More than 100,000 students seek admission to Berkeley

The number of students seeking admission to UC Berkeley has climbed steadily for years, but applications for 2016-17 have set a record, breaking the 100,000 mark for the first time in the campus’s history.

A total of 101,655 prospective freshmen and transfer students have applied for admission, up from about 96,000 student applicants a year ago.

The figures were released today (Monday, Jan. 11) by the University of California Office of the President, along with application data for all campuses in the UC system. Detailed data for all campuses is available online.

Beyond the strong student demand for a UC Berkeley education, the increase reflects admissions officials’ expanded outreach efforts in California. Consistently ranked among the world’s top universities, the campus attracts applications from throughout the state and around the globe.

New freshman applicants numbered 82,539, a 4.7 percent increase over last year, while transfer student applications reached 19,116, an 11 percent increase. The academic quality of this pool remains as strong as ever, with freshman applicants achieving an average GPA of 3.67 (unweighted) and an average SAT composite test score of 1945.

The increase in applications came from both California residents and students outside of California. And the applicant pool remains diverse. There was no decline in applications among any ethnic groups, with African American and Chicano-Latino students showing the strongest increase in applications, 6.7 percent and 5.6 percent respectively, indicating strong interest in attending Berkeley.

Campus officials have not yet determined how many enrollment seats will be available; such details will be determined in the coming weeks. They do know that more California residents will be enrolled on UC campuses in 2016-17. In fall 2015 the UC regents approved a plan to increase enrollment of California undergraduates at UC campuses by 10,000 over the next three years, including 5,000 freshmen and transfer students in 2016-17.

Additional admissions changes are occurring or have occurred at the Berkeley campus level. For the first time, UC Berkeley will be providing some student applicants with early notification that they have been admitted. While most prospective freshmen will learn of their admissions decision March 24, up to 2,000 students will be informed of their acceptance to Berkeley on Feb. 12. This group of high-achieving students will include students selected to interview for Berkeley’s most prestigious scholarship, the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship. The earlier notification will allow top students more time to explore the option of becoming a Berkeley student.

This admissions cycle also gave more freshman applicants the opportunity to submit letters of recommendations as part of the review process. Such letters are requested when officials believe a letter will benefit the review process, but students are free to decline and not submit letters. “We’re grateful for the time and energy that counselors, teachers and others have taken to write letters of recommendation,” said Amy Jarich, a UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor and director of admissions. “They have been strong advocates for students.”

The changes regarding early notification and letters of recommendation do not apply to transfer applicants, who will learn of transfer decisions April 29.

The campus has also made changes to its Global Edge Program for freshmen, which launched in 2015-16. Last year, about 60 students spent their fall semester with fellow freshmen in London. For 2016-17, the program will include more freshmen and will expand to include Rome and Madrid.