stanford or Harvard.  Furthermore, 20 percent of its admitted students are underrepresented minorities.  UC Berkeley has also made significant strides in affordability.  The yearly tuition for California residents is just over 13,000 dollars, almost two-thirds less than out of state students. Additionally, that number has barely budged over the last five years while tuition has typically risen about three percent per year.  Scholarships and grants guarantee that most Californians will only pay an additional 5,000 for room and board on top of that.  If you want to attend a college which truly values bringing together an assortment of identities for a common learning experience, UC Berkeley is the place to be.


Despite its status as a large state university, UC Berkeley makes a genuine effort to holistically review each of their student’s applications.  They place a premium on leadership.  This is defined broadly and includes typical leadership positions such as being the captain of a varsity sports team, but also taking care of your siblings or ailing grandmother.  I believe that everyone has been a leader in some capacity within their life.  Successfully identifying how will be a boon to your application.


The school offers great opportunities once you set foot on campus.  Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich teaches economics classes and famed behavioral psychologist Daniel Kahneman is known to give lectures about his research.  The school’s history of groundbreaking scientific research, including the Father of the Atomic Bomb Robert Oppenheimer, continues to this day with almost one hundred labs on campus.  You’ll be in a prime position to be on the cutting of edge of whatever discipline piques your interest, whether that is food science or geological history.


UC Berkeley is also home to one of the world’s longest running student cooperative systems where each member has joint ownership of their home.  Traditionally, these houses have also been a hotbed of student activism which continues unabated to this day.  Even if you aren’t particularly interested in getting involved, that community still creates the possibility of new learning about contemporary political issues outside the classroom.  The value of that intellectual diversity can’t be understated.


Even if you don’t live in California, Berkeley should be the top of your head when you think of our country’s great universities.  You’ll learn from and with the best and brightest.  We at Ivy Admissions want to play a pivotal role in your college search.  We’ve already had XX students accepted to our nation’s top public university and can’t sing enough of its praises.  If you went there, we’re sure you would too.