University of California-Berkeley

Berkeley, CA
Median SAT/ACT
UC-Berkeley, or Cal for short, is one of the most selective public colleges in the country, and 91% of freshman graduate within six years, well above even other elite public schools. A respected research institution, Cal gives students access to a faculty that includes numerous MacArthur “geniuses,” Pulitzer Prize winners, and Nobel laureates, including biologist Randy Schekman, who received the 2013 Nobel for medicine, and astrophysicist George Smoot, who won the 2006 award in physics. As with many big universities, lower-level classes are large—one computer science course usually has more than 1,000 students. With scale also comes a mind-boggling array of choices for non-academic pursuits, including more than 50 sororities and fraternities and hundreds of clubs (there are more than half a dozen just devoted to specific dance styles such as tango, salsa, ballroom, and K-Pop). Sports are a big draw, and the Golden Bears’ Division I sports teams tend to be very strong (the football rivalry with nearby Stanford is legendary). Cal grads go on to earn, on average, about $60,300 within five years, a significant premium over comparable schools. Notable alumni include the author Maxine Hong Kingston, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Est. Full Price 2016–17
% of students who get financial aid
Estimated price for students who receive aid
Average price for low-income students
Financial Aid
% of students who get need-based aid
% of need met
% of students who get merit aid
Average merit grant
Student Success
Est. graduation rate
Average time to degree
4.2 years
Average student debt
Average salary within 5 years
Acceptance rate
Median SAT/ACT Score
Average student debt
SAT/ACT required?
Key Deadlines
Early decision
Regular application
Financial aid

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations.

University of California-Berkeley also appears onSee What Students Have to Say
It's been a crazy ride at Berkeley; the schoolwork is very difficult but the people here are the most diverse, intelligent, passionate people I can imagine. I am placed in such a wonderful place to make important network connections, and the professors that are available to me are beyond impressive.
Berkeley is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work to keep up here, but the school knows that and they offer loads of help to the students. The challenge, however, is what makes it so great. You are constantly surrounded by top quality people and because you're at such a big school with so many opportunities and clubs, there is a niche for everyone somewhere.
I am so thankful to be apart of the Berkeley family, it is supportive as well as challenging. Through the multitude of clubs, organizations, and teams on campus I can be involved in various programs that I enjoy doing!

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson's, PayScale.com, MONEY/College Measures calculations.

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