Students at new student orientationIncoming students meet their peers at new student orientation. (Photo by Noah Berger)

Get ready to apply to Berkeley Engineering

Getting ready to apply for colleges begins well before your senior year of high school. College applications take into consideration the courses you’ve taken, your grades, test scores and extracurricular activities.  Below are the important components of the application for UC Berkeley and some outside of the classroom experiences that will help you be more prepared for the rigors of Berkeley Engineering.

Become UC eligible

If you’re interested in entering the University of California as a freshman, there are admission guidelines designed to ensure you are well-prepared to succeed at UC Berkeley.

  • History/Social Science – 2 years
  • English – 4 years
  • Mathematics – 3 years (4 years including Calculus recommended for engineering)
  • Laboratory Science – 2 years (3 years including Physics recommended for engineering)
  • Language other than English – 2 years
  • Visual & Performing Arts – 1 year
  • College Preparatory Elective – 1 year (chosen from the subjects listed above or another course approved by the university)

Visit the UC Admissions website for the most up-to-date requirements.

Prepare for exams

Prepare for and take (by December of senior year):

  • SAT with Essay or ACT with Writing (one of the two is required)
  • SAT Math Subject Test in Math Level 2 (recommended for engineering)
  • SAT Subject Tests in science – Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics (recommended for engineering)
Get involved

It is important to show your interests outside of the classroom.  One way to do that is through involvement in clubs and organizations.

  • Become a leader in high school clubs.
  • Start a Young Maker’s Club, a Girls Who Code Club or your own youth-led initiative.
  • Become involved with community service by volunteering with organizations that help your community, since serving society is one of Berkeley Engineering’s three guiding principles.
Write compelling responses to admissions essays

Write compelling responses to the UC Personal Insight Questions for freshman. Students will choose 4 of the 8 questions to respond to. Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words.  All are given equal consideration in the application review process, which means there is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing certain questions over others.

  • Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.
  • Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
  • What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
  • Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
  • Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
  • Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.
  • What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
  • What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?


Increase understanding STEM

Below are suggestions of how you can increase your understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). You will want to get join math, science, computer science or robotics clubs as well as learn other opportunities.

Explore Bay Area K-12 STEM opportunities through:

Attend programs held annual at Cal such as:

Explore Berkeley Engineering

There are many ways to explore Berkeley Engineering. Below are some of the best ways to get acquainted:

  • “Like” Berkeley Engineering on Facebook
  • Follow the college on Twitter
  • Learn more about Berkeley Engineering on YouTube
  • Participate in the 300+ workshops, presentations, demonstrations, or lab tours at Cal Day, our annual open house held in April
  • Attend engineering related programs hosted by Science@Cal

Complete the FAFSA

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 2 of your senior year (annually $400 million in financial aid goes unclaimed in California and $3 billion in federal financial aid goes unclaimed, according to in March 2015).  Students who are not eligible to file a FAFSA and who qualify for the AB 540 Nonresident Supplemental Tuition exemption should apply for aid by completing the California Dream Act Application by March 2.