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UC Berkeley Media Advisory

Profiles of freshmen with SATs 1000 or below may illuminate admissions process

22 October 2003

– In the past several weeks, a great deal of attention has been paid to how UC Berkeley admits new freshmen, focusing on SAT I scores and grade point averages (GPAs). UC policy directs campuses to consider multiple measures of accomplishment, to look for outstanding personal talent as well as academic achievement, and to evaluate applicants' achievements in the context of the opportunities and challenges they faced.

Related stories
"Campus responds to L.A. Times reporting," Berkeleyan, October 8, 2003

"Chancellor Berdahl's letter on UC Berkeley's admissions policy," October 6, 2003

Q&A about UC admissions, October 6, 2003

Below are 41 descriptions of representative students with relatively low SAT I scores of 1,000 or below who were admitted to UC Berkeley for the fall 2002 or spring 2003 semesters. These students' circumstances, revealed in their applications, may have contributed to UC Berkeley's decision to admit them.

This information is being provided by the campus's Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Some details have been generalized or omitted, in order to protect the identity of the individuals.

There are references in some descriptions to API 1, 2 and 3. Each California high school is assigned an academic performance index based on its students' test scores. An API 1 school is in the lowest 10 percent of California schools, an API 2 is in the lowest 20 percent, and so on.

"Eligible in the Local Context" refers to the UC systemwide program in which high school students in the top 4 percent of their graduating classes are granted admission to the UC system. This does not guarantee admission to UC Berkeley, but it is a factor considered along with all other information in a student's application file.

Profiles of 41 students with SAT I scores of 1000 or below

1. Weighted GPA 3.86, honor roll student each year of high school at API 1 school. Major scholarship winner. Active on student council (president, junior year), student representative to school district superintendent's school advisory council, ROTC cadet. Low income ($12,000), family of five, parents high school graduates, single-parent family, took care of disabled grandparent on dialysis, lived independently away from parents during part of high school, worked 20 hours per week to pay rent and utilities.

2. Weighted GPA 4.20. Student was in top 4 percent of high school graduating class despite student being an immigrant and no English spoken at home. Participated in a rigorous internship program as part of academy curriculum. Two-year varsity athlete and numerous volunteer activities. Low income family ($15,440), with neither parent having education higher than high school graduation.

3. Weighted GPA 3.75, received scholarship to attend prestigious out-of-state private school summer program, active in four outreach programs, perfect attendance during high school, received various academic school awards, non-native speaker of English. Very low income ($1,365), family of 10, parents no high school, father on disability (formerly a farm worker), student worked 20-25 hours per week while achieving high grades.

4. Weighted GPA 3.88. Student exceeded the UC preparatory curriculum with mostly "A" and very few "B" grades despite neurological disorder resulting in multiple learning and physical disabilities. Received several scholarships to travel and study at national and international locations. Held several local and regional community leadership positions. Reports extremely low family income.

5. High school academic awards and external scholarship for competitive essay and grades. Speaks three languages, very high percentile ranking for number of UC preparatory courses, worked 12 hours per week, active in academic enrichment program, recent immigrant from Africa (9th grade), family has political asylum status, low income ($35,000), family of five, one parent high school graduate, one has some college.

6. Weighted GPA 4.15. Ranked by the high school in top 5 percent of class. Scholastic honor society every semester of high school. School academic excellence award and vice president of national honor society. Student body vice president and numerous leadership and volunteer activities. Single parent family, with parent having only high school graduation. Caretaking responsibilities for younger sibling. Many hours of work during school year and summer to pay for own educational expenses. Family income is $19,000.

7. Weighted GPA 4.0. Founder of student mentoring program at API 2 school. Non-native speaker of English. Active in several clubs, nominee for significant selective private scholarship program, many hours of volunteer work and recipient of various school awards. Low family income, family of five, one parent graduated from high school, one did not, single parent family.

8. Recruited athlete. Exceeded the UC preparatory curriculum with extra semesters of math and science despite learning a second language along with English and training/ practicing in sport 25 hours per week each year of high school. Student is a national leader in athletic talent/achievement.

9. Honor roll student at API 1 school, active in UC Early Academic Outreach Program, (EAOP), editor-in-chief of yearbook. Strong school leadership, captain of cheerleading squad, active in several clubs and drama. Family income $40,000, family of four, mother some college, single-parent family.

10. Weighted GPA 4.00. The API 1 school ranked student in the top 2 percent of the class, which student achieved despite being a recent immigrant with English as a second language. Student lived in a basement in an impoverished, high crime neighborhood and family members were victims of violent crime. Family is low income ($30,000, including student earnings), and highest parent education is some high school. Student worked significant hours to pay for household bills and school supplies.

