Frequently Asked Questions

Enrollment

How much does the Berkeley Writing Assessment cost?

The fee for the writing assessment is $196, which is charged to your dashboard. This charge will appear after you take the placement assessment.

I’m taking COLWRIT R1A this semester and don’t know yet if I will pass, but I want to enroll in a R1B course for next semester. Can I enroll in a R1B course for next semester before I get my final course grade in COLWRIT R1A?

Yes. You can enroll in an R&C Part B course for next semester. If you pass COLWRIT R1A at the end of this semester with a C or better, you are allowed to take the R&C Part B course that you enrolled in. If you don’t pass COLWRIT R1A at the end of this semester, you are not allowed to take the R&C Part B course that you enrolled in, and you will have to drop yourself from the course.

If you're enrolled in COLWRIT R1A in the spring semester and want to enroll in an R&C Part B course during the summer, contact us if you have problems enrolling.

There’s a prerequisite listed for the COLWRIT course I want to take. Do I have to fulfill that prerequisite before taking the course?

If the course you want to take is COLWRIT R4B, then yes, you absolutely must fulfill the prerequisite first semester of R&C before enrolling in the course.

For courses other than COLWRIT R4B, the answer is almost always yes, you must fulfill the prerequisite. You may contact the instructor to ask for an exception, but expect to be told that you need to fulfill the prerequisite before taking the course. Even if CalCentral allows you to enroll in the course, the instructor will likely drop you if you haven’t fulfilled the prerequisite.

COLWRIT R1A

What is COLWRIT R1A?

COLWRIT R1A, Accelerated Reading and Composition, is an intensive 6-unit seminar that concurrently satisfies the University of California Entry-Level Writing Requirement and the first part of the University's two-part Reading & Composition Requirement.

What will I do in COLWRIT R1A?

Students read imaginative, expository, and argumentative texts representative of the range of those encountered in the undergraduate curriculum. Readings feature authors from diverse social and cultural backgrounds and perspectives. Additionally, students are instructed in techniques for writing a range of discourse forms, and in the revision of papers. In response to course readings and instruction in technique, students write short (2-3 pages) and longer (4-6 pages) essays. Other writing assignments may include journals, quickwrites, reflections, or text responses. The students' writing serves as a text in the class as well, and papers are frequently revised through multiple drafts.

What is the format of the class?

Class size is limited to 14. The class is an interactive seminar; student discussion and writing are at the center.

Is there a final examination?

No. The culminating project for all COLWRIT R1A students is preparing a portfolio.

How are COLWRIT R1A portfolios graded?

Each student's portfolio is read by a College Writing lecturer that is not the student's instructor. It is marked as passing or not passing according to scoring guidelines developed by College Writing Programs. 

What if I disagree with my portfolio's grade? Can I talk to the instructor who rated it?

You will receive a detailed statement from your rater as to why your portfolio didn't pass. If you disagree with this, you should speak to your own instructor. We do not release the names of raters to students. 

I should have gotten a C-, but instead I got a D+. Why?

In order to pass R1A, you must receive a C or better. While a C- is a failing grade in this course, if you receive a C- you must repeat the course but cannot replace the C- grade. With a D+, you still need to retake the course, but your new grade will replace the D+ in your GPA. 

Where can I go if I want extra help with my writing?

The Student Learning Center (SLC), located in the Cesar Chavez Center in lower Sproul, offers peer tutors who are trained to work with students on their writing. In addition, SLC offers tutoring in a broad range of courses.  

How do I enroll in COLWRIT R1A?

The same way you enroll in any other class using CalCentral. There are often waiting lists for this class, so try to enroll as early as you can.

When should I take COLWRIT R1A?

You should take COLWRIT R1A in your freshman year.

Which section should I enroll in?

Each section has its own theme and reading list. See the descriptions of COLWRIT R1A sections being offered in the upcoming semester, and choose the one that interests you the most.

Should I enroll in a section for multilingual speakers of English?

