Optional essay for Berkeley?

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Optional essay for Berkeley?

Postby NorCalBruin » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:24 am


Berkeley's application doesn't mention anything about "optional essays". They DO mention you can write an addendum for any part of your app that you want to focus on, but they don't suggest anything about a "Why Cal" essay.

I was thinking of writing a "Why Berkeley" essay. Thoughts on this? Did anyone else do this? Couldn't hurt, right?

Also, they say their personal statement limit is four pages. My personal statement is 2 pages (kept it at that limit for other schools). Did y'all expand your PS for Cal, or just leave it at 2?

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Re: Optional essay for Berkeley?

Postby St.Remy » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:28 am

Berkeley is known as being very holistic. With this in mind it is highly recommended to do a "Why Berkeley" addendum and a 4 page personal statement opposed to the standard 2 page one. This will by no means give you a guaranteed acceptance to Berkeley, even with numbers that are above both medians, but will rather improve your chances. Besides Yale and Stanford, Berkeley is the school most likely to take into account your experiences as a person outside of raw numbers. Keep that in mind as you go through the Berkeley application process. I personally did not expand my PS, but I expect to be rejected from Berkeley (and I have no overwhelming interest in going there).
Last edited by St.Remy on Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Optional essay for Berkeley?

Postby Na_Swatch » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:29 am

If you are interested in Berkeley I strongly suggest you do a full 4 page personal statement for them... They know that other schools only want 2 pages, and if you just give 2 pages they know your not placing them very high on the priority list.

(For example I had #s above both their medians, but was an East coaster and sent them only 2 pages = straight reject not even waitlist haha)


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Re: Optional essay for Berkeley?

Postby vicuna » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:04 am

FWIW, I sent my standard two page personal statement to Berkeley with no supplemental essays. And my GPA was below their median. And I was accepted last week.

That said, I'd like to think that my softs overall are above average.

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