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Chances for Out of State Students?

zmoose27zmoose27 Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
I was looking at Berkeley's student breakdown and apparently, 93% of all freshmen are from California. Does this mean that Berkeley doesn't admit many freshman from outside California, or do they not receive many applicants from outside California? Do out of state applicants have a harder time getting in?

Also, their admit rate is approximately only 24%. Does anyone here know why its so low? Its lower than schools that are arguably better then it (Chicago, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Emory, etc.) Is it because hoards of students from California apply, even if they are vastly under qualified?

I'm totally confused. Please help. Thanks =)
Post edited by zmoose27 on

Replies to: Chances for Out of State Students?

  • kyledavid80kyledavid80 Registered User Posts: 8,093 Senior Member
    I was looking at Berkeley's student breakdown and apparently, 93% of all freshmen are from California.

    True.
    Does this mean that Berkeley doesn't admit many freshman from outside California, or do they not receive many applicants from outside California?

    It doesn't admit many freshmen outside of California. In fact, it gets enough OOS (out-of-state) applicants to fill its class with nothing but OOS students; last year, it got nearly 5,000 OOS applicants (not to mention 2,500 international applicants). By law, Berkeley must accept mostly California students; that is its primary duty. As a result, of the total students accepted each year, OOSers make up about 10%. The acceptance rate for OOS is about 20%, despite its being very self-selective.

    The reason that fewer enroll in Berkeley is that 1) it's difficult enough to get in, so few are admitted; 2) if they do get in, it's going to be expensive -- roughly the price of a private; and 3) they won't get a whole lot of financial aid, as they're not CA residents. Not to mention Berkeley is usually far away for OOS students (distance always plays a role).

    Regardless, Berkeley still enrolls students from all 50 states (+ DC) and, I think, over 100 countries.
    Also, their admit rate is approximately only 24%. Does anyone here know why its so low?

    Er, because Berkeley is selective?
    Its lower than schools that are arguably better then it (Chicago, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Emory, etc.)

    For one, that's assuming that acceptance rate and quality are necessarily related; they are not. Chicago, for example, has a very self-selective applicant body, so its acceptance rate is higher, and Chicago is one of the best schools in the country. Harvard would have a 50% acceptance rate if all the "unqualified" (whatever that may be) applicants didn't apply, leaving mainly the very qualified ones, who are accepted. Hell, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT -- all could have near 100% acceptance rates if the right students applied, theoretically. But that isn't the case. Their acceptance rates are as low as they are because hoards of students apply -- most of whom just aren't at the right caliber. Sure, many are statistically qualified, but most just don't get in. I think over half of Stanford's applicant pool is eliminated in the first round of reviewing (the "clear rejects").

    For another, you are assuming that the schools you listed are better than Berkeley. At best, I'd say they're on par. But really, the only rankings (which I think you're referring to) that put those schools ahead of Berkeley, for the most part, are US News rankings. If you look at many other rankings, you'd see that Berkeley is usually ranked ahead of them. It competes very well with top privates. US News' ranking has many flaws. You can see a full discussion of it here:

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/383429-review-usnwr-approach-what-valuable.html

    Overall, 45,000+ students apply to Berkeley, but it only has room for about 4,000 freshmen (though it accepts more because some students will choose to go elsewhere). I would say that many of Berkeley's applicants aren't qualified, but I would say the same of Stanford's applicants, Harvard's applicants, etc.

    Regardless, Berkeley must be selective of them; that's how its average SAT is about 2050 (higher if superscored), the average UW GPA is roughly 3.9, that the average W GPA is about 4.3, that about 99% of its students were in the top 10% of their classes, etc. If you look at freshman admission criteria, you'd see just how selective Berkeley theoretically is -- completion of a-g requirements (which is what makes many OOS applicants ineligible), minimum GPA requirements, etc. In addition, it considers GPA, rigor of course load, and the essay to be "very important" (highest on the importance scale); scores, activities, talent/ability, character/personal qualities, work experience, and volunteer work to be "important." So as you can see, it's very selective. Perhaps not as ultra-selective as Harvard or Yale or whathaveyou, but easily the most selective public school and one of the most selective schools overall (I think US News puts it at #13 or so).

    Hope that helps.
  • zmoose27zmoose27 Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
    Thanks a lot! Your insightful explanation really helped make things clearer.
  • vc08vc08 Registered User Posts: 3,340 Senior Member
    kyle, you should really write a college admissions book someday. nicely done :)

    one thing i would like to comment on (and you did address it, but just to reiterate), is that few would put the colleges zmoose mentioned ahead of Cal. In fact, the only ones that come close IMO are Chicago for math and possibly some sciences (engineering, etc.), and Northwestern in similar disciplines. Emory and Vanderbilt are more in the likes of Boston College, USC, etc., IMO; still greatly qualified schools, but not quite the 'prestige,' or global notoriety, of Cal.
This discussion has been closed.