You'll have to be letter perfect to get into Berkeley
UC-Berkeley has established a new policy of allowing (it's optional) applicants to submit up to two letters of recommendation: From the Berkeley website:
In April 2015, UC Berkeley adopted a new freshman admission policy. Starting in fall 2015, all applicants to UC Berkeley will now have the opportunity to submit two letters of recommendation. Furthering our belief in the value of holistic review, we ask that those who write letters consider the following concepts when asked to add a letter to the application process:
Academic performance and potential (both overall and in the context of the class)
We presume this change in admissions policy is in part due to the musings of the governor as to whether nowadays he or others in his family could get into Berkeley and pressures from the legislature for more diversity. You may recall that the legislature toyed with putting on the ballot a proposition that would have undone Prop 209, the anti-affirmative action proposition passed by voters in the mid-1990s. Pressure from the Asian community killed that effort.
Although the letter submission is optional, it's hard to imagine that most applicants won't be sending them:
Inside Higher Ed picked up the story from the LA Times today: