University Of California Berkeley Essay Requirements For High School

College of Chemistry

Chemistry and Chemical Biology majors must satisfy the foreign language requirement by one of the following methods by the time they complete 90 semester units:

  1. A letter grade of C- or higher in the third year of a high school foreign language;
  2. Demonstrated proficiency in a foreign language by SAT Subject Test, AP, IB or GCE A level examination;
  3. Grade of at least C- in the third quarter or second semester of foreign language, comparable to an equivalent course taught at UC Berkeley.

Haas School of Business

Junior transfer students must fulfill the foreign language requirement before admission. Students may satisfy the foreign language requirement in any of the following ways:

  • Receiving a grade of C- or higher in high school courses comparable to the third year level of any language other than the language of high school instruction.
  • For many students who attended high school outside of the United States, where English is not the language of instruction, then English may be your foreign language. (For example, if you went to high school in China where the language of instruction was Mandarin and took the 3rd level of English, then English is considered your foreign language).
  • Passing a college course comparable to the second semester of a foreign language as taught at UC Berkeley. This course may be taken for a letter grade or P/NP. You must earn at least a C- or a P.
  • Achieving a score of 590 or better on the SAT II Foreign Language Subject Exam.
  • Achieving a score of 3 or better on any AP Exam in a language other than English.
  • Achieving a score of 5 or better on any IB Higher Level Exam in a language other than English.
  • Obtaining a grade of C or better on the General Certificate "A" or "O" Level, HKCEE or HKALE Exams in a language other than English. 

College of Letters and Science

Foreign language requirements and recommendations for majors in the College of Letters and Science are described below.

Asian Studies

Required: Junior level transfer students must have completed at least one year of a relevant Asian language (Chinese, Korean or Japanese) or take the placement test administered by the East Asian Languages and Cultures department on campus (must place on at least the advanced beginner or intermediate level). Go to http://ealc.berkeley.edu for more information.

Comparative Literature

Required: Adequate work in at least one foreign language sufficient to qualify for admission to a minimum of two upper division literature courses in that language by the time of graduation.

Development Studies

Required: Students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in a modern language other than English, equivalent to four college-level semesters (or two years).

Film Studies

Required: Third college-level semester of one spoken foreign language or second college-level semester of two foreign languages. All natural languages are acceptable. Only courses that include reading and composition as well as conversation may be used.

Integrative Biology

Recommended: Further study of a foreign language.

Latin American Studies

Required: Students must attain an intermediate level of competence in a primary language (either Spanish or Portuguese) equivalent to four college-level semesters of instruction and an elementary level of competence in a secondary language equivalent to two college-level semesters. They must be prepared to take two literature courses in their primary language (Spanish or Portuguese) at Berkeley.

Linguistics

Recommended: Introductory courses in language and linguistics.

Middle Eastern Studies

Required: Four college-level semesters of a Middle Eastern language appropriate to the area of concentration.

Near Eastern Studies

Required: An elementary course in one of the following languages: Arabic, Persian, Hebrew or Turkish.

Peace and Conflict Studies

Required: Students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in a modern language other than English equivalent to four college-level semesters (or two years). High school credit satisfies the foreign language proficiency requirement only if the student was educated outside the U.S. in a system where the language of instruction was not English.

Political Economy

Required: Students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in a modern language other than English equivalent to four college-level semesters (or two years). High school credit satisfies the foreign language proficiency requirement only if the student was educated outside the U.S. in a system where the language of instruction was not English.

Religious Studies

Required: For an honors degree or for students planning graduate studies only, upper-division coursework in a language pertinent to a religious tradition: for Christianity, Latin or Greek; for Judaism, Biblical Hebrew; for Hinduism, Sanskrit; for Buddhism, Tibetan, Chinese or Sanskrit.

South and Southeast Asian Studies

Required: Extensive training in the major language of the area studied.

Ever wondered what it would be like to go deep-sea diving?

Bet you didn’t know that it was a UC Berkeley Chemistry Professor that made it possible…I didn’t!

UCB prides itself on a number of accomplishments and ranks highly in a number of areas. With a 20% average acceptance rate for incoming, Out-of-State Freshmen, UC Berkeley admissions are definitely competitive…

Don’t be intimidated! As always, we’re here to help.

Keep reading forHow to Get In: UC Berkeley Admissions Requirements.

Step #1 : A 3.85 unweighted GPA or higher

Yep, Cal Berkeley wants your unweighted GPA!

Use this GPA Calculator to determine where you stand.

Step #2 : A 4.39 weighted GPA or higher

Wait, they want this too? Right again. They want both.

Geez, no pressure…I know, I know. These are high expectations! But they’re not impossible to achieve. If attending Cal Berkeley truly is your student’s dream, you have someoptions to give their GPA a boost:

  1. If they struggle in school, OR are sitting just below those UC Berkeley admissions requirements… look into tutoring!
    1. We actually have tutors who currently attend UC Berkley! Click here to learn more! 

Yeah, it’ll cost you some money now, but it can easily pay off later with scholarships and your student’s college diploma.