Some COLWRIT R1A sections are reserved for students who are fluent in languages other than English. If your Analytical Writing Placement Exam results suggest that you would benefit from specialized instruction, or if you want a chance to learn more about the structure of English while you read and write, consider enrolling in one of these sections. 

What do I do if I can't get into the course this semester?

The College Writing Programs (CWP) will may every effort to reserve a space for you the following semester.

What course do I take after COLWRIT R1A to fulfill the second half of the R&C requirement?

UC Berkeley offers courses in a wide range of departments that fulfill the second half of the R&C requirement (see, for example, COLWRIT R4B). Check the Schedule of Classes to find out which courses are currently being offered.

COLWRIT R1A Multilingual Student Writers Sections

What are MSW-designated COLWRIT R1A sections?

College Writing Programs (CWP) offers four to six COLWRIT R1A courses per semester that are designated for multilingual student writers (MSW). This means the course is reserved for non-native speakers of English. These sections follow the same curriculum standards and carry the same units as all other sections. The only requirement for students in COLWRIT R1A sections designated for multilingual students is that they spoke--or speak--at least one language besides English at home (a high percentage of COLWRIT R1A students meet this qualification). All MSW-designated sections are taught by specialists who can provide additional support to multilingual student writers.

Who would most benefit from taking an MSW-designated section of COLWRIT R1A?

An MSW-designated section can be beneficial to a multilingual student who speaks English fluently, but who has some difficulty writing or reading academic prose in English.

These courses can benefit international and recently arrived students who want intensive support with improving vocabulary development, learning editing and proofreading strategies, and understanding the expectations of U.S. academic instructors.

Are MSW-designated sections of COLWRIT R1A just as rigorous as any other section of COLWRIT R1A?

Yes, MSW-designated sections are just as rigorous as any other section of COLWRIT R1A. These sections are designated "MSW" by the College Writing Programs (CWP) and are not seen as separate courses by the University; they are not reported differently from any other section of COLWRIT R1A on students’ transcripts, nor are they listed separately in any printed catalog. There are only two differences between these MSW sections and any other section of COLWRIT R1A:
  1. All of the students are multilingual and will bring this unique background into the classroom.
  2. The instructor has experience helping students address writing challenges in English that may be unique to second-language writers.

How can a student enroll in an MSW-designated COLWRIT R1A section?

Look for the following sentence at the end of the course descriptions in the Schedule of Classes: “Section X presumes proficiency in a language other than English.” Alternatively, you can contact the College Writing Programs (CWP), collegewriting@berkeley.edu, 510-642-5570, and ask for the COLWRIT R1A MSW section numbers.

Satisfying the UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement | BWA

How do I know which test scores satisfy ELWR?

A list of accepted tests and scores is found at the University of California Admissions page.

What is the UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement?

The UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement is a Universitywide writing requirement. All students entering the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling this requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is a prerequisite to enrolling in all Reading & Composition courses.

If I didn't pass the Analytical Writing Placement Examination (2022 or before) or the Berkeley Writing Assessment (2023 and after), what should I do?

It depends on whether or not you've started your coursework at Berkeley.

If you have not started coursework at Berkeley: You can satisfy the UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement by earning a grade of C or higher in a college course certified by UC Berkeley as satisfying the Entry-Level Writing Requirement. Make sure the college sends your transcript to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Berkeley.

If you have started coursework at Berkeley: You must satisfy the UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement by earning a grade of C or higher in COLWRIT R1A.

How do I satisfy the UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement?

It depends on whether or not you've started your coursework at Berkeley.

If you have not started coursework at Berkeley: You can meet this requirement by exam or by coursework.

  • To satisfy the requirement by exam, please consult the list of exams and scores that are acceptable.
  • To satisfy the requirement by coursework, you must earn a grade of C or higher in a college course certified by UC Berkeley as satisfying the Entry-Level Writing Requirement.

