Hello everyone. Transfer season is just right around the corner, and I thought I'd share few suggestions which might be useful for you guys.
Just a few things about me: Transfered to UC Berkeley last year as an English major with a high GPA and lots of extracurricular activities. I was accepted to every institution that I applied to: UCI, UCLA, UCB, UCD, USC.
And here are few things that you might know besides the general tips you can find online.
1. The UC system has its own "syllabus" of the EXACT words and terms it wants to see in your personal statements. Please go to your transfer center and request it. If the school does not have one, please check other institutions. This paper states concepts like "determination," "resourcefulness," etc bolded to show you the institutions' expectations of the personal statements.
2. Please write every extracurricular activities you did on the application (even if the duration of the project is was not long). The big reason why extracurricular activities are important is that UC institutions will look at students who excelled in those areas and send exclusive invitations to students to apply for their undergraduate research programs and scholarships. This is what happened to me. Please please put down everything you can.
3. Regardless of what your professors and advisors tell you guys, there are thing that you will not know until you transfer. For example, UCB has interdisciplinary departments, such as Rhetoric, Comparative Literature, and Gender & Women studies for all you continental philosophy and critical theory aficionados. Make sure that before and after you get accepted, you try to scrutinize every aspect of the institution you wish to get into.
4. Going back to number 2, undergraduate research programs are essential for future graduate student hopefuls. If you can land yourself into one of these programs, you will have academic/emotional support for the rest of your undergraduate career. This is tremendously important, mostly because grad schools exactly look whether or not undergraduates did research. Try to look into these programs before you guys transfer. Scholarships like Alumni Association provide similar advantages in their package. (Did I forget to mention that undergraduate research pays at least $4,000?)
5. You've heard this one a number of times already, but please, please apply to as many institutions as possible. One common mistake is either that students don't think they can get in or that they don't think they can afford it - associating the prestige of the institution to its monetary aspects. THE LATTER IS NOT TRUE. In fact, if you have Fafsa, you will find that UC Berkeley is actually cheaper than other institutions.
6. This is just for you UC Berkeley hopefuls who are parents or returning students: UC Berkeley is HUGE on student-parents and returning students (We accept quite a lot of them. In fact, we have separate housing for student-parents). It's really weird, but for some reason, UCB has tremendous support and aid for these types of students.
7. This is probably my last suggestion: Apply to all the scholarships you can that are from your CC. This is extremely important. The common misconception is that the less scholarships you have the more people will pity you and award you one. THIS IS NOT TRUE; IT'S THE OPPOSITE. Scholarships work in this way: the more you get, the more they will award you. This is same for undergraduate research programs: the more scholarships you earn, the more the program coordinators will look favorably toward you. Please apply to as many as you can, so that you can write these down in your other scholarship applications.
Thank you for reading! I wish you all good luck. Please message me if you have any other questions.