During admissions, the UC’s look at a unique GPA: UC GPA. In this post, we’ll shed light on the GPA for UC, breaking down how exactly it’s calculated and what you should aim for. Here we are introducing our UC GPA calculator to make life easier calculating your GP.
UC GPA Calculator Instructions
Figuring out what your UC GPA is, can be quite tricky. So, we created this calculator to help you out!
Here’s how to use it:
Take out your transcript! Only looking at A-G coursesyou took from the summer after 9th grade through the summer after 11th grade, count how many of each grade (A, B, C, D, and F) you received per semester.
For example, if you’ve taken 4 A-G courses and got A’s in all of them, you would enter “8” in the box below “Number of A’s.”
Now, count how many UC honors courses/AP/IB courses you’ve taken per semester in 10th grade. Then, repeat for 11th grade. Enter these numbers in the boxes below “Number of 10th grade honors” and “Number of 11th grade honors” respectively.
Click calculate and get your weighted and capped UC GPA!
How Does UC Calculate Weighted GPA?
The UC’s have their own GPA called weighted and capped UC GPA. What does this mean, exactly?
Weighted means that the UC’s takes into account the difficulty of your course load. That means for each UC approved honors course, an extra point is added to your GPA.
Capped means that a maximum of 8 semesters — no more than 4 from the 10th grade — of honors and AP/IB courses can be used to add additional points to your GPA.
So if only 8 honors courses can help your GPA, why would anyone take more?
Remember: the UC’s are not just looking at grades, but they are also looking at the rigor of your course load. If you’re able to take more high level courses — and maintain good grades in all of them — it will reflect positively when it comes time for admissions.
Which Courses Are Included For Your UC GPA?
The UC’s only look at A-G courses taken during your sophomore and junior year — including the summers after 9th and 11th grade. They ignore pluses and minuses (In the eyes of the UC’s, there is no difference between an A+, A, or A-).
UC Honors Courses
So what exactly do the UC’s consider an honors course?
Assuming that you take 5 to 6 A-G courses per semester throughout high school, the maximum weighted and capped GPA you can get by the end of your junior year is about 4.33 to 4.4.
But again, UC GPA is not the end all be all — course rigor is important as well. Even though it won’t raise your GPA, stacking your transcript with AP’s will no doubt elevate you in the eyes of the admissions officer — but that’s only if you are able to obtain stellar grades despite the difficulty.
Bottom line: don’t overload yourself, but also don’t let UC’s capped GPA scare you away from taking more honors classes.
What Is A Good UC Capped GPA?
Looking at the most competitive UC campus, UCLA, the average UCLA GPA amongst accepted students was 4.24. So, if GPA is at or above this number, your GPA will be competitive for all of the UC campuses.
No matter what, just remember that your GPA doesn’t define you. With the wide variety of UC’s, you will no doubt end up at the campus that suits you the best!
Wondering how to get into UC Berkeley? With just a 16.4% acceptance rate, becoming a Golden Bear is no easy task. So, how will you stand out? In this post, we’ll break down UC Berkeley’s holistic review process, finding out exactly what Cal is looking for in its applicants.
How Does UC Berkeley Evaluate Applications?
You’ve heard about this idea called a “holistic” review or “comprehensive” review when it comes to college admissions, right? Well, it’s one of those terms that gets thrown around a lot, and honestly, it’s pretty vague. So let me demystify this for you.
There are 14 admission factors that all the UCs consider when evaluating their applicants. On top of these standards, Cal takes a holistic approach to admissions. In other words, they look at both academics and personal attributes.
Personal attributes is the often overlooked KEY to successfully getting into a place like Berkeley. More on this later.
Check out the 6 criteria that Berkeley specifically deemed as important:
Note: while SAT Subject exams are not required, having one can positively impact your application. In fact, Berkeley’s College of Chemistry and the College of Engineering highly recommend that you take Math level 2 and a science test.
Contributions to the intellectual and cultural vitality of the campus
Achievement in academic enrichment programs (think: Cosmos, ATDP, RSI, etc)
Other evidence of achievement.
Think about this. 2 out of 6 admissions factors are extremely academic — cold, hard facts that can be seen via your transcripts and test scores. Basically, numbers that summarize you as an applicant.