If you have started coursework at Berkeley: You can meet this requirement by exam or by coursework.

  • To satisfy the requirement by exam, you must score
    • 8 or above on the Analytical Writing Placement Examination taken on the Berkeley campus (prior to 2023) or the Berkeley Writing Assessment (2023 and after).
  • To satisfy the requirement by coursework, you must earn a grade of C or higher in College Writing R1A.

Can I satisfy the UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement at a California Community College (CCC)?

Yes, but only if you have not already begun coursework at Berkeley.

Can I retake the Berkeley Writing Assessment if my score is below 8?

No. You can take the Assessment only once. If you receive a score below 8, you need to enroll in COLWRIT R1A.

Can I satisfy the UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement at another UC campus?

Yes, prior to your taking classes at UC Berkeley, and only if the course description indicates that it satisfies the Entry-Level Writing Requirement. (Note that the online course, 39A, is not currently accepted at UC Berkeley.)

Reading & Composition Requirement

Can I satisfy the Reading & Composition 1A Requirement at a California Community College (CCC)?

Before starting coursework at Berkeley, you can satisfy the R&C 1A Requirement at most community colleges as long as the course has been certified by UC Berkeley as satisfying the R&C 1A Requirement. You must earn a grade of C or higher to satisfy the requirement. Make sure the CCC sends your transcript to the Admissions Office at Berkeley.

After you have started coursework at Berkeley, you cannot take a course at a CCC to satisfy the R&C 1A Requirement.

Can I satisfy the UC Entry-Level Writing Requirement and the R&C 1A Requirement in one semester?

UC Berkeley offers one course that satisfies both requirements at the same time: COLWRIT R1A.

Other UC campuses require you to complete a 2-course sequence to satisfy both requirements. The courses cannot be taken concurrently. Contact an advisor in your college here at Berkeley, or contact the other campuses directly for further information.

I failed COLWRIT R1A. Can I retake the course in the summer at another UC campus?

If you fail COLWRIT R1A, you must retake COLWRIT R1A to eliminate the failing grade on your transcript. 

What's the difference between COLWRIT R1A and COLWRIT R4A?

COLWRIT R1A is the 6-unit course that satisfies both the entry level writing requirement and the first half of the reading and composition requirement. COLWRIT R4A is a 4-unit course for students who have already satisfied the ELWR. It satisfies the first half of the reading and composition requirement.

Multilingual Student Writers

What kind of support does College Writing Programs offer to native speakers of languages other than English?

The College Writing Programs (CWP) offers a suite of courses designed for native speakers of languages other than English, taught by specialists with backgrounds in teaching writing and Second Language Writing or Applied Linguistics. This means they will have studied English language use, language teaching, language testing, discourse analysis (fine-tuned attention to oral/written language), and linguistics (including syntax and grammar):
  • COLWRIT 1 - Grammar and Vocabulary of Written English
  • COLWRIT W1 - Grammar and Vocabulary of Written English (online and in-person)
  • COLWRIT R1A (MSW) - Accelerated Reading and Composition
  • COLWRIT R4B (MSW) - Reading, Composition, and Research
  • COLWRIT 9C - Academic Writing
  • COLWRIT 20 - Communicating in Class: Advanced Listening and Speaking
  • COLWRIT 21 - Conflict Management for Academic Success
  • COLWRIT 25AC - Reading in and about US Education Institutions

What kind of off-campus support does College Writing Programs offer to native speakers of languages other than English not enrolled at Berkeley?

College Writing Programs (CWP) offers several MOOCS (online, free, self-access courses) for English Language Learners. These are available on edX/2U under BerkeleyX. 

What's a MOOC?

A massive open online course (MOOC) offers interactive participation and coursework to anyone with Internet access. In addition to video lectures, readings, and quizzes, MOOCs provide discussion areas that build a community for the students, professors, and course staff.

How does it work?

When enrollment opens, you can sign up at edX.org. There is no cost to sign up or take the course.

