Freshman Edge

Coronavirus (COVID-19): The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. As such, UC Berkeley will continue remote delivery of instruction through summer 2021. Freshman Edge will continue to offer a virtual track during Summer Sessions 2021. Please visit our Help Center for more information.

Freshman Edge is a specially designed program for newly admitted freshmen who have been admitted to UC Berkeley for the coming fall. Freshman Edge gives students an early start on their Berkeley experience by offering them the opportunity to

  • take courses that fulfill breadth, prerequisite, and major requirements ahead of most incoming students
  • learn about the campus and its many resources before fall semester through our orientations and workshops
  • build community with their peers through socials and programming events.

Freshman Edge participants not only get a head start on their Berkeley experience, but also save money by paying a more affordable per-unit summer rate for their courses.

Eligible students who have been admitted to UC Berkeley can opt-into Freshman Edge through their CalCentral My Dashboard page Tasks section.

“Being a part of the Freshman Edge Program exposed me to the environment and expectations at Berkeley. It allowed me to meet fellow classmates and connect with them before even stepping on campus. I learned about the different majors and programs that are offered at Berkeley, which helped me in deciding which courses to enroll in and which programs I want to be a part of in the fall. It also helped me get a better idea of what I want to major in. It definitely calmed my nerves about freshman year because I got a head start and it kept me learning throughout the summer, so transitioning to the fall semester was seamless.”

-Freshman Edge Participant

Have a question?


Coronavirus (COVID-19): The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. As such, UC Berkeley will continue remote delivery of instruction through summer 2021. Freshman Edge will continue to offer a virtual track during Summer Sessions 2021. Please visit our Help Center for more information.

Students who opt into Freshman Edge will be able to browse and choose from hundreds of courses in the Berkeley Class Schedule, taking place in any of the summer sessions (A-F). Using the Class Schedule, students can sort summer courses by breadth requirements, session, course level, and much more to narrow down course options. We generally recommend that Freshman students take lower division courses, labeled 1-99 in the class schedule. Courses will be held either in-person, remote, or online. Check out this helpful video for more information on the difference between remote and online courses. Students may enroll in any summer session, however, programming activities and workshops for Freshman Edge students will primarily take place during Sessions C and D. Note: Enrollment in Summer Sessions courses is on a first-come, first-served basis. .

After opting-in to Freshman Edge through your CalCentral Task, your summer enrollment card will be activated within 12 hours. To check if your summer enrollment has been activated, log on to the My Academics page of your CalCentral account and see if the summer term appears. Once the summer term populates, you are able to enroll in courses via CalCentral. We recommend that students enroll in no more than two courses during Freshman Edge. Summer courses are the equivalent of semester length courses, generally condensed into a 6 or 8 week session. Students can expect these courses to run at a quick pace, and cover the same amount of material they would in a full semester. To be eligible for summer financial aid, students are required to enroll in a minimum of six units (typically two courses). Please check with the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office for more information.

When considering which classes to take, it may be helpful to review the general undergraduate graduation requirements. Each college and school within UC Berkeley has its own requirements. Check with your specific college, school, and/or major for further details. If you are enrolling in a course for your intended major, you must take that course for a letter grade.

Academic departments have oversight regarding course availability to freshman students. It is your responsibility to make sure that the course is available for freshman students. If you have any questions about prerequisite verification and/or course availability, please contact the academic department directly.

Once you have opted into the Freshman Edge program, go to the Cal Student Store website and follow the appropriate links for the summer term and courses in which you are enrolled to access a list of both required and recommended books for your class/es. Information regarding textbooks for your summer courses can also be found by clicking on the course title in the My Academics tab of your CalCentral account.

“Freshman Edge gave me a headstart on attending classes at Cal and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity! I definitely feel a lot more comfortable transitioning into my first semester now that I've attended a class through Freshman Edge.”

-Freshman Edge Participant

College of Engineering students: It is strongly recommended that College of Engineering students interested in Freshman Edge consult with their ESS Adviser before registering for Freshman Edge.


Online Courses Available to Freshmen:

Letters & Science W1 – Exploring the Liberal Arts

Exploring the Liberal Arts is a 2-unit online course for newly admitted freshmen, particularly those who are excited to be at UC Berkeley but uncertain of where to start their explorations. Taking L&S W1 in the summer will give you the best possible start on your education, and help you make the most of your four years at Berkeley.

Letters & Science C12 – The Berkeley Changemaker™: A Discovery Experience

At UC Berkeley, you are encouraged to develop your passions through discovery projects that deepen your learning, better the world, and launch your future. This 2-unit online course is designed to help incoming freshmen start this journey.

You can take one or both of these courses for free! Newly admitted freshmen who complete one or both course(s) with a “Pass” grade will receive a credit on their account that covers all fees associated with the course. Note that the fees may temporarily appear on your account before the credit has been applied. Students who do not receive a “Pass” grade will see the credit removed from their accounts.

Plus! Newly admitted freshmen who pass either of these courses will also receive a free unit of tuition toward a class or program of their choice during summer 2022. Note that students can earn a maximum of one free unit of tuition. If students are enrolled in both L&SW1 and L&S C12, they will only be eligible for one free unit in summer 2022 upon receiving a passing grade.


