When applicants think about schools with great STEM programs, UC Berkeley is always one of the first schools that is brought up in conversation. From their world-famous engineering school to one of the most competitive pre-med programs, STEM is one of UC Berkeley’s biggest focus and one of the reason why it’s consistently ranked as one of the best schools in many metrics. Outside of just those schools as well, UC Berkeley has one of the most prestigious business schools and many of the best liberal arts opportunities. That being said, UC Berkeley is also one of the most competitive schools to get into and the process to get in has gotten progressively more and more difficult.
While UC Berkeley is part of the UC system, one thing it has started doing to differentiate itself from the rest of the UC’s is it, much like its private school counterparts, has started asking its applicants to get letters of recommendations. While the letters themselves are not hard to get for most applicants, it’s a telltale sign that Berkeley is getting exceedingly harder to get into. In addition, its admission rates into some of its STEM programs are among the lowest of any of schools. Last year, Berkeley’s College of Engineering had a 8.4% acceptance rate across all its disciplines. In fact, there are so many people trying to get into the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science program that Berkeley has its own separate Computer Science major in the College of Letters and Science for those who want to complete Computer Science with either a humanities double major or an additional STEM program.
That being said, there are certain key aspects about UC Berkeley’s application process that applicants can applicants can utilize and take advantage of. Because it’s part of the UC system, applicants won’t have to rewrite a whole new application for UC Berkeley if they are already applying to any of the other UC’s. Also, due to the fact that Computer Science is offered in both the College of Engineering and the College of Letters and Science, applicants will have more choices to pick which college they want to apply to. In addition, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is second ranked for undergraduates and gives its applicants options to apply during their sophomore fall to give them time to explore other options.
When applying to Berkeley, there have been two common strategies that applicants have used. The most common one has been for aspiring Engineers that don’t like their odds of getting directly into the Engineering school who instead apply into other colleges within Berkeley and then transfer in. In addition, Berkeley recently has taken a liking to junior transfers, especially the Haas Business School. In the end, Berkeley is a institution thriving in STEM opportunities but definitely not limited to it. While admissions into the school has definitely risen in difficulty, it is a school any applicant, especially any California resident, should look into and consider applying.