Every week, there are short clips of video lectures and assignments. The course is 10 weeks, divided into two parts—2x.1 and 2x.2.  If you choose to pay the $49 fee, then you finish all parts successfully, you will receive a certificate of completion.  (Important note: As with most MOOCs, this one does not offer college credit.) 

What is COLWRIT 2x?

COLWRIT 2x is a writing course designed specially for learners of English. It is offered through edX.org, and is completely free. It uses some of the most advanced tools in online writing instruction, giving students meaningful ways to practice their writing and get feedback on how well they are doing.

What will I learn?

Here is a brief course overview:

2x.1   Weeks 1-5 How to Write an Essay

A review of basic grammar terminology and understanding; writing effective sentences and paragraphs; introductions and conclusions; strategies for writing longer texts; thesis statements

2x.2   Weeks 6-10 Academic and Business Writing

Formal and informal writing; effective email communication; academic writing; memos; project proposals; technical writing

Who is the instructor?

The course is taught by Maggie Sokolik. Dr. Sokolik received her Ph.D. in applied linguistics from UCLA. She has taught writing and technical communication at UC Berkeley since 1992. She is the author of more than twenty ESL and composition textbooks, including Sound Ideas, co-authored with Michael Krasny. She has also written for and been featured in several educational video projects in Japan. She travels frequently to speak about grammar, writing, and instructor education.

Where can I get more information?

To sign up for email updates and announcements about COLWRIT 2x, join our our Facebook group, or consult the edx.org website.

Other Courses

Are there other courses I can take to develop my writing?

The College Writing Programs (CWP) offers a number of lower and upper-division writing courses, such as intermediate and advanced composition, professional communication, creative writing, and writing in specific fields. The Undergraduate Division of the College of Letters and Science offers a creative writing minor.

Berkeley Writing Assessment

I took the BWA. How long will it be until I get my score?

It generally takes around 3 weeks for your essay to be scored and for the score to be submitted before it appears in your records.

Can I use my Smarter Balance score to satisfy ELWR?

No. The Smarter Balance score is used by some campuses as an additional piece of information for placement into courses. UC Berkeley does not currently use the Smarter Balance Assessment.

I am confused about ACT Scores. How do they count?

On the ELWR webpage, it says that a “Score 30 or better on ACT English Language Arts, or 63 or better on ACT English + Reading” could be considered a qualified score in the ELWR. But in the next section, it also says that “The ACT English alone will not fulfill the ELWR.” For example, if I have a 30 on ACT English, but the combined score is 61, will I be qualified for the ELWR?

Sorry, but no. It is a bit confusing. If your English score is 30, then you need a 33 or higher in Reading to satisfy ELWR.

You must score 30 on English as a minimum. But, if you score higher on English, such as 33, then you would only need a 30 in Reading to have a composite score of 63.

I have taken an English composition course that may qualify. How do I know? When will I know? Should I consider taking the Assessment?

A California Community College course that is published on ASSIST under the General Education/Breadth agreement as articulated to ENGLISH R1A or ENGLISH R1B will satisfy Entry Level Writing . Once this course is posted to your Transfer Credit Report (usually by mid-November), if you earn a grade of C or higher, Entry Level Writing  will be confirmed as satisfied in your Academic Progress Report, as well as part of Reading and Composition (). You can then enroll in the part of Reading and Composition (A or B)  you have left to complete in the spring or a later semester.

If you have taken an English composition course at another higher education institution, it may have been pre-approved to satisfy Reading and Composition. Consult Transfer Courses for Reading & Composition to see if the course is listed. If the course is noted as satisfying ENGLISH R1A or ENGLISH R1B, once it is posted to your Transfer Credit Report, if you earn a C or higher, Entry Level Writing  and part of Reading and Composition  will show as satisfied in your Academic Progress Report . You can then enroll in the part of Reading and Composition (A or B)   you have left to complete in the spring or a later semester.

