There are dozens of reasons why a college hopeful would choose Berkeley.
For one thing, Berkeley is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the world.
But beyond that, Berkeley is unique compared to many prestigious institutions in the fact that it captures the feel of a large university—with old-standing school traditions, D1 sports teams, and larger-than-life facilities—in the unique way only public universities do.
Often, universities with a prestigious reputation like Berkeley don’t capture that large-university feel.
MIT, ranked one spot above Berkeley, has around 11,000 students.
In this way, Berkeley is unique in offering the one-of-a-kind large university atmosphere while still sustaining its prestigious academic reputation.
But for so many, the path to Berkely does not begin right out of high school. In fact, there are good reasons why one might, for example, spend a year or two in a California community college prior to attending Berkeley.
In California, the state mandates that around one-third of all admitted students must be transfer students. Of that one-third, approximately 92% come from a California community college.
As this article will show, this leads to Berkeley being an ideal choice for many hoping to transfer from a previous institution.
This article will lay out the nature of transferring at UC Berkeley, from acceptance rates, to transfer requirements, to resources available for transferring students on the Berkeley campus.
In doing so, you will leave this article with all the information they need to begin a successful attempt at becoming a member of Berkeley’s prestigious student body.
UC Berkeley Transfer Acceptance Rate
The transfer acceptance rate at UC Berkeley is around 25%.
In comparison, the acceptance rate for non-transfer students hovers around 17%.
Importantly, of the roughly 5,000 transfer students Berkeley receives each year, a staggering 95% of them are transferring from a California community college.
Although the state mandates a high proportion of transfer students be admitted per year, Berkeley has independently decided to prioritize students coming from the California community college system.
However, this general admitted rate for transfer students naturally varies from discipline to discipline. The University of California school system provides a full list of transfer acceptance rates per discipline at UC Berkeley on its website.
Admittance rates vary from 83% of transfer students accepted into the ancient Egyptian art program, whereas only 5% of transfer students were admitted into Berkeley’s computer science program.
Related to general admissions data is the amount of Berkeley students who receive scholarships, as scholarships can make or break one’s ability to attend a school.
Although much of the Berkeley acceptance rate depends on the specific program one applies to, it remains a fact that the school puts a concerted effort into welcoming a large number of transfer students.
Application Requirements & GPA for UC Berkeley Transfers
Berkeley specifies that students must have a 3.0 in “all transferable college-level coursework.”
As well, students must have obtained at least 60 UC-transferable credits prior to being transferred to Berkeley.
Nearly all coursework completed at another UC public/community college will count as transferable coursework, but for those who are not transferring from
a UC institution, more information regarding whether a credit will count towards one’s Berkeley application can be found on the Berkeley website.
Furthermore, one must have completed lower-division courses in one’s major.
The best course of action to determine whether the courses you have taken at a previous institution will count towards Berkeley’s requirements is for students to contact the specific department which they hope to join, especially considering that many departments require a minimum GPA for lower-level courses in order for them to be accepted.
The College of Chemistry, for example, lays out in detail the specific coursework requirements for transfer students and the expected grades for such courses.
UC Berkeley Transfer Deadline
The deadline for transfer students to apply to UC Berkeley is November 30th of each year, and the transfer deadline to accept the offer of admission is June 1st of each year. Applications for UCB open on August 1st.
On January 6th, an online form for transfer students will be made available for them to update their application with the latest grades from their previous institution.
This form exists because, typically, institutions will only report final grades for the fall semester after the November 30th application deadline.
The priority deadline for this transfer update form is January 31st, and even though transfer students will be able to access this form after that date, it is highly advised that students complete it prior to the beginning of February.
For financial aid, the deadline to fill out the FAFSA and the CA Dream Act is March 2nd. March 2nd is also the application due date for general Berkeley scholarships, though specific scholarships will have varying application due dates.
What is the Decision Date for UC Berkeley Transfers?
Transfer students will be notified of their acceptance at the end of April, and have until June 1st to accept their offer of admission. Admitted transfer students will be offered the chance to fill out a statement of intent to register (SIR), and this form is due on the acceptance deadline of June 1st as well.
Upon accepting the offer of admission, students put down a $250 acceptance fee, which counts as the first tuition payment.
Although this fee can be waived in a variety of ways, this deposit cannot be submitted late, and as such, be sure to have these funds on hand on decision day.
After submitting the SIR and paying the acceptance fee, the only two remaining deadlines for newly admitted transfer students is the final official transcript deadline. On July 1st at the latest, students must submit final, official transcripts from all previously attended institutions.
After this, students will be all set to enroll at Berkeley.
Deciding Whether You Should Transfer to UC Berkeley
Once a student has met all the requirements, filled out the applications, and has officially completed all the necessary preparations to transfer to Berkeley, an important question remains: is Berkeley the right choice?
The answer to this question will vary from student to student, but some key factors are sure to play an essential role in the decisions of most students.
For one, as mentioned above, Berkeley is unique in the fact it combines Ivy-league prestige with a large, public university feel. Few places in the country can pull that off as well as Berkeley.
As well, no university utilizes its proximity to Silicon Valley quite like Berkeley—with 10 to 20 companies founded based on Berkeley innovations each year.
On the arts and humanities side of things, Berkeley graduates have gone on to win 39 MacArthur “Genius” Grants, and the Berkeley library system is one of the largest in the world.
According to the National Research Council, three different arts and humanities departments at Berkeley are ranked first in the country: Art History, English, and German.
In fact, although Berkeley is renowned for its contributions to science, technology, and business, it is essential to note that its arts and humanities faculty have won more teaching awards than any other group of faculty.
Berkeley has top-notch public university affordances, D1 athletics, academic prestige, and unique affordances for transfer students one may struggle to find elsewhere. As such, Berkeley is a fantastic choice for any transfer student.
RECAP: How to Apply As a Transfer Student to UC Berkeley
To recap, in order to apply to be a transfer student at Berkeley, the first thing one must do is take a look at the courses they’re currently taking/have taken at their school.
Students should assure they have met the minimum 60 credits necessary for transfer, and that they’ve fulfilled the specific coursework required by their hopeful department.
Attain a 3.0 GPA, 3.5 if applying to the college of engineering, and reach out to prospective departments to clarify their specific coursework requirements.
If possible, one should enroll in a UC school, especially a UC community college, as these students have first priority.
Transfer students should then apply by the November 30th deadline, update their transcript information by January 31st, and submit their FAFSA and CA Dream Act application by March 2nd. Then watch for an acceptance letter to be sent out at the end of April.
Submit the SIR and accept the offer of admission by June 1st, and be sure to have the $250 acceptance fee on hand for that date.
By July 1st, students should submit their final academic transcripts. Once that is done, one can expect to enter into a campus both fun and prestigious, technical and artistic, and all-around world-changing: UC Berkeley.