FPF has a long 41-year history.

FPF was established in 1983 at the request of Chancellor Michael Heyman. The purpose was 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 from a program for "spring admits" to a thriving learning community. The program gives Berkeley first-years an edge by starting small. In 2015, UC Berkeley no longer offered spring admission for freshmen. 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 Avenue in Berkeley. As of Jan 2022, there is no longer an additional FPF fee.

In December 2022, the program was renamed Fall Program for First Semester (FPF).

Fall Program for First Semester continues as a one of a kind "joint venture" at Berkeley.

FPF is sponsored by UC Berkeley Extension and the College of Letters & Science. It is open to all incoming first-years admitted to Berkeley's College of Letters & Science, including out-of-state and international students. All Berkeley first-year students admitted to the College of Letters & Science for the fall semester are eligible to choose FPF.

FPF students are regular, full-time matriculated​ UC Berkeley L&S students. They enjoy all of the same resources as their classmates on the main campus. They get the added plus of starting their academic career in a small community within the larger university.