If the course is not on Transfer Courses for Reading & Composition, it can still be reviewed for Entry Level Writing . To request an evaluation, open a Cal Student Central case (select ‘Registrar’ and ‘Transfer Credit’) and be sure to attach the syllabus for the course. Course syllabi can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed within 10-14 days, so be mindful of upcoming Berkeley Writing Assessment dates and class enrollment deadlines. For the Berkeley Writing Assessment on May 13, plan to submit your course syllabus for evaluation by Friday, April 21 to ensure that your course is reviewed in time for you to complete the ‘Entry Level Writing Evaluation’ Task assignment in Cal Central by May 5 should you need to register for the Assessment. 

I am waiting on an AP or IB score - why should I consider taking the Assessment in May?

If you are interested in enrolling in an Reading and Composition course during the fall semester, then satisfaction of Entry Level Writing  must be confirmed before the start of enrollment in mid-July. It may be to your advantage to take the Assessment in the annual May date as a back up in case you do not receive the minimum score needed on your AP or IB exam. 

If you decide not to take the Assessment in May, and you do not receive a qualifying AP or IB exam score, you can still take a make-up  Assessment during the fall or spring semester and postpone enrollment in a Reading and Composition course. Alternatively, you can bypass the Assessment and enroll directly in the COLWRIT R1A course in fall or spring semester. COLWRIT R1A completed with a letter grade of C or higher satisfies both Entry Level Writing  and Reading and Composition Part A.

Do I need to take the Assessment in order to enroll in COLWRIT R1A?

No, you may enroll directly in COLWRIT R1A without an assessment score. Many students appreciate taking the course as a way to improve their reading and writing skills in a small class environment (College Writing classes have only 14 students per section). The class is designed to set you up for success with your future writing assignments at Berkeley.

I have a conflict with the most recent Assesment. Are there any make-up times?

Yes, the Berkeley Writing Assessment will be offered three times each year: the May administration (primarily for incoming students), once during the fall semester and then again in the spring semester. Note that you may take the Assessment only once. If you do not receive a qualifying score the first time you take the Assessment, and you have no other qualifying scores or acceptable transfer course completed prior to stating Berkeley, you should enroll in COLWRIT R1A

How do I sign up for the Assessment?

If you are a newly admitted first-year student who has accepted the offer to attend Berkeley, you will be assigned a Task in your CalCentral Dashboard to complete an Entry Level Writing Evaluation form. If you are a continuing  Berkeley student, or have missed the May assessment, there is a registration link on this page.

You may take the Berkeley Writing Assessment only once.

Who should take the Berkeley Writing Assessment?

If you do not have a qualifying exam score at this time, or a C or higher in an English Composition course completed before starting Berkeley, you should  consider taking the next available assessment.

The advantage of taking the upcoming assessment is to guarantee you will have the results in time for fall semester enrollment in mid-July to best determine if you will take COLWRIT R1A or qualify for enrollment in a Reading and Composition course that satisfies Part A. The Assessment is not required for enrollment in COLWRIT R1A, you can always enroll directly into the course. COLWRIT R1A completed with a letter grade of C or higher satisfies both Entry Level Writing  and Reading and Composition Part A.

How do I pass the Assessment?

This is not an exam in the traditional sense. The Assessment doesn't have passing or failing grades. Instead, it will tell you which composition class is best for you given your skills and experience. If you receive a combined final score of 8 or higher, you will be recommended to take a 4-unit Reading and Composition Part A  course in the department of your choice, including College Writing Programs. If your score is lower than 8, you will take College Writing (COLWRIT) R1A, a 6-unit course which satisfies both the Entry Level Writing  and Reading and Composition Part A  requirement.

What is the Berkeley Writing Assessment?

The Berkeley Writing Assessment is a 2-hour timed reading and writing activity done online. It is made up of a reading passage and questions that you will write an essay in response to, without the assistance of outside readings, books, websites, ChatGPT, or other people. You will also complete a survey that tells us about your experience with writing and writing classes. An example of the type of writing you will be asked to do will be available soon on this page.

