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UC Berkeley Acceptance Rate

Picture of Ana Boskovic
By Ana Boskovic on February, 26 2024 | 19 minute read

Is UC Berkeley on your radar? Dive deep into the latest UC Berkeley acceptance rates and key recent admissions statistics to determine your chances of admission in the upcoming years. 

Table of Contents:

Importance of Understanding Acceptance Rates

Whether you’re a student applying next year or five years down the road, knowing colleges' acceptance rates can help you identify where you sit in the applicant pool. 

UC Berkeley is often regarded as a top University of California (UC) campus and among the US's most competitive and sought-after public colleges. For this reason, thousands of students throw their names into the ring each year, hoping to be admitted. 

The first order of business in the college admissions process is estimating your chances of applying to that particular college. As admissions experts, we spend much of our time analyzing trends and historical data to help build out a strong application strategy for students. 

Without getting too technical, here are a few things that admissions trends tell us:

  1. Which college application deadline is best to consider to increase the student’s chances of admission
  2. The school’s selectivity and how many spots (roughly) are available each year to qualified applicants
  3. If colleges are trending to become more selective or less selective in future cycles

Now that we know why it’s important to consider reviewing college acceptance rates, let’s take a closer look at UC Berkeley. 


UC Berkeley Acceptance Rates

Trailing closely behind UCLA, UC Berkeley is recognized as one of the most selective UC campuses in the country. And all for good reason. UC Berkeley has enriching academic opportunities, thrilling and competitive sports, and a diverse culture. It also gets bonus points for its ideal Bay Area setting. 

With the UC system, notably UCLA and Berkeley, gaining more popularity among students, the acceptance rate over the last few years has become increasingly more selective. 


Number of Applications

Students Accepted

Acceptance Rate





















For a deeper look at admissions rates at UC Berkeley, click here

As highlighted, the acceptance rate across the 9 UC campuses differs dramatically. Here are the most recent admit rates at each UC campus:

UC Campus

Number of Applicants (2023)

Admit Rate (2023)

UC Berkeley



UC Davis



UC Irvine






UC Merced



UC Riverside



UC San Diego



UC Santa Barbara



UC Santa Cruz



For a deeper look at admissions data universitywide, click here


Ebook Resources Page (2)


UC Berkeley Acceptance Rate Out-of-State

UC Berkeley is also a hot spot for non-residents and international applicants. While the acceptance rate in the table above highlights the general acceptance rate, let’s look closely at your acceptance chances if you were to apply as an out-of-state applicant. 


Number of Applications

Students Accepted

Acceptance Rate





















Further into this blog, we will discuss why the out-of-state acceptance rate at UC Berkeley is selective, but there are a few important considerations to remember. The UCs, as with most colleges in the US, evaluate students within the context in which they find themselves. In other words, a student applying from a small-sized public high school in Sedona, Arizona, will not be compared to a student applying from a private high school in Austin, Texas. 

So, while the general out-of-state acceptance rate at UC Berkeley may be intimidating, don’t let that discourage you from putting your best foot forward, taking initiative in and outside of school, and demonstrating academic rigor. 

Why UC Berkeley? Understanding the Campus

It’s important to highlight why someone would consider UC Berkeley the best-fitting campus for them. After all, aren’t all UCs the same? Wrong! This section will highlight some of the many reasons students consider UC Berkeley as their top college choice.


UC Berkeley’s San Francisco Bay Area location has 184 academic departments and programs available to students. From Nursing and English to Civil Engineering and Communications, UC Berkeley’s robust programs offer academic diversity to its students.

An important plus to selective schools is their student-faculty ratio. Colleges with many incoming students tend to have larger class sizes to accommodate the number of first-year students attending classes. While this might be an ideal academic environment for some students, others may find it challenging to go from a small high school class size to a college lecture with over 500 students. UC Berkeley’s current student-faculty ratio is 19.4 to 1 and notes that 71% of its classes have fewer than 30 students. This allows students to have more face time with professors, increases participation, and allows them to connect with their classmates.

Extracurricular Opportunities

We’ve already mentioned this, but the location is why many students want to attend UC Berkeley. As college counselors, we work with students to identify the non-negotiables and “nice to haves” when researching and shortlisting colleges. Before determining if UC Berkeley is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I like the city setting, or would I feel more comfortable in a suburban location?
  2. What type of nightlife am I looking for in college?
  3. Do I prefer a hot, cold, or mild climate?
  4. What do I like to do in my free time, and will I be able to do that in college?

No two students are alike, and what best suits one individual may not work for another. UC Berkeley is located not only in Berkeley, California, on the other side of San Francisco, but also a short distance from the water and neighboring cities. If enjoying access to all the city's amenities and entertainment sounds perfect, then UC Berkeley is right up your alley!


Another attractive element of UC Berkeley (and the UCs in general) is how much more affordable they are than other colleges, particularly those in California. As public institutions, their funding comes from public and private sources. Private colleges, however, such as Stanford, Yale, Harvard, or MIT, receive most of their funding from student tuition, alum donations, and other private endowments. How does this impact cost?

Due to financial support provided to the UCs by the state of California, this leads to significantly lower tuition and academic fees for enrolled students.


California Resident Tuition

Non-Resident Tuition

UC Berkeley



Recently, it was reported by The Stanford Daily that Stanford University’s cost of attendance has increased by 7% and amounts to $82,406 for families paying full tuition and living expenses—the tuition fee for residents not requiring housing amounts to $61,731 for a single academic year. When reviewing the cost of attendance at other highly selective California colleges, such as Stanford, it becomes a no-brainer for many families to consider applying to UC Berkeley. Accepted students would attend a well-renowned institution and receive access to high-caliber academic opportunities similar to private colleges but at a fraction of the cost.

