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Updated: Oct 15, 2020

Q: What makes you stand out from other students when you applied to UC Berkeley as a transfer student?

ALYSON ISAACS: As an applicant, you always want to make something stand out, especially when you plan to transfer to UC Berkeley where everyone's GPA is pretty much the same. It came down to the actual curricular in terms of trying to write a resume, how I want to tell my story and what I want to include in my application letters. I think my work experience helped me in my application.

ASUKA GAI: For my major, in EECS, if you really want to stand out, you need to let UC Berkeley know that you are well-prepared because everyone’s GPA is really high here. I highly recommend two courses in college that are equivalent to CS61 A&B. So if you finished those two courses before you transfer, that will increase your rate to get into this major at UC Berkeley. You can just find them on the website. What I did is that I finished all the 61 series before I transferred, that really helped me out.

NICHOLAS SHAFER: I will say it’s more about finding the right fit for you. I want to go more about untraditional experience because I think most community college students don’t realize that they are have. I think it’s really important to have your untraditional experience when you fill your application. The society might tell you that those experiences are not really matter, but those actually are because those experiences help you more than anything else. And as long as you can put that to your application and capitalize that when you just approach the application. It’s really important.

JOANNA XUE: You are competing with a lot of other transfer students. But at the same time, as a transfer student, you have more time to refine your craft and to explore what you really wanna study.

Q: Name two or three experiences you feel that is most important to you as a transfer student. And why would those be?

ASUKA GAI: I did some training for coding and algorithms to find an internship. And I interned in a smartphone company last summer, I think that is the best thing I would recommend. The second one is leadership. I mentioned that I was the president of the math club at Foothill college, and I held a series of training lectures for math competitions. Besides, our math team was ranked in top 20 nationally. I think that makes a lot of difference. The third thing I would recommend is being more personal. To show your personality in your essay by what you have been through rather than a mass guy.

NICHOLAS SHAFER: I think it is that if you have the opportunity to study abroad, do it. By the time you are at a four year school, something like studying abroad feels very difficult. Especially if you are interested in international career, languages, or anything International affairs. Along that point, I would also say feel free to take a gap year when you are in community college. There is not a rush. For example, you can get a one year work visa anywhere in the commonwealth, and work weird jobs over there. While that might not feel like a part of a long term plan, it is a part of a long personal plan. That kind of thing will keep you up, and also makes a more interesting application.

JOANNA XUE: Just be adventurous and be able to adapt, be open to new experiences. During my time in community college, I was involved with things on campus that had nothing to do with my major at all. Even if you are uncomfortable or unsure of yourself, I would suggest just go ahead and take those opportunities. These kinds of small experiences outside of academics really shapes you.

Q: What is one thing you could have done to make your transfer application process easier if you had to think about it again.

ALYSON ISAACS: There’s one thing that I did that helped me a lot was I had my peers and my professors look over my application. If you just write your application along, you are not able to see things from an outside perspective.

ASUKA GAI: I actually spent two and half years in community college in order to get into Berkeley. One and half years is enough to finish the regular courses. But I spent an additional year taking more classes to find my interest. If I would choose, I will try to find my interest earlier, and start learning professional courses earlier.

JOANNA XUE: My advice is a little more specific because I know the admissions is coming up. Please plan out your personal statements early. Make sure to tell your story, make sure to answer the question. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

NICHOLAS SHAFER: I would say be clear about where you are going. Make sure that you get professional help whether that is your academic advisor or contact the school you are interested in.

Q: Why did you choose to transfer to UC Berkeley? How is your experience as a UC Berkeley student now? What is your favorite thing about UC Berkeley?

JOANNA XUE: I was actually genuinely very surprised when I was accepted because it was not my first choice. I also got accepted to UCLA and I was highly considering going to UCLA because it is a more familiar territory. But I realized I only have two years at university, that’s really short. Then I decide to go to that place to experience new things. One thing I love about UC Berkeley is the student body. A lot of us are really involved in our own ways on campus.

ALYSON ISAACS: I transferred to UC Berkeley because it was so entrepreneurial. I loved how everyone is very much forward thinking. UC Berkeley is the hub of such innovations.

NICHOLAS SHAFER: At UC Berkeley, I would say being the dumbest person in the room is the best place for growth. However, the reality is if you are able to get into the environment like that, you deserve to be there.

ASUKA GAI: I choose Berkeley because it has the best CS department in all of the UCs. It has lots of resources for EECS majors such as career fair, 5-year master program. The difference between community college and university is that courses are harder in Berkeley and I actually repeated some courses in Berkeley even though I have taken those in community college because I want to build a better foundation for my upper division classes.

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