Coronavirus (COVID-19): The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. As such, UC Berkeley will continue remote delivery of instruction through summer 2021. Freshman Edge will continue to offer a virtual track during Summer Sessions 2021. Please visit our Help Center for more information.

In addition to engaging in academic study, Freshman Edge is a great opportunity for new Berkeley students to develop a better understanding of various campus resources ahead of most students and get a head start on building their Berkeley community. The program offers online pre-program and welcome webinars designed to orient students, provide academic and mental health resources, access academic advising and share tips on course selection. Participants also have access to a series of online workshops designed to familiarize students with campus resources and opportunities, and a variety of virtual socials where students can connect with their peers and program alumni.

“I loved getting a head start at Cal academically while also having an opportunity to meet and connect with fellow students. Freshman Edge helped me get a sense for the level of academic rigor and simultaneously make a few friends that I can count on in future classes!”

-Freshman Edge Participant


Coronavirus (COVID-19): The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. As such, UC Berkeley will continue remote delivery of instruction through summer 2021. Freshman Edge will continue to offer a virtual track during Summer Sessions 2021. Please visit our Help Center for more information.

University Housing

Nothing compares to living on campus to help you fully experience University life. You will have the option of living in Blackwell Hall or your own accommodations during summer. Space in Blackwell Hall is being held especially for Freshman Edge students, but you must apply for housing individually through the online Summer Sessions Housing Application Portal. Because space is limited, we recommend that you apply for housing early in order to ensure the best chance to secure a housing offer.

Blackwell Hall offers double-occupancy rooms in a large, secure housing complex conveniently located just one block from campus. The entire building is equipped with wireless internet and amenities, including central bathrooms and lounges on every floor, an Academic Center, Fitness Center, and a main lounge with comfortable furnishings for relaxing. Live-in Residential Life staff will also provide community development activities and social programs.

Your housing package includes a robust meal plan, and dining is offered nearby at the Cafe 3 dining hall facility featuring all-you-care-to-eat meals with a wide variety of cuisines. The meal points provided with your Summer Sessions Housing meal plan may also be used to purchase a la carte food items at any open retail location on campus.

You may find out more about the residence halls, including when and how to reserve a space, move-in dates, and cost at Summer Sessions housing.

International House

International House (I-House) is located in the southeast foothills of the Berkeley campus. It is within walking distance of the central campus classrooms and libraries, recreational facilities, and Berkeley commercial areas. You will live with a diverse group of residents, including graduate students, teachers, visiting scholars, and exchange students from around the world.

I-House provides a variety of areas for work and recreation, including a library and computer center. There are study lounges on every floor, a dining commons, and a small café.

Other Housing Options

For information about other housing options, including off-campus opportunities, visit the University Housing website for information about Cal Rentals, and the Berkeley Student Cooperative to explore co-ops.


Summer housing is offered through the Summer Sessions Housing Office, not through the Freshman Edge program. Please refer all questions regarding housing to Summer Sessions Housing. Read FAQs about applying for Summer Housing as a Freshman/Transfer Edge student.


Freshman Edge students pay UC Berkeley undergraduate tuition of $419 per unit. There are no registration fees or program fees, and there are no out-of-state or international fees for participants of Freshman Edge.

In addition, all UC students pay a one-time-only campus fee of $352, which covers the cost of ASUC and other student services.

All UC students not registered on the Berkeley campus for Spring 2020 also pay $40 for the 2020 Class Pass Transit Fee, which allows free access to all AC Transit buses and campus shuttles.

You do not pay at the time that you apply for the program. You will receive a bill for your summer fees and a second bill for your fall fees that will appear on your Cal Central My Finances page under Billing Summary.

For more information about fees and the Summer Sessions refund policy, please go to our Fees and/or Refund Policy page.

Financial aid is available for eligible students. Students must submit BOTH the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 FAFSA or the California Dream Act application to determine financial aid eligibility for Summer 2021. Visit Financial Aid for additional details.

Fees are subject to change.

Please Note: Eligible students that opt-in to Freshman Edge must remain matriculated at Berkeley to be eligible for the UC tuition and fee rates. If there is a change to your admission status, please contact the Office of the Registrar & Office of Undergraduate Admissions to understand how this may impact your summer tuition and fees, as well as other implications.

Apply for Financial Aid

To apply for financial aid, you will need to complete both the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no later than June 1, 2021, and include UC Berkeley's federal school code (001312) on the applications. Dream Act students should complete both the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 California Dream Act Application no later than June 1, 2021 and include UC Berkeley's federal school code (001312) on the applications.

Note: We strongly encourage families to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to ensure the accuracy of your application information. Please visit Financial Aid for more information.

To Apply for Summer Aid:

  1. Complete the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 FAFSA or Dream Act Application no later than June 1, 2021. Completing the FAFSA or Dream Act Application, along with your summer enrollment, allows the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office to determine your aid eligibility for the summer term on the UC Berkeley campus.

  2. Enroll in a minimum of six units for summer.

  3. Login to Cal Central (CalNet ID required) two to three business days after enrolling in your courses. Under My Finances, select 2020-2021 from the drop-down menu under Financial Aid and Scholarships and click View Awards.

  4. Review your Communications and Tasks to ensure that we have received your 2020-2021 FAFSA or Dream Act Application and that you have submitted all required documents.

  5. You can also review your financial aid awards and Cost of Attendance for summer on this page as well.