How is the Assessment scored?

Each student essay will be read by two raters, working independently, to assign it a score from 1-6. The two scores are combined for the final score.

SELS

Where is the Summer English Language Studies office and what are the hours?

The Summer English Language Studies office is located in 119 Wheeler Hall(link is external).

The SELS office is open during July and August, Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm. Feel free to stop by during open hours with questions, concerns, or company.

If you need assistance before the term starts, please contact us via email(link sends e-mail).

If your question is not addressed below, please review Berkeley Summer Sessions’ International Student FAQs(link is external) for additional information.

SELS Payment, Registration, and Visas

What do I do if I want to change my course schedule after I have registered?

Most students can make schedule changes online. UC Berkeley students can make changes via CalCentral. Visiting international students: please visit the Berkeley Summer Sessions Enrollment Changes webpage(link is external).

I have a question about my visa. Whom do I talk to?

The Summer English Language Studies office cannot answer specific questions about visas. After referring to the visa webpage(link is external) on the Berkeley International Office site, direct all visa questions to biosummer@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail).

I have a question about registration and payment for courses. Whom should I contact?

The Summer English Language Studies office cannot answer specific questions about registration or fees.  After referring to the registration webpage(link is external) on the Berkeley Summer Sessions site, direct all registration and fee questions to summer@berkeley.edu.

Can I register in Summer English Language Studies courses if I am under 18 or have not finished high school?

Most of our classes and activities are designed for high school graduates and students over 18 years old. But we also welcome high school students who enroll via the Berkeley Summer Sessions Pre-College Scholars program(link is external).

If you would like to visit California and take summer ESL classes, please see our page for high school students.

If your meet the English language proficiency requirements, you are welcome to register for UC Berkeley’s Pre-Collegiate program(link is external).

Is it acceptable to take a course from another department in addition to one in the Summer English Language Studies program?

Yes, students who wish to enroll in a SELS course and another non-SELS course may do so. Please keep in mind that all UC Berkeley courses are conducted in university-level English, unless noted. The rigor and expectations outside of the Summer English Language Program is intensive and based on English proficiency. The university requires that students demonstrate English language proficiency(link is external) in order to take non-SELS courses.

How much do Summer English Language Studies courses cost?

For international students, courses cost $550 per unit (as of the Summer 2020 term). The courses(link is external) in Summer English Language Studies vary in unit amount, but the course fees for international students (NOT including additional Summer Sessions fees(link is external)) are as follows:

College Writing 5 (3 units): $1650
College Writing 6 (2 units): $1100
College Writing 7 (1 unit): $550
College Writing 8 (4 units): $2200
College Writing 9 (3 units): $1650
College Writing W3 (2 units): $1100

Note: Please refer to the international fee website(link is external) for complete registration fees. The International Service fee will be refunded or removed from your account for 2020, as no visas are required for all-online classes.  For domestic, non-international students, refer to the registration fee website(link is external).

SELS Course Information

How can I get a copy of my transcript?

Summer students must use the transcript service TranscriptsPlus(link is external) to obtain copies of their transcript.  Please refer to this post(link is external) for further details on how to order your UC Berkeley transcript.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please refer to the Office of the Registrar’s webpage(link is external) on transcripts.

Can I register in Summer English Language Studies courses if I am under 18 or have not finished high school?

Yes — if you are over 17, a senior in high school in your country, and have traveled outside of your country before. Please note, however, that you will be in classes with adults!

All high school students MUST register via UC Berkeley’s Pre-Collegiate program(link is external).

Does SELS offer TOEFL or IELTS preparation?

We will be offering a three-week Academic Test Preparation course from late July to mid August.  Please see the course website(link is external).

Should I buy my textbooks before coming to Berkeley? How do I know which ones to buy?