Factors Affecting Acceptance Rate

It’s often forgotten that even the most qualified applicants are not guaranteed acceptance at the nation’s most highly selective colleges. Unfortunately, the reality is that there are not enough available spots at these institutions to admit every qualified applicant. Understanding the various factors that affect UC Berkeley’s acceptance rate is valuable in determining one’s chances of admission.

Residency (In-state vs. out-of-state)

Their chances of acceptance may increase or decrease depending on where a student is applying. That said, because California residents pay taxes that financially support the operation of the UCs, California residents receive priority enrollment. According to the UC first-year admissions summary, the admit rate for California residents is 15%, 8% for non-residents, and 5% for international students.

Historical Admit Rates

What would happen if one year Harvard decided to increase their admit rate to 65%? There would probably be a lot of outrage - especially from former applicants who received “redirection” letters. Selectivity helps colleges maintain high yield rates and feeds into their renowned reputations.

Number of Applications Received and Available Spots

Expanding on the last point, colleges only have a certain number of spots available on campus. Following COVID, many colleges saw a drastic uptick in applications submitted despite maintaining the same number of seats in a classroom. For example, say you had a movie theatre with 30 available seats; one day, you had 25 people interested in watching the movie, and the next, 150 people. Although your movie theatre is more popular, you only have 30 tickets you can sell. It’s the same principle here. 

One of the more prominent reasons colleges saw a big increase in applications was because:

  1. Many colleges went online following COVID-19, giving school selection flexibility.
  2. Test-optional policies, particularly with the UCs going test-blind, changed the academic requirements for students and gave those who did not perform well on their standardized tests a better chance of acceptance.
  3. Students were applying to more schools due to academic requirement changes and online learning.

Ultimately, the number of enrolled students at UC Berkeley has remained similar year-on-year. The outlier is that more applications are being submitted, thus leading to a significantly lower admit rate.

How to Make a Strong UC Berkeley Application

If UC Berkeley is still your top choice college, then this section is for you! We’ll highlight how students can build impressive applications and stand out during the college admissions process. 

Tips for Future Applicants

For students applying to UC Berkeley (or any other UC), here are five tips you should consider before applying:

  1. Take great care of your academics and monitor your progress toward meeting the A-G academic requirements of the UCs. 
    1. Review our A-G requirement guideline here for non-resident students who do not have A-G requirements
  2. Review the Personal Insight Questions (PIQ) early! The UCs seldom change their questions.
  3. Answer the PIQ questions. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many students beat around the bush and never reach the point. 
  4. Be mindful of character counts. PIQ responses are a maximum of 350 words.
  5. Remember, the minimum GPA requirement is the minimum. Students should aim for a higher GPA than what is listed on the official website to ensure their admission to UC Berkeley. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

With former UC admissions officers and UC experts on staff and after 24 years in the business, we’ve seen our fair share of application mistakes. Steer clear of these three mistakes:

Reinventing the wheel for every single UC application. 

Students can apply to all 9 UC campuses (should they choose). Although we don’t recommend this approach, we suggest that students repurpose elements of their application where they can. Depending on how many colleges a student applies to, they can write upwards of a dozen essays and worry about multiple deadlines. Recycling PIQ responses can help take the weight off a student’s shoulders during what is often described as a stressful time!

Not familiarizing yourself with every UC campus.

It’s no secret that UC Berkeley is an incredible college choice. We’ve highlighted how it stands out above other institutions. But the last thing students want is to get accepted, attend college, and realize they made a terrible mistake because they didn’t know what they were getting into. Spend time researching colleges; it will likely save you time and money in the long run. 

Not vetting your “About You” personal information.

This is likely one of the most important things to consider when applying to the UCs. The “About You” section will ask for personal information about you and your family. This section is also how the UCs determine scholarship eligibility. Not running the information by a parent or guardian can cost a student an opportunity to receive monetary support. 


Ebook Resources Page (2)

Exploring Specialized Acceptance Rates

UC Berkeley Optometry Acceptance Rate

UC Berkeley’s Optometry acceptance rate, according to the official website, is listed as 19% in 2023. This is a 1% drop from the previous year. 

UC Berkeley Haas Acceptance Rate

BerkeleyHaas reports that the 2023 undergraduate admit rate is 26%, having enrolled 240 students from the 918 that applied this cycle.

UC Berkeley Engineering Acceptance Rate

UC Berkeley’s engineering acceptance rate was 20% between 2020-2021. The campus has not officially disclosed recent acceptance rates, but they do highlight that in 2023, their incoming undergraduate class of engineering students was a total of 4,230.

Final Thoughts & Resources

The application process to UC Berkeley can be quite challenging for students, especially when considering how many other qualified candidates are in the same applicant pool. It’s important to weigh all your options and identify the best way for you and your family to maximize your chances of acceptance. 

If your family might find working with one of our Collegewise experts helpful, a free consultation is the best way to get started. This consultation will help us determine how to best help you reach your academic goals. To schedule a free 45-minute consultation, click here

If you’re still unsure about UC Berkeley being your school of choice, don’t worry! You'll be on the right track if you implement the tips and strategies we’ve highlighted throughout this blog. 

To better help you navigate this process, feel free to browse more of our helpful resources:



About Us: With more than twenty years of experience, Collegewise counselors and tutors are at the forefront of the ever-evolving admissions landscape. Our work has always centered on you: the family. And just like we’ve always done, we look for ways for your student to be their best self - whether in the classroom, the applications, or in the right-fit college environment. Our range of counselingtest prepacademic tutoring, and essay management, all with the support of our proprietary platform, lead to 4x higher than average admissions rates. 


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