Campus & community, Campus news

Berkeley welcomes 10,000 new students for 2016-17

By Christopher Merchant

From Bay Area high schools to countries around the globe, the first of nearly 10,000 new students are arriving for their first semester at UC Berkeley. Of the students starting on campus this fall and next spring, 6,400 are freshmen and 3,000 are transferring from other institutions.

Most of the new students hail from California: 74 percent of incoming freshmen are state residents (an increase from 71 percent last year) and come from 47 of the 58 counties; 83 percent of transfers are Californians. More than a third of the California students in the new freshman class are from the Bay Area, and half are relocating from Southern California.

Eighty-two percent of the fall 2016 freshmen come from public high schools, while 94 percent of the transfers are coming from California community colleges.

Sixteen percent of incoming freshmen went to high school in other parts of the U.S., representing 45 states and territories. Almost 10 percent are from other nations: The top five most-represented countries are China, India, South Korea, Canada and Turkey.

While most of the transfer students are Californians, 16 percent are arriving from 41 other countries, especially South Korea, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan.

The new Berkeley students are diverse in other ways, too. Just over 60 percent of all the newcomers are bilingual or have a first language other than English. Seventeen percent of freshmen and 26 percent of transfers are underrepresented ethnic minorities. Both freshmen and transfer students comprise roughly equal contingents of men and women.

Academically, the new students have stellar records. Thirty-three percent of freshmen earned a 4.0 GPA in high school. Among transfers, 16 percent achieved a 4.0 in community college, and the average GPA was 3.73. The average SAT score for incoming freshmen was 2043, and 32 of them scored a perfect 2400.

Many incoming students share another commonality: 13 percent of the freshmen and 29 percent of transfer students are first-generation college students.

The incoming students are landing at Berkeley as the campus itself is undergoing renewal. Renovations are transforming Moffitt Library, a new Visitors Center is close to completion at Memorial Stadium and a new aquatics center is under construction next to University Health Services on Bancroft Way.

To welcome the fall-arriving students and help them to navigate their new world, the campus plans three weeks of events and activities that go by the name Getting Your Bearings .

Move-in Weekend, this Saturday and Sunday, will see new and returning students and their families putting their muscles to work carting boxes and books into housing units on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods.

Caltopia, which bills itself as the largest experiential college lifestyle festival in the nation, will see 30,000 students, family and friends descend on the Recreational Sports Facility on Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In its 14th year, Caltopia offers exhibits of the latest products, services and programs from all over campus, the Bay Area and the nation.

On Sunday night, the Haas Pavilion will buzz with the Big Night, a nighttime rally, with games and other activities, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Anyone attending must bring their Cal 1 card, and minors need a waiver signed by their parents or guardians .

On Monday, all undergraduates are invited to the New Student Convocation at Hearst Greek Theatre from 5 to 6 p.m. to hear a welcome from campus leaders. Classes start on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

A full list of welcome events is posted on the Getting Your Bearings website . And campus events can be tracked using a downloadable Cal Events app .