We recommend waiting to buy all of your textbooks until coming to class. Different instructors require different books, and for many classes, you will not know which section you will place into. Also, many instructors create course readers, which are books specifically for the course that contain numerous readings, pictures, and articles required for the class. Readers are class-specific and only available in Berkeley at a local copy shop. Please refer to your course syllabus during the first day of class to find out which readers/textbooks are required.

If I’m just beginning to learn English, can I enroll in a SELS course? Is there a language proficiency requirement?

All Summer English Language Studies courses require a basic understanding of reading, writing, and speaking in the English language. All classes are taught entirely in English. Although there is no language proficiency requirement, students are expected to be able to come to the program with some prior experience with the English language.

Summer English Language Studies does not offer beginning-level English language courses at this time.

What is the homework level like? What should I expect to bring to class?

The homework level varies course by course. A general rule to follow is that courses with higher unit levels (for example the 4-unit College Writing 8 courses) have more homework than do courses with lower unit levels (for example the 1-unit College Writing 7 courses). Also, College Writing 5 and 9 courses all have a fieldwork component that requires an additional 5 hours of homework each week.  Consult your instructor and course syllabus for a complete list of homework assignments. Instructors do keep in mind that it is summer, and try to incorporate class trips and ways to explore California into homework assignments.

Students should expect to bring something to take notes on (i.e. laptop, notebook, etc.) for each class meeting. Students should do all class readings as assigned. Outside of class, instructors may require students to type homework or papers. If students do not have a laptop, there are numerous computer labs(link is external) on the UC Berkeley campus at your disposal.

Is attendance mandatory in my classes? What if I go on a trip and need to miss a class?

Attendance is mandatory in all classes. Because the Summer 2020 session is short, it is crucial that all students attend every single class lecture. Also, students with visas must attend 90% of classes to stay in good status. If there is a conflict or trip you plan going on during a long weekend, please consult your course’s instructor before making any definite purchases or plans so that you can make academic arrangements.

Can I arrive after the session has started?

Attendance is mandatory on the first day of class. If a student is not present during the first class lecture of the Summer 2020 term, they will be dropped from the class. It is the responsibility of all students to coordinate their flights and housing arrangements to be in Berkeley before the date of their first class (Session D: 01 July 2024; Session E: 22 July 2024).

I’ve picked a class, but I am not sure which section I should choose. What do I do?

Enroll in the class you are interested in signing up for, and choose any section you would like. For example, if you would like to sign up for College Writing 9C, there are four different sections. Choose any section; we will move you into the appropriate section on the first day of class.

SELS Living in Berkeley (health insurance, housing, transportation)

Will I need a car in Berkeley? How can I get around?

It is definitely not necessary to have a car in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check out the local public transit options(link is external), such as AC Transit(link is external)BART(link is external)MUNI(link is external), and Amtrak(link is external).  The Bay Area also offers ride-sharing services such as Lyft(link is external) or Uber(link is external). There are so many options in the Bay Area to get around without having to use a car. Many students also decide to purchase bicycles during their time in Berkeley.

If you decide to invest in a bike, please remember to be careful and lock your bike up at all times, as bike theft is common in Berkeley.

In addition, depending on where your housing is during the summer term, all of your classes will be walking distance. Many students also decide to not invest in any car, bike, or other means of transportation and go on foot!

I’m having trouble finding housing for the summer in Berkeley. Where can I go?

Check out the Berkeley Summer Sessions housing website(link is external) to see compiled information on University residence halls, student cooperative housing, and other options. Many students in the Summer English Language Studies program decide to live in International House(link is external), housing that caters to international students from all over the world. If you have housing-specific questions and/or concerns, please contact summer@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail).

Do I need health insurance?

Yes!

This is very important.  According to the Health services center on campus: “All students enrolled in UC Berkeley Summer Sessions may use the Tang Center for medical services. Students will have to pay for services at the time of service and submit a claim to their insurer for reimbursement.”

Some resources: