A Look Back in Time

Background image: Text: Celebrating 40 years of FPF

Headshot of advisor Tara Young

"Chronological time lumbers along, passes slowly, but retrospective time passes in the blink of an eye. FPF was founded in May 1983. Looking back over this stretch, FPF changed a lot, and I never would have thought 40 years would be so important."

—Tara Young, M.A., Director/Department Chair

Pronouns: she/her, they/them

Here we are, 40 years later.

When one reflects on the history of this program, its style, service, location has changed over the years. But what remains steadfast is the commitment, hard work and teamwork for those in this learning community.

FPF was established in 1983 at the request of Chancellor Michael Heyman as a way to better accommodate students admitted to Berkeley for the spring semester and to serve more California residents in the freshmen class. It was then called "Fall Freshmen Program." Since then, FPF has evolved away from a program for "spring admits" to a thriving learning community that gives Berkeley first-year students an edge in their first semester by starting small.

In 2015, UC Berkeley no longer offered spring admission for freshmen. FPF students soon became regular matriculated College of Letters & Science students. In 2016–2017 as Fall Program for Freshmen, it briefly served UCB students in San Francisco in addition to Berkeley. In Fall 2020, FPF moved to 1995 University Ave., just blocks away from main campus. As of January 2022, there is no longer an additional FPF fee. In December 2022, the program was renamed Fall Program for First Semester (FPF).

Today, FPF has matured into a thriving learning community, where great young minds embark on an intellectual journey of a lifetime—at one of the best universities in the world. Our alumni get higher GPAs and graduate at a higher rate than their peers. Why, you ask? Because they get the best possible start.

Berkeley is BIG. FPF is small. This is a real community, forged by the dedication and respect from staff, advisers, instructors, campus partners and—most importantly—our students. To all of you, we are grateful.

Student at Cal Day in front of sign that says "Fall Program for First Semester. THINK BIG. Start small."

Our Graduates Share Their Congratulations!

Berkeley FPF 40th Anniversary Official Video

“I'm so grateful that I was part of the FPF story for 15 years. What a community! I recall all the ways the program evolved during just that span. From a modest-sized program with 450 students and a big heart, to a program that spanned the Bay with more than 1,100, to a fully online program that endured through COVID-19, FPF has always been a place for belonging and becoming. Staff and instructors belong and make incredible contributions. When students join FPF, they are in the process of becoming explorers, dreamers and citizens. The program thrives, serving the campus in ways its original founders may not have even guessed. Few universities have anything like it. UC Berkeley is lucky to have FPF.”

—Ramu Nagappan, Former Assistant Dean

A Look Back on How Far We've Come

FPF students sitting on Berkeley campus
Students walking on Berkeley campus
People attending Cal Day event on Berkeley campus
FPF students in a classroom doing coursework
People attending the Cal Day event on Berkeley campus
An instructor at the front of a classroom with students around him
Students in a classroom studying
Students in a classroom
FPF table at Cal Day event
Students walking on Berkeley campus