Of course, because Cal is so selective, it is vital that your academic stats are nothing short of stellar (check out our Berkeley Acceptance Rates post to get an idea of where you stand).
However, there are literally 4 other factors that your transcript and test scores do not illuminate. And if you think about it, this is actually a great thing. Let’s take a look at why this is.
What Does UC Berkeley Look For In Applicants?
By the time you’re applying to UC Berkeley, you probably won’t be able to change your test scores and GPA. What you can control, however, is how you come across to the admissions officers: not as a number, but as a human being.
Who is the person behind the test scores and grades and activities?
What are your struggles and how did you overcome them?
What opportunities were you given and how did you take advantage of them?
This is where your UC essays and activities lists come into play.
And because UC Berkeley doesn’t require teacher recs, your activities and responses to the personal insight questions are all the more important — they’re the sole window that admissions officers have into your personality, experiences, and life.
So now that you know the importance of essays and extracurriculars to get into UC Berkeley, let’s discuss what qualities these things should show about you.
All elite schools have their own vibe and mission that is core and specific to the school — and they look for students with personal qualities that align with this.
What qualities does UC Berkeley look for?
Take a look:
“Personal qualities of the applicant, including leadership ability, character, motivation, insight, tenacity, initiative, originality, intellectual independence, responsibility, maturity, and demonstrated concern for others and for the community are considered.”
So, that’s a list of seemingly random personal attributes. But, here’s a hint: Berkeley values leadership. If you want to get into Cal, it’s non-negotiable; you have to be a leader.
Leadership has long been a staple of Berkeley’s culture. In fact, in the 60’s, Golden Bears led the charge in the Free Speech Movement, challenging the campus’ restriction of freedom of speech.
Now, don’t worry; Cal isn’t expecting you to single-handedly lead a protest in support of the first amendment. However, they are expecting you to show demonstrated leadership.
But, here’s the thing: leadership isn’t just a title. So just snatching up that “president” or “chair” title really doesn’t mean anything if all you’re doing is hanging out and eating pretzels during club meetings.
What Berkeley actually wants when they mention leadership is a change-maker. You can definitely accomplish that by executing meaningful work as president or chair; however, leadership could also mean taking care of younger siblings or working a job to help your family.
Ultimately, Cal is looking for someone who has the ability — and burning desire — to lead others and make a difference.
So, why does all this leadership stuff even matter?
If after looking at your academics, extracurriculars, and achievements, the admissions officers are still on the fence… the personal qualities displayed throughout your UC essays will be an important deciding factor.
In short: your personal qualities can be the make or break.
Intellectual And Cultural Vitality
Two things here: intellectual AND cultural vitality. What do these even mean?!
Intellectual vitality means that you have a fiery passion for learning — for expanding your horizons. It means you have an innate curiosity that drives you to delve extremely in depth into your endeavors, whether that is lab research or athletics or community service.
Berkeley, in other words, wants passionate, curious students that will — without hesitation — take initiative to learn more and become more.
Cultural vitality, on the hand, comes from the perspective of wanting a diverse class, with diverse backgrounds, thoughts, and experiences.
How do you give EVIDENCE that you bring intellectual and cultural vitality to UC Berkeley? Again: your essays and activities list.
For instance, if you look at prompt 4 and 6, both of these are practically begging you to talk about your intellectual curiosities. So do it! And with 6 more prompts to choose from, you will be able to easily find places to express intellectual/cultural vitality in your UC essays.
Berkeley wants to accept students who have a history of success beyond the vacuum of a high school classroom, because those students are most likely going to also succeed as a Gold Bear. So, they’ll pay close attention to your achievements outside of school — both academic and non-academic. So what type of achievements are they looking for?
Well, let’s start with academic achievement. This could mean anything from research with a local professor to participation in prestigious summer programs like RSI and COSMOS. Conducting cutting-edge research — or even publishing a research paper — will make it quite evident to the admissions officer that you are not only deeply passionate about what you do, but also able to succeed at a high level.
But what if you live in an area that doesn’t have local colleges to research at? Or companies to intern at?
Don’t worry! Chances are, most of your peers won’t have access to these things either. UC Berkeley understands that not everyone has the same opportunities and resources. So, in the admissions process, you are always evaluated in a local context — you’re essentially competing with your classmates.