11. Eligible in the Local Context (top 4 percent), multiple academic awards at API 1 school. Non-native speaker of English. Active in several academic enrichment programs, significant community service student advisory board to Congressional representative, member of Superintendent's student advisory committee. Father has no high school, mother high school graduate, father's disability limits his employment.

12. Weighted GPA 3.78. Student in top 10 percent of applicants from the school for number of UC preparatory courses taken. Honor roll and Golden State Exam awards. 3.0 GPA on 9 units of transferable college courses earned before high school graduation. Numerous leadership and volunteer activities, including internship with regional legislator. Active in UC Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) and Los Angeles Basin Initiative academic enrichment program. Single parent, low income family ($23,000), with parent having some college.

13. Eligible in the Local Context (top 4 percent) in API 2 school. Non-native speaker of English. Active in several academic enrichment programs. Junior varsity captain of volleyball team, yearbook staff, cross country varsity team member, swim team member, worked 24-38 hours per week to assist family, low income ($20,000), family of six, father no high school (and unemployed), mother is high school graduate. 14. Weighted GPA 4.19. Ranked by API 1 high school in the top 4 percent of the class. Golden State Exam award, Governor's scholarship. Achievement in multiple academic enrichment programs. Class vice president, student body president. Single parent family on public assistance ( $7,752 income). Parent has some high school.

15. Recruited athlete. By end of junior year, completed five transferable academic community college courses with C and B grades. Family issues during high school father ill, family homeless for a brief period.

16. Weighted GPA 4.44. Ranked by API 1 high school as valedictorian of class of 375. Governor's scholar and president of national scholastic federation at the high school. Student cares for younger siblings (10 people in family) and works for no pay every weekend to help parents.

17. Eligible in the Local Context (top 4 percent) at API 2 school. Non-native speaker of English, active several academic enrichment programs. Significant school leadership jr. Class Secretary, vice president of homecoming activities, junior varsity/varsity basketball, junior varsity volleyball. Worked 25-25 hours per week to assist family, low income ($11,000), both parents no high school, family of 10, father disabled, rural residence.

18. Weighted GPA 3.90. Rigorous UC preparatory curriculum at API 1 school. "B" in UCB Summer Session academic course taken before senior year of high school. Achievement awards in math and science from UC Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP). School and community athlete, and senior class president. Impoverished family upbringing, sometimes with no food and student responsible for younger siblings.

19. Through assistance from Upward Bound Program, student transitioned past sheltered English non-college preparatory courses and performed well in rigorous UC preparatory courses at API 1 school. Student's commitment to strengthen education included weekly tutoring, Saturday College, and summer residential academic programs. Non-native speaker of English, Spanish/English interpreter for community. School leadership, active in church, various clubs. Low income ($16,500), both parents no high school, family of four, mother janitor, father unemployed, father alcoholic/ abusive family situation, resides in gang-infested neighborhood.

20. Weighted GPA 4.10. High school valedictorian. Several school leadership and volunteer activities. City council award for outstanding community service. Varsity athlete. Neither parent has high school; no income reported.

21. Eligible in the Local Context (top 4 percent) at API 1 school, winner of numerous academic awards outside of the school. Active academic enrichment programs, tutored middle school students, non-native speaker of English. Low income ($18,000), family of six.

22. Weighted GPA 4.21. Student on honor roll and given Golden State Exam award recognition each year at the API 3 high school, in spite of immigration without basic English skills in middle school. Caretaking responsibilities for family members, with eight living in a one-bedroom room apartment. Has had to do homework in the bathroom in order to concentrate. With family income of $37,500, including student's earnings, student has worked since age 15 to contribute to household bills and save for college. 23. Eligible in the Local Context (top 4 percent). Active in multiple academic enrichment programs, significant community service (church, library), member/leader of several school clubs, perfect attendance award. Low income ($18,823), family of six, both parents no high school, family refugees from one African country via several years in another African country, non-native speaker of English.

24. Weighted GPA 4.36 at API 2 school. Student in top quintile of applicants to Berkeley for weighted and unweighted GPAs and number of honors courses. Participant in county academic decathlon and future teachers organization. President of California Scholarship Federation school chapter. Student learned English and another language growing up in a family with income under $13,000 and with neither parent having high school education.

25. Numerous school honors, student participated every year of high school in Upward Bound, consisting of weekly tutoring, Saturday College and summer residential academic program. Non-native speaker of English, API 3 school. Student's artwork is on public display outside of the school. School leadership, participated in community service, worked 8 hours per week to support family. Very low income ($7,356), family of four, both parents no high school and unemployed, family subsisting on welfare.