  1. Help yourselves to FREE academic resources by becoming a Student-Tutor member. Click here to learn more! 

Step #3 : A 2171 SAT Reasoning Test or 33 ACT Plus Writing Score

UC Berkeley really does pride itself on pursuing excellence — they’re not playing around here! That’s why I can’t stress it enough — use your resources.

ALSO, take note: for Chemistry or Engineering Majors: The SAT 2 Subject Tests are strongly recommended.

We also have stellar SAT & ACT tutors who currently attend UC Berkley! Click here to learn more! 

Which brings me to my next point…

Step #4 : Research your major/program

You wouldn’t call a heart surgeon to come fix your TV.

What’s my point here?

An electrician and a heart surgeon “fix” things, but they have completely different skill sets to do it. Likewise, different majors and programs have requirements that are specific to them.

You can figure out what major/program you’re interested in by using UCB’s Academic Guide for Undergraduate Degrees. This is a convenient tool on their website that allows you to select your student’s interests and find majors that they would like.

When you click on a major, you’ll find the information your student needs as far as any prerequisites, specific acceptance scores, and all that jazz.

If you want additional information, contact someone in the specific program’s department.

Step #5 : Take your UC Berkeley Admissions Test no later than December of your graduating year

Basically, you won’t be considered otherwise! To keep your student on track for this as far as test preparation, you can make use of a planner.

How does a planner help?

Well, the best way to stay on track with this is to break your one big goal of Taking the UC Berkeley Admissions Test into smaller, SMART goals that will get you there over time. Remember, a SMART goal is all of the following:

Step #6 : Have a stellar UC Berkeley Admissions Essay

Alright, look alive! This is one of the most important things considered in admissions to Cal Berkeley.

Is it really that important?

What, don’t believe me? 😉 The Institutional Research Department at UCB lists the Admissions Essay/Personal Statement as “Very Important” in terms of acceptance, along with “Rigor of Secondary School Record”, “Academic GPA”, and “Standardized Test Scores — so there ya go!

Wondering what you should write about?

We looked through the essays of students who were accepted to UCB to find some trends.

1. Elevated Language

2. Family-Orientation

3. Specific and Individually-Centered Examples

4. Reflective Insight

Step #7 : Use the comments section of your essay

If your GPA is lower than what is stated above, there is a chance you can still get in. UC Berkeley reviews students’ applications with a holistic approach.

Holistic? What does that mean? 

It means that IF your GPA is lower than the average accepted, or IF your test scores are sub par, you have a chance to say why.

And guess where you can say it?

The comments section of your essay! Unrelated to the prompt of your Admission Essay, this is where you can explain to UC Berkeley what happened, and they will take it into consideration.

Step #8 : Optimize your Extracurricular Activities

UCB is interested in what your student does with their time. Here’s a chance to ask what your student’s been up to, so…

Do they exhibit leadership skills? Do they work well in groups? 

Specifically, Cal Berkeley pays attention to the following when considering admission:

You’re in luck, because we have an article just for this! Follow the steps to create the perfect Extracurricular profile for your student’s UCB application.

Or if you really want to go to the extra mile and ensure you stand out check out our teenage mastermind program where you get to meet other ambitious teenagers from across the WORLD!

Click here to learn more! 

Step #9 : Create a MyFinAid Account

UC Berkeley has what is called a MyFinAid Account. If you are eligible for financial awards such as scholarships, this is how you view those awards.

AND to make it easier for you, UC Berkeley has this all laid out for you in a lovely tutorial video!

As with all schools, there are various scholarships available for UCB students. For example, the Berkeley College Achievement Award: Incoming full-time and part-time students with a 2.50 grade point average (GPA) or higher will be considered for receiving up to $3,000 a year.

To see other awards available you can view the entire Financial Aid Catalog for 2015 at UC Berkeley.

Conclusion 

Alright, let’s review. To pass the UC Berkeley admissions requirements and be a Golden Bear, we recommend the following:

  1. A 3.85 Unweighted GPA (or higher)
  2. A 4.39 Weighted GPA (or higher)
  3. A score of 2171 on the SAT or 33 on the ACT
  4. Research your major/program (Use UCB’s Academic Guide!)
  5. Take your UC Berkeley Admissions Test no later than December of your graduating year
  6. Do well on your UC Berkeley Admissions Essay (Remember the points I gave you!)
  7. Use the comments section of your essay (if needed)
  8. Access scholarships and other awards through your MyFinAid Account

Have questions on if you have what it takes to be admitted or not? Tell us in the comments below!

Have any other helpful information about UC Berkeley admissions requirements for us? Tell us in the comments below!

Co-authored by Renae Hintze

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Hello! My name is Todd. I help students eliminate academic stress, boost confidence, and reach their wildest dreams through college tips and digital age knowledge they are not teaching in school. I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. Currently, I am traveling across America delivering presentations, rock climbing, adventuring, and helping inspire the leaders of tomorrow. Let's become friends! Follow my journey via my YouTube Vlog for inspirational value added tips!

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