However, that doesn’t give you a free pass. The things you will do — despite the lack of resources — to continue pursuing your intellectual interests is still extremely important. For instance, if there are no local tech companies, perhaps you’ll find a remote internship. Or if there are no local biology professors, you could start your own research club. Really, the opportunities are endless!
Now let’s move on to “other evidence of achievement.”
This is all about excelling in your extracurriculars. These achievements could be about the originality you show through your creative endeavors, or the responsibility and maturity you show through family responsibilities, or perhaps it’s the impact you made volunteering for a community organization. Ultimately, Cal wants to see that you’re able to truly succeed in whatever endeavors you choose to pursue.
Getting Into UC Berkeley: The Bottom Line
Yes, GPA and test scores matter. A lot. If you don’t have the academic achievement, even the best written essays and stories will not pull you through.
On the flip side, having a great GPA and test scores don’t mean you’re in the clear, either. We’ve seen plenty of awesome students that are academically more than capable who end up getting rejected from top tier schools because they lack — or are unable to effectively showcase — the personal qualities that colleges are looking for. However, if your academic stats are at the right place, then the UC Personal Insight Questions are absolutely instrumental.
Because it is such a competitive university, applying to UC Berkeley can be quite intimidating. However, ultimately, if you have strong essays, demonstrated leadership, and stellar stats, it will be hard for admissions officers to overlook your passion and determination.
Have more questions about how you can distinguish yourself, how to get into UC Berkeley and become a Golden Bear? Ask us in the comments below!
Everyone seems to be talking about this coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic that’s impacting college admissions, worldwide. We thought it would be helpful for high school students and parents to understand the impacts of UC admissions and coronavirus/COVID-19. In this post, we’ll talk about what the new, suspended SAT/ACT requirements are, and what that means for you as a 2021 UC applicant.
So… is it finally time to throw away those college prep books? Not quite… Let’s take a look at how exactly the UCs’ COVID-19 response will affect you. In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the UCs have rolled out some temporary changes to ease admissions requirements. Read the following guideline about the UC Admissions and Coronavirus (COVID-19) to gain a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on UC admission and take better actions accordingly.
Impact Of Coronavirus On UC Admissions 2020/21
In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the UCs are dropping:
SAT/ACT score requirements for prospective fall 2021 freshman
letter grade requirements for A-G courses completed in the winter, spring, or summer of this school year
Note: Our advice on these unprecedented times are solely our own opinions.
What Does “UC Admission Easing” Mean?
With all the time you spent maintaining your GPA and test scores, these new changes may be a bit frustrating. So why are the UCs now relaxing all of these requirements you worked so hard to meet?
Well, if you think about it, these changes are actually a great thing. The coronavirus pandemic has significantly disrupted the lives of students and families — the UCs are recognizing this and adjusting accordingly.
They’re also catering to those families that are vulnerable during these times of financial instability.
To put it bluntly, there are students whose parents lost their jobs because of COVID-19. Piling the stress of standardized testing on top of economic uncertainty would be simply unjust.
In short: the UCs are leveling the playing field of opportunities driven by the current extraordinary circumstances.
How Does UC’s Coronavirus Response Affect SATs/ACTs/SAT IIs?
Here’s something to consider: in admissions, you are always evaluated in relation to your peers and opportunities available in your community.
What does this mean?
For example, if you’re from the Bay Area and you want to pursue computer science (CS), then admissions officers will expect you to have significant CS experience given the abundance of local colleges and tech companies. However, colleges recognize that it wouldn’t be fair to compare an aspiring CS major from the bay with a student from a place like Idaho, where CS opportunities are far more sparse in comparison. So they don’t.Instead, you’re essentially competing with your classmates.
So, if your school is competitive, then your classmates are most likely still striving to take the SATs/ACTs/SAT Subject exams. And these are the same classmates you will be evaluated alongside in admissions.
So think to yourself… will your peers take these exams? Do you live in a socioeconomic situation that allows you to take these exams?
If yes, then you really have to think of it like it’s business as usual. Take those exams.
But What If You Took the SATs/ACTs Already?
Your test scores will still be critical.
