College Foundations Program

Berkeley-Boosted, College-Bound

Important Dates

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early application deadline

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final application deadline

Scholarship Application Deadline

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Best Suited For

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Current high school students are encouraged to apply for Summer Sessions


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See full list of costs

English Proficiency Requirements

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See the full requirements

Length of Study

Fall Term: 4 months

Fall and Spring Terms: 8 months

Pace of Study

Full-time, Monday-Friday, approximately 20 hours per week

Welcome to the vibrant university town of Berkeley, California! As part of the College Foundations Program (CFP) you'll join other international high school graduates preparing for university study.

Attend college-level courses where you'll build English skills and become familiar with typical U.S. university classroom discussions and assignments. Boost your TOEFL and SAT scores through test preparation and get personal college admissions advising.

Recent high school graduates are encouraged to apply for the fall term or a full academic year (spring and fall), sometimes called a "gap year." Either way, you'll receive support from our dedicated staff—from the application process and throughout your time with us.

Your Studies

You'll take classes near the UC Berkeley campus. Study alongside fellow students who are also preparing to attend university. You receive individualized attention and guidance from your instructors, who hold advanced degrees from UC Berkeley and other top-ranked universities. You also get personal college admissions advising to help you identify the best schools for you and to ensure success once you begin your university studies. You can also connect with current UC Berkeley students to get insight on the college application process, as well as navigating Berkeley and U.S. culture.

Making the investment to participate in CFP leads to positive results—CFP graduates have been accepted to numerous prestigious public and private universities.

Beyond the Classroom

When you first arrive in Berkeley, you'll take part in a new-student orientation where you'll meet program staff, your fellow students, and learn more about the area and what to expect. You'll live with or near your classmates, and when not in class you have the option to attend workshops on preparing for college life as well as take part in cultural activities and field trips. The city of Berkeley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area offer museums, cafes, parks, music and more to fill your weekends while introducing you to American culture. Did you know UC Berkeley has also been named one of the best colleges for food in America? Eat lunch with your classmates at the nation's first certified organic kitchen on campus that offers delicious options for everyone, including students with special dietary needs. Or meet with friends for dinner at one of Berkeley's many excellent restaurants. Finally, as the program comes to an end, celebrate your accomplishment with other CFP students, instructors and staff at a closing reception.

Get Started on your College Foundation Program application

Program Overview

Duration of Study:

15 weeks each for fall and spring terms

Pace of study:

Full-time, Monday–Friday, 20 hours per week


Recent high school graduates with a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

If you have not yet completed high school, we encourage you to apply to the Summer Sessions Program

Scores must be from the past two years. In some cases, the English-proficiency exam can be waived. Contact us with questions.


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Costs include:

  • Immigration support
  • Orientation to Berkeley
  • U.S. medical insurance
  • Housing advice and support
  • Personal academic advising
  • Review of college application essays
  • Computer lab access
  • UC Berkeley library access
  • UC Berkeley Recreational Sports Facility access
  • Social activities

Cost does not include visa fees, textbooks, housing costs or travel expenses.

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Applicants must submit official evidence of English-language proficiency. Sometimes exceptions to this requirement are made. Please note that the submission of language proficiency scores or other forms of verification does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

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English Proficiency Requirement Exceptions

University study in a country where English is the primary language spoken

If you have completed at least one year of university study in a country where English is the primary language, you can request a waiver.

To do so, when you apply online, upload a letter explaining that English is the primary and official language spoken in your country and include a website or other supporting documentation (e.g., publications or website for government department, ministry, bureau, secretariat or directorate-general) for our verification purposes.

To do so, when you apply online, upload a letter explaining that English is the primary and official language spoken in your country and include a website or other supporting documentation (e.g., publications or website for government department, ministry, bureau, secretariat or directorate-general) for our verification purposes.

One year of full-time, college-level English instruction

If you were taught in English for at least one year, full-time at the undergraduate or graduate level, you can request a waiver.

Your transcript should reflect the coursework that you completed in English. If this is not clearly indicated on your transcript, a supporting letter from your university will need to be submitted in addition to your complete transcripts.


You can request a language proficiency interview if you meet one of these minimum score requirements: TOEFL 85, IELTS 6.5 or TOEIC 700. If you are not admitted to {{ program.midName || }}, you may be admitted to the BGA-Start Program.

If you would like to request an interview, please state your request in the online application and in your personal statement.

BGA Start English Proficiency Requirements

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Questions? Email


Golden Bear Center
1995 University Ave., Suite 200
Berkeley, CA 94704

Program Dates:

Start and End Dates Application Deadline *

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* There are no CFP spring-only admissions but you may start in the fall and continue your study in the spring.

Blue sky and green grass and trees frame on-campus housing

Where You'll Live

CFP students live with local English-speaking families in homestays located in Berkeley, San Francisco, and nearby areas. Homestays provide a full cultural immersion experience as well as the structure of a family unit. Amenities include meal options, Wi-Fi, laundry, use of common areas and daily opportunities to practice English language skills. Host families are screened regularly.

In addition to receiving dedicated program and housing support, CFP students also participate in regular group social activities.