High Stats but Berkeley requested a Letter of Recommendation?

Hi, so I’ve read that UC Berkeley asks a small handful of students every year for two additional letters of recommendation should their application trigger it. I just received my request today, and I’m curious what may have caused it. I’ve heard it’s rare for academically ahead students to receive one and, I’m not at all trying to brag, but I think I have pretty good stats.

I’m ranked #1 in my senior class of 258 with a 4.00 UW GPA and around a 4.39 W (lower for the UCs, though). I also have numerous leadership positions in my activities and decent PIQs. I think it may be because of either my lack of AP classes (only two for my entire high school career) or the fact my high school is lacking in resources (it’s a California Title IX). That or I just did not do as well as I thought I did lol.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I’m tripping out over this a little :')

This is a useful post for evaluating whether you are a high stats applicant compared to the majority of UCB applicants and admits: Admission and yield rates by college (L&S, CoE, CoC, CNE, CED) and HS GPA

It’s a bit mysterious which students are selected for the LOR request, but it’s nice to have the opportunity to add LORs to your application, if you have teachers who will be happy to write them.

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Not sure what would trigger it (apps haven’t even closed yet) but it would be a good sign for you!! Many with your #s get rejected. So you are in a good place


This is a general description…

This is directly from UCB. Please read criteria for referral section. It may be a result of the “lack of resources” at your HS that you reference.


“ Evidence of relative lack of access to, counseling about, or support to take college preparatory, honors, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes or required college entrance examinations.”

Your number 1 in your class with an UW 4.0!! That’s great!!

I would focus your LORs on your academic determination and qualification in spite of not being able to take APs given your schools limitations (assuming this is the case). Try and get people who can speak to your ability to thrive in a rigorous academic enviornment.

Good luck!

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@Gumbymom any idea?

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All types of students receive the LOR request including High stat students. Up to 15% of the applicants can receive an LOR request.

Here are some of the reasons for the LOR request from UCB. Do not try to ready anything into the request. They just need more information to make an informed admissions decision.

  1. Evidence of focus on an area of special talent which may have limited a student’s time to participate in a broader range of activities.
  2. Evidence of character traits that imply a strong likelihood of making a significant contribution to campus life.
  3. Evidence of significant academic achievement or the potential for academic achievement at the University in spite of extraordinary or compound disadvantage or learning difference, or physical disability or other unusual circumstances.
  4. Evidence of significant improvement in the academic record accompanied by one or both of the following: (1) reasons for the initial poor performance; and (2) sustained and in-depth participation in educational outreach programs, which demonstrate the applicant’s commitment to succeed academically within a challenging environment.
  5. Evidence of relative lack of access to, counseling about, or support to take college preparatory, honors, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes or required college entrance examinations.



Here is more detail regarding LOR’s at UCB from the BOARS report:

Those invited to submit a recommendation may submit up to two letters of recommendation. Submission is voluntary and not required for full consideration of the application for admission; if a student chooses not to submit a letter of recommendation(s), it does not affect their opportunity for admission. In the fall 2021 cycle, Berkeley gave 16,783 applicants, or 12.42% of the pool, the opportunity to submit a letter of recommendations. Of those applicants, 4,937 submitted, and 2,854 (58%) were admitted. Those admitted were:
● First Generation College-Going: 2,581
● From an LCFF+ high school: 1,290
● Received an application waiver: 2,547
● Underrepresented Minority:
○ African American: 235 ○ Chicano/Latino: 1,621 ○ Native American: 14
○ Pacific Islander: 9

More information on LCFF, in case you were wondering: http://downloads.capta.org/edu/e-school-finance/LCFF-4pg_English.pdf

Ohhh okay, I saw that page but this is very enlightening. Thank you for your advice about the letter! I’ll see who I can ask :heart:

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Thank you so much for providing so many statistics! This makes me feel a lot better, so I’ll try to take that into account when asking my recommenders :heart:

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