Note: There is only one application for all the UC schools. Therefore, your responses will be sent to every single University of California school that you apply to. Hence, avoid making essays school-specific (unless you are applying to only one school).
To choose which questions to answer, first browse the eight prompts as a list, and sort them into one of three categories: “definites,”“possibilities,” and “avoid at all costs.” With “definites,” after reading the prompt, you immediately know what you will say and how you will say it. With “possibilities,” a few vague ideas swirl in your head, which you think can be sorted out and possibly develop into a great essay. With “avoid at all costs,” you want to have nothing to do with these essays.
Afterwards, jot down bullet point ideas for the questions you for sure want to write about. Then, select out of the “possibility” questions that would, in combination with your “definites,” produce the most well-rounded essay profile, which would both highlight your few key strengths as well as reveal your complexities and breadth of character. While doing so, it is important to base your decision on not only your immediate liking for the topic, but also on the available substance (anecdotes). Repeat this process until you are faced with only four questions.
This is just one way to approach choosing prompts. Since for some, the process happens organically, do not feel constrained to the method above. Just remember:
- Do not rush into prompts at first glance. Make sure that you have jotted down potential ideas for all but the ones you want to avoid, and ultimately write about the one with the most substance.
- Your answers should be able to highlight what is most important to you.
How to Apply
Thank you for your interest in applying to UC Berkeley. Admission is a two-step process: Admission Requirements and Selection. We accept the UC application (link is external).
Students must meet University of California requirements, detailed online at the University of California website (link is external).
Becoming a Golden Bear requires more than a test score. To be Berkeley requires persistence. And passion. You stand up and you stand out.
UC Berkeley receives far more applications than it can admit, and to gain admission, you need to present an academic profile much stronger than that represented by the minimum UC admission requirements. To be as competitive as possible in the Berkeley applicant pool and to succeed within the holistic review, follow these steps:
1. Read the admission requirements for UC Berkeley and what it takes to be competitive in our applicant pool.
2. Read the requirements for the specific UC Berkeley college to which you are applying.
If you are unsure of your intended major, learn more about our academic majors and minors.
3. Use all parts of the application.
Be sure to make the most of each section of the application: Personal Insight Questions, Activities and Achievements, and Additional Comments boxes. Tell a complete story of your unique academic and personal achievements. For example, use the Additional Comments box to convey any information that will help us understand the context of your achievement, list additional honors/awards, or share information regarding a nontraditional school environment or unusual circumstances.
How UC Berkeley Selects Students
Dates & Deadlines
Personal insight Questions
"I've already applied!"