26. Weighted GPA 3.84. Student achieved honor roll grades in a rigorous UC preparatory curriculum despite missing two months of school due to severe injuries from a tragic auto accident that killed one of the student's parents. Regional awards in debate and leader is multiple school organizations. Highest education level of parents is "some high school."

27. Leadership position in Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA), API 3 school, Non-native speaker of English. Volunteer work includes tutoring and mentoring. High recognition at selective migrant student leadership institute. Various school awards, active in several clubs and athletics. Low income ($20,000), family of six, both parents no high school, mother recently deceased leaving student with heavy family responsibilities. Rural residence.

28. Weighted GPA 4.22 at API 3 school. Student had twenty units of college credit for courses and Advanced Placement Exams completed while in high school. Community and city awards for academic achievement. Leader in academic decathlon and tutor for new immigrant students. English is second language. Student body and school district leadership positions. Parents have high school educations, but only one is employed; family income $21,000. Student worked to save money for college.

29. Student immigrated first year of high school, taking honors and AP courses by senior year. API 1 school. Non-native speaker of English, participant in community academic enrichment program. Nominated for significant scholarship, teachers' letters call student an exceptional leader and student, succeeding despite poverty and linguistic barriers. Works 10 hours per week, low income ($18,000), family of four, both parents no high school.

30. Weighted GPA 4.14 at API 3 school. School ranked student in the top 3 percent of class. California Scholarship Federation every year of high school, Golden State Exam award, and straight A award. Leadership in traveling marching band, which performed nationally and required significant hours of practice. Student comes from family of migrant workers, with neither parent having high school education, and income of $22,000.

31. Student received several school awards and was chosen as a community-based fund program scholar. Created own internship with an organization, set up own similar organization, attended college courses during high school. Significant achievement and leadership despite documented serious learning disability.

32. Weighted GPA 4.61 at API 2 school. School science awards, including Golden State Exam and science fair award in chemistry. Leadership in Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA), editor-in-chief of newspaper in non-English language. English is second language; student tutored other bilingual students at the school. One parent has some college, the other has some high school $36,000 income for family of six.

33. Eligible in the Local Context (top 4 percent) at API 1 school. Straight "A's." Enrolled in challenging high school curriculum and active in academic enrichment program. Non-native speaker of English. Low income ($13,000), both parents no high school, four in family.

34. Recruited athlete. "B" in academic college course taken while in high school.

35. Eligible in the Local Context (top 4 percent). Various school awards, active as tutor to other immigrant students at API 1 school. Non-native speaker of English. Chosen as intern at prominent science lab. Worked 31 hours per week during part of high school to support family. Low income ($26,000), family of six, both parents no high school.

36. Received numerous school awards, tutored middle school students, "A" and "B" grades in college courses while in high school. Active in UC Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) for each year in high school, utilizing these services to prepare for college despite domestic responsibilities and family expectations for student to have domestic role in adult life. Non-native speaker of English, discouraged from academic achievement by family/peers. Vice president of church youth group, cultural dance practitioner. Worked 8-25 hours per week to help family, low income ($24,000), father no high school, mother some college, father on disability, six in family.

37. Recruited athlete. School honors, low income family, excelled in sports, some community service and work experience.

38. Weighted GPA 4.11 at API 1 school. School ranked student in top 2 percent of high school graduating class. Student was yearbook editor-in-chief. Learned English and another language growing up. Neither parent has high school education, and family income is $23,000. Student helped care for younger siblings and worked 20 hours per week year-round to contribute to family income.

39. Weighted GPA 3.75. Achievement in regional debate, tutor and mentor to other students. Struggled to become fluent in English as second language after immigration from the Middle East. Successfully initiated a change of school district policy in order to be allowed to take more challenging courses in the high school. Community leadership. Participant in school leadership and volunteer activities. One parent has some college.

40. Many school and community awards, award in citywide poetry competition, started a mentoring program for girls. Active as a peer advisor and leader at school. Attended university summer classes while in high school. No income listed but student says they survive on welfare and student's paychecks. Chaotic home environment — no father, mother abuses drugs, lives in public housing.

41. Eligible in the Local Context (top 4 percent) at API 1 high school. Several academic awards and multi-year participation in academic decathlon and science bowl/Olympiads. Achievement in academic enrichment programs, including space laboratory internship. Volunteer tutor and leadership in athletics. Single-parent family of seven, with income of $29,000. Parent has some high school.