PREP: Pre-Engineering Program

The Pre-Engineering Program (PREP) is a first year experience that provides incoming, first-year engineering students with a competitive edge through a program, cohorted coursework during the first year, advising and networking all before the fall semester begins. You’ll form close bonds that will help you succeed at Berkeley and beyond. PREP is one of the many support services offered by the Center for Access to Engineering Excellence. Through the generous support of our corporate partners, PREP is provided at no cost to participating students.

What are PREP’s goals?

In PREP you will:

  • Develop insight into the rigors of Berkeley coursework — specifically in calculus, physics and chemistry.
  • Make friends with fellow incoming freshmen and build a network of peers even before you start classes.  
  • Receive hands-on experience in group study, problem-solving and time management.
  • Build your resume and portfolio by participating in professional development activities that will help prepare you for future internships.
  • Be a part of a Design Team while getting a glimpse of bleeding edge technology in your major.
  • Learn what Engineering Student Services offers to make the most of your time at Berkeley, including academic advising, leadership and professional development and undergraduate research.

What is the PREP experience?

PREP is an intensive program that introduces students to the demands of their first year at Berkeley. The program begins three weeks before Golden Bear Orientation with a residential program. Once the academic year begins, students enroll in their typical core engineering courses with a special PREP sections of Math 1A (calculus I). Throughout the fall semester, the CAEE hosts workshops and events specific to the needs of our students, including: advanced study and note-taking skills, time management, connecting to faculty through office hours, as well as other relevant topics. In the spring, students enroll in Physics 7A (physics I) with a special PREP discussion section. Throughout the spring, more programming will be provided on: getting involved in research, preparing for graduate education, career and internship preparation, etc.

What is included in PREP?

PREP is a three week, immersion program that provides students with insight into the pace and rigors of Berkeley Engineering. Throughout the program, students take calculus, physics and chemistry, participate in skill-building workshops, and are introduced to the range of resources the college and campus have to offer. PREP is designed to jumpstart your survival skills and get you prepared for the competitive environment of a top-tier, research institution.

Do I qualify for PREP?

All incoming first-year students (including undocumented students) are invited to apply for PREP. The program focuses on the academic issues facing students from groups who are:

  • Members of a historically underrepresented group in the field of engineering
  • From low-income or first-generation backgrounds

When is PREP offered?

PREP is a year-long experience that begins three weeks before Golden Bear Orientation (July 25 - August 10). You must be able to attend for the entire program — no exceptions.

What is the cost of PREP?

PREP is offered at no costs to our students. Through the generous support of our sponsors — RECARE Foundation, Chevron, GM, Boeing and the College of Engineering — PREP is free to all participants. Lodging, food, books and class time are all provided for you. A small amount of spending money is all you’ll need.

How do I apply?

Admitted engineering freshmen can apply online. Applications are due June 1, students will be notified mid-June if they've been accepted. For additional information, please contact Tiffany Reardon.

PREP frequently asked questions

How many students usually apply? Of those that apply, how many are selected?
All incoming first-year students are invited to apply for PREP, so it’s hard to anticipate how many may apply each year. The cohort size is limited to 50 students — therefore, selection is competitive.

Is selection on a first come, first served basis?
No. Each student’s application will be carefully evaluated, so it’s important to be as thorough as possible when answering the application questions.

When is the application deadline? When will students be notified?
The application deadline for PREP is Friday, June 1, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Students will be notified mid-June if they've been accepted.

Is priority given to certain students?
All applications for PREP will be reviewed and carefully considered.

Will I need to bring any money with me? 
There will be an outing or two during PREP, and you will need to buy your own lunch at one of them. You may also want money to buy basic necessities or to shop.

Are books included in the program?
All required educational materials will be provided. However, students will need to bring a backpack, pen, pencil and paper for their coursework.

Where will I be staying during PREP? Will I be in my assigned residence hall room for the fall semester? If not, when will I move into my residence hall room?
All PREP participants will be housed in a university residence hall together. After the conclusion of the program, we will help you move into your assigned residence hall room for the fall semester.

Will I need somewhere to stay between the end of PREP and the move-in date for my specific residence hall?
Housing between the end of PREP and the residence hall move-in day will not be necessary. All PREP participants will be able to move into their assigned residence hall room immediately after the conclusion of PREP (and a day ahead of everyone else!).

Is the program all day? Can I leave during the program for a family event or arrive after the first day?
Participants must be able to completely commit themselves for the entire program. Students will not be able to leave during the program and must stay on campus each evening in their assigned residence hall room (no exceptions). Participants will be required to remain for the entire duration due to liability reasons; as well, absences would be disruptive to the educational process and community building.

I understand the PREP courses will be in math, chemistry and physics. If I have placed out of a course through AP credit, will I still need to take that class at PREP?
Yes. Since a strong foundation is necessary for success in engineering majors, all PREP participants will be completing the same courses together in all subject areas.

Will I be starting my fall semester courses earlier than other admitted freshman students?
No. PREP is designed to give you insight into the rigors of the first semester engineering curriculum, but you may be enrolled in different courses for the fall than what you will have at PREP. 

I accidentally submitted my PREP application before I had completed it. What should I do?
Submit another application online. Your previous one will be discarded.

Will I have free time during PREP?
No. PREP is an extremely rigorous academic program designed to provide the information and experience necessary to ensure your success during the freshmen year. You will have daily scheduled activities from approximately 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day.

Is there any cost to me to participate in PREP? Will housing and meals be provided?
Participation in PREP is completely free of charge — all meals and housing will be provided.

Can I commute to the program if I live close to campus?
No. An important component of PREP is community-building, so even local students are required to stay in their assigned residence hall room. In addition, the daily scheduled activities do not end until 11 p.m. or later, so due to liability and safety reasons we cannot have students staying elsewhere.

Current PREP Student Calendar