So you got into UC Berkeley, now what?

Edwin Cho/Staff
Edwin Cho/File

If you thought your days of wading through confusing websites and navigating bureaucracies were over, then you’re wrong. You managed to successfully complete the application process, and you got accepted to attend UC Berkeley. Now what?

Because UC Berkeley is such a large school, there’s not a lot of hand-holding that goes on here. If you enjoy being coddled, then this isn’t the place for you. But if you want to come out of college being an independent, go-getter kind of a person, then UC Berkeley will absolutely help you get there. The campus takes no time getting you into the swing of things, and you’ll learn early on how to stay on top of deadlines and utilize the resources available.

The first thing you’ll want to do when you decide to attend UC Berkeley is submit your SIR. The SIR is your statement of intent to register, which notifies the university that you’ll be attending come fall, or spring if you were admitted for that term. The deadline to submit your SIR for incoming freshmen is May 1, and for incoming transfer students, it’s June 1.

If you plan to receive financial aid, you can view your financial aid offer for incoming freshmen March 30 and for incoming transfers May 1. Understanding the world of financial aid can be time-consuming and difficult, but knowing the resources available to you and the amount of aid you’ll receive are good places to start.

For the class of 2020, the system will work a bit differently than it has in the past. A new information system is being rolled out just for you, newly admitted students! The new system will be streamlined through CalCentral, something that already exists but will be revamped for the coming year. CalCentral will enable newly admitted and returning students to access everything through one site. Rather than having to clutter up your computer with a million tabs, you’ll be able to access your admissions, enrollment, financial aid, course approval, schedule building, academic planning, advising and more all on one site. Thank your lucky stars that you’ll never understand just how bad Tele-BEARS is.

Once you’re fully committed to UC Berkeley, you’ll want to rank your housing options. Because housing is not guaranteed this coming year, make sure you’re proactive. The housing application deadline is due May 7 for incoming freshman and June 7 for incoming transfers. Be sure to get the application in as soon as possible — it goes live April 8. And remember to rank all housing choices in the order you’d like them. Don’t forget: You need to accept your housing offer. The offer will be made available to freshmen in early June and transfers in late June or early July. As long as you apply by the deadline, your housing will be prioritized.

With all the deadlines, it can be easy to forget about the fun stuff. Be sure to register for CalSO, a two-day orientation that happens over the summer. For students admitted for the fall, you can attend CalSO from June 2 until July 14. Different colleges have different CalSO dates, however, so be sure to check the website for more information about when you should attend. CalSO is a great opportunity to meet fellow students and become oriented with the UC Berkeley campus and surrounding city.

While at CalSO, you’ll learn how to register for some of your fall 2016 classes. It’s invaluable to have someone else helping you through the process, especially when it’s your first time trying to register for classes. Once you understand the system, you’ll find it’s much easier to register on your own. Be sure you’re aware of when the date is to register for the second phase of your classes.

Just remember, there’s a lot to navigate when you first get to UC Berkeley. Just stay on top of important dates and you’ll come out on top! By attending a big school, you’re putting yourself in an ever-exciting environment. You’re also giving yourself a community. The students are what make the school, so don’t be afraid to reach out to current and past students you might know whenever you can. They’ve been through what you’re trying to figure out before, so they’ll be more than happy to offer you advice and spread the UC Berkeley love. Go Bears!

Rachel Feder is the blog editor. Contact Rachel Feder at [email protected].