In fact, this is what the UCs have to say about taking the SAT or ACT:
“Students applying for fall 2021 are not precluded from taking standardized tests (SAT or ACT) and sending scores if they are able. Doing so can support their statewide UC eligibility, application for certain scholarships…”
In other words, while an SAT/ACT score is not required for prospective fall 2021 freshman, having one can only help.
How Does UC’s Coronavirus Response Affect GPA?
If your school has resorted to pass/fail, credit/no credit — that’s totally fine. Why? Because again, in admissions, you are always evaluated in relation to your peers and the opportunities available in your community.
Everyone is in the same boat. Don’t sweat it.
In fact, if you’re a student who consistently always did well in terms of grades, pass/fail is actually not a horrible thing. Because of your consistency, admissions officers will see that you’re consistently a good student and that’ll carry over into admissions. So don’t worry! It’s not like your hard work is for naught. You’ve laid down a solid foundation of awesome grades throughout high school… so you’re good!
But what if you have significant blips in your grades?
Well, then this pass/fail thing can be a bit more tricky for you. But here’s the thing: don’t worry. Instead, what you have to do… and it’s a life lesson… is to focus on what YOU CAN CONTROL.
Ask yourself: what can I do right now given my constraints to make myself “look better” in the eyes of admissions officers when it comes to my academics?
Use this extra time to crush the SATs/ACTs/Subject exams
Refine your extracurriculars
UC Admissions And Coronavirus (COVID-19): Bottom Line
1. If your family situation allows for it, take your SAT/ACT/SAT Subject exams like you normally would have. Keep an eye out for SAT and/or ACT updates.
2. If a school goes pass/fail, then other aspects of your application may be weighed more heavily: first semester grades, testing, extracurricular… and the UC ESSAYS!
So instead of worrying about your GPA, focus on what you can control. What can you do to make yourself better on paper between now and October 2020?
Hint: Start working on your UC essays soon with all the free time you have! See our UC essay examples for some inspiration
3. UC trends won’t significantly deviate from previous years. Each year, UC provides data on its applicants, admits, and enrollees (See: UC admissions trends). You can use this tool to better understand UC admissions trends within your own high school.
For example, let’s say you go to Gunn High School, and you’re applying to Berkeley.
As you can see, in 2019, 51 out of 234 applicants from Gunn High School were accepted. And if you look at acceptances from Gunn in the last 5 years, the figures are relatively constant: around 40 – 50 students are admitted each year. You can expect those numbers to be quite similar for you.
Bottom line: whatever admission trends you see for your high school for each UC will NOT deviate simply because of COVID-19.
So now I want to turn it over to you: are you stressed about how UC admissions will be impacted due to coronavirus/COVID-19? Or, do you feel motivated to keep crushing it?
Remember, challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. How will you make meaning out of this pandemic?
Tell us what you’ll do to take a step forward in the comments below!
So… you’re thinking about applying to UC Berkeley. But with Berkeley’s notoriously competitive acceptance stats, what are your chances of being admitted? What SAT/ACT and GPA will you need? In this post, we’ll take a close look at UC Berkeley acceptance rates in 2019 and 2020, and discuss the scores it takes to become a Golden Bear.
UC Berkeley acceptance rates for prospective 2019 freshmen was 16.4%. In other words, for every 100 applicants, just 16 students were admitted — making UC Berkeley the second most competitive undergraduate campus in the UC system (after UCLA).
With 80,000+ applicants vying for so few spots, applying to Cal may seem quite intimidating. But remember: UC Berkeley practices holistic admissions. A combination of strong stats, stellar UC essays and meaningful extracurriculars is what will truly distinguish you.
Berkeley Admissions Stats
Overall Admit Rate
Average ACT/SAT For UC Berkeley Admission
What ACT/SAT is required for UC Berkeley?
While UC Berkeley acceptance rates are very high and it requires all applicants to submit scores from either the SAT with Essay or ACT with Writing, there is technically no minimum SAT/ACT score requirement.
But what ACT/SAT score will you need to be competitive?
You’re more than just a number, of course. But, you need top SAT and ACT scores alongside a strong UC GPA at minimum to get into Berkeley. To give yourself the best shot, aim for the 75th percentile — that means at least a 1540 on the SAT or a 35 on the ACT.
Here’s a look at the test scores for admitted students in the 2018-2019 admissions cycle:
Berkeley SAT Score Range
Evidence Based Reading & Writing
Berkeley ACT Score Range
English Language Arts
Average GPA To Get Into UC Berkeley
What GPA do you need to get into Berkeley?
To be a Golden bear, you’re required to have at least a UC GPA of 3.0 (3.4 if you’re out-of-state).
Not too bad right?
Not so fast. Merely fulfilling the minimum admission requirements won’t suffice. Aim high. To be the most competitive, you should have mostly A’s and multiple AP or IB courses under your belt.
UC Berkeley Post Graduation Outcomes Class of 2019
So you got into Berkeley. But what happens after?
For the class of 2019, the vast majority were employed full-time straight out of UC Berkeley. Not only did these Bears secure jobs, they secured the bag as well: The overall average starting salary for UC Berkeley’s Class of 2019 was $75,000!
UC Berkeley is, no doubt, a launchpad for successful lives and careers. As a result, Cal is also extremely competitive. But don’t be discouraged, becoming a Golden Bear is far from impossible. You can do it!
Curious about what UCLA acceptance rates and admission statistics looks like? Well, you’re in the right place! Here, we’ll discuss important stats of admitted students — such as average SAT/ACT scores and GPA — helping you find out where you stand in the race to become a Bruin. Read the article to learn the requirements of UCLA and how to get into UCLA
This past year, UCLA was THE most applied to university in America, with over 100,000 applications! So of course, it’s extremely competitive — in fact, with an acceptance rate of only 12.4%, UCLA is the most competitive undergraduate campus in the UC system.
75 percent of admitted UCLA freshmen in 2019 had an SAT score of 1360+ and an ACT score of 30+. So, to get into UCLA, your ACT/SAT score should — at the very least — be meeting this threshold.
However, with so many students vying to be Bruins, only being in the 25th percentile won’t cut it. To give yourself a competitive edge, aim for the highest possible score you can achieve! And if you’re seeking to be an engineer at UCLA, then seriously — you should aim as high as 75th percentile whenever possible.
In short: while there is no minimum ACT/SAT score that you need, per se, you should try to get at least a 1550 on the SAT or a 35 on the ACT.
Here’s a breakdown of test scores for admitted students in the 2018-2019 admissions cycle:
UCLA SAT Score Range
Evidence Based Reading & Writing
UCLA ACT Score Range
English Language Arts
What Is The Average GPA To Get Into UCLA?
UCLA’s fall 2019 admits had an average UC GPA of 4.24.
So what does that mean for you?
It means… while UCLA only requires you to have a GPA of 3.0 if you’re in-state, or 3.4 if you’re out-of-state, you really should be at a 4.24 — at least — to be seriously considered.
However, just meeting the 50th percentile will not necessarily be enough. Again, aim high! If you want to have a good chance of becoming a Bruin, you should be a straight A student who has taken plenty of honors and AP/IB courses.
Well, check it out: Tuition for UCLA students during the 2019-2020 academic year was $13,239 for California residents and $42,993 for nonresidents.
Does UCLA give good financial aid?
UCLA is ranked as the nation’s 4th best value college by Forbes in 2019. In fact, approximately 55 percent of UCLA undergraduate students receive financial aid, with an average gift aid award of $18,808.
College is only 4 years. Afterwards, you have a choice of getting a job immediately after graduation or going to graduate school (or you could sail around the world for a year, who knows).
For those of you that want a job right after college, aren’t you curious how much you’ll get paid? Well, check this out: The overall average starting salary for UCLA’s Class of 2019 was $58,027. And, you’ll be happy to know that approximately half of UCLA graduates are gainfully employed right after college. Not bad!
LS: Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
LS: International Institute
LS: Physical Sciences
LS: Social Sciences
School of Nursing
School of the Arts and Architecture
School of Theater, Film, and Television
There’s no question about it: UCLA acceptance rates are very competitive and it is very hard to get into. But, with great stats, essays, and extracurriculars, you can truly tip the scales in your favor.
Have more burning questions about UCLA acceptance stats and what it takes to become a Bruin? Tell us in the comments below!