Get a personal mentor (and a unit!) with Berkeley Connect

January 11, 2022

Two students talking with Berkeley Connect mentorFinding mentorship at Cal can seem daunting, but there are amazing opportunities at Berkeley that make finding mentorship approachable to everyone! Michele Rabkin from the Berkeley Connect program helped us learn more about a program that helps you find both mentorship and community at Cal.

What is Berkeley Connect?

Berkeley Connect is a mentoring program that is offered as a one-unit, Pass/Not Pass course (98BC or 198BC) every semester. When you enroll, you are matched with a graduate student who becomes your personal mentor for the semester. You're also placed in a small group with other students who share your academic interests. During the semester, you meet with your mentor for one-on-one conversations, participate in small-group discussions led by your mentor, attend special events that features professors and alums, and go on excursions to explore campus resources.

I'm nervous about putting myself out there...

Julie Marco is a new junior transfer who participated in Berkeley Connect Integrative Biology in Fall 2021. She says,

“In Berkeley Connect, I practiced coming out of my shell and speaking out in a group, because it felt like a safe space. And when I talked with my mentor, I got insights about managing coursework or navigating campus resources that I never would have found on my own.”

Seniors Michael Grinder and Julia Kolman are both English majors who participated in Berkeley Connect English in Fall 2021. Since they transferred to UC Berkeley in 2020, this was their first semester attending classes on the Berkeley campus. Michael says,

“Through Berkeley Connect I met a group of students who felt exactly like I did—that was a big shift. The fear that I didn’t belong here was normalized. Berkeley Connect feels like a safe space where you can be yourself. Even little things like getting that sticker that said I belong here helped a lot!” 

Julia Kolman says,

“My Berkeley Connect mentor really helped with the ‘imposter syndrome’ I was feeling. He gave me a much-needed confidence boost, particularly now when I am applying to graduate school. First I went to see him in office hours, and then I started going to all my professors’ office hours!”

If my major isn't listed, can I get something out of this experience?

Berkeley Connect is open to all undergraduates, regardless of major or year. The program is offered through 15 different academic departments; you can enroll through whichever one best aligns with your interests. Many students enroll through departments outside their majors and still benefit from the personalized mentoring and community-building.

Is there anything else you wished students knew about Berkeley Connect?

At the end of every semester, over 90% of enrolled students report that participating in Berkeley Connect increased their sense of belonging and confidence that they can succeed at UC Berkeley. All students are warmly invited to join the Berkeley Connect community; the program motto is “You belong here.”


Spending a semester with Berkeley Connect will not only give you a welcoming way to find mentorship and community at Cal, it also adds to your unit count! That's a great deal from where we sit.

Check out the Berkeley Connect website to learn more about the program and consider adding it to your next semester schedule. 

Back to Discover Opportunities and Connect on Campus

Related articles and media