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Schools Looking to enhance my transition from a community college

  1. Mar 20, 2016 #1
    Hi everybody!

    I'm currently attending a community college in California and have a goal set to transfer to UC Berkeley. My current academic progress is a second semester of Chemistry and Trigonometry, so I'm quite a ways away from transferring (2018 is the plan). I'm looking into programs, however I had a few questions about how to direct my focus:

    Is searching for some sort of mentorship worth it at this level of understanding, and how should I go about that?

    Do undergrad students working on lower division courses ever get published? If so, would it be beneficial to try to get published to enhance my education experience? In addition, how do students normally get opportunities in a lab to get published?

    I'm interested in spending some free time learning more about Physics or math beyond my course schedule. Are there any good books that cover the material at my math level that might help me in my future classes?

    I'm not sure if I'm asking the right questions in the first place, so I'm completely open to any advice!
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2016 #2


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    See if its possible to enroll in a class or two at your local state school, particularly in math/physics. I went the community college route and was able to start calculus at a state college while finishing up my associates through some type of partnership they had. The cost of the class was even the same as the price it was at the community college. Classes at 4 year schools will generally be more rigorous and better prepare you going forward.
  4. Mar 21, 2016 #3
    I was definitely thinking about taking a summer course or two at a university near me. Are there any programs that you would recommend to get involved with?
  5. Mar 21, 2016 #4


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    I don't know about specific programs... they should be on your colleges website somewhere. These partnerships can be in obscure corners of websites so look carefully.
  6. Mar 22, 2016 #5


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    Have you checked out assist.org? UCB has very specific requirements for transfer students to meet. If you don't, your application will find the trash bin rather quickly. Please follow the instructions for your major interest on that website.

    Do undergrads ever get published? Yes. Is it common? No. Do CCC student ever get published? I've never heard of one, but maybe. You're not quite yet to the point in which you should even being worrying about this.

    You should study the mathematics you're currently taking! You need to go into calculus or pre-calculus with the best possible foundation in the material you're studying now. Don't worry about self studying side topics at this point.

    To help with UCB the best thing you can do is transfer with a 4.0 and very few withdrawals. As you get closer to transfer you can then start studying courses you've already covered in a more in depth nature to prepare for upper division courses there.
  7. Mar 23, 2016 #6


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    I did an internship while I was in community college and I was able to make enough valuable contributions to the research and manuscript to earn co-authorship in the publication; however, I was not accepted into UCB. My GPA was "okay" at 3.57 at the time of the application, and I had completed all the (UCB) required courses that were listed on the assist website.

    A large group of friends and I were accepted into many of the UCs from our community college. What I noticed about the people who were accepted into UCB during our year was that they had very competitive GPAs (at least a 3.8). I have to admit that it "looked" like almost nothing else mattered. This is not to say that it wasn't well-deserved (all of us were very competitive candidates), but there was a very strong correlation between UCB admittance and GPA.
  8. Mar 24, 2016 #7
    Did you know anyone who had a good GPA and wasn't accepted? I'm also curious: what internship did you do if you don't mind me asking? I can't for the life of me find valuable internships or REUs for CC students.
  9. Mar 24, 2016 #8


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    It was at one of the NASA locations. The program I was a part of no longer exists at that location (USRA) and everyone has to apply through their "One Stop Shopping Initiative" (OSSI) website now; however, OSSI doesn't disqualify community college students. If I were in your shoes, then I would look at the most local one or location you'd be willing to work at, and see what kind of positions they have and skills they are looking for. You could cater your coursework around doing what you want to do, or look into hobbies that might enhance your application. The work I did was nanotechnology related.

    Another program, CCI, might be worth looking into. It's specifically for community college students working at a Dept. of Energy National Laboratory; SULI also offers this, but it's not specific for community college... it doesn't disqualify you and it's worth applying anyways. If they don't have a list of the projects, then try looking for past participants and their presentations or papers they wrote. I've done SULI and met a lot of the students participating in CCI and REUs, and even visiting students from other countries (this was surprising because the NASA location I worked at had some stringent rules with foreigners).

    Don't limit yourself to government work too... I spend hours on Indeed looking at positions and skills they look for in the area of my interest. I cater my coursework every year just like preparing your Resume for a position, and I apply for many positions. Even though I am qualified for most, I only ever get a few to call back. I also work my universities in two positions. You could check out local universities and see what kind of research they are doing, e-mail these professors, and ask if they are willing to take in entry-level workers.

    I hope this helps!


    Yes: I knew of one student with an excellent GPA, took all the requirements, first generation to attend a university, etc. had extra curricular and did a lot of interesting work, but he wasn't accepted. I was baffled among my friends. He was the only one I knew of with such promising qualification, but was not accepted into UCB; however, he is doing really well at the university he chose to attend anyways.
  10. Mar 24, 2016 #9
    Yes, that helps enormously! What level of coursework had you completed when you applied? I've been told a lot that I should wait until I start taking Calculus courses before I seriously delve into REUs, however I'm very eager to start doing research as soon as I can! Thanks again, I'm going to look into all of those programs.
  11. Mar 24, 2016 #10


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    Ah, I did complete a lot of the mathematics courses by the time I applied, and my mathematics professor wrote me the letter of recommendation. I was just finishing multivariable calculus and general physics I at that time; I also took two programming courses, and had finished all of the English and writing courses required for many of the UCs. I finished community college with an A.S. in Mathematics, and I was 2 classes shy of a Chemistry one, 3 classes shy of Engineering, and would have had a Physics one had they not discontinued it. While the A.S. is a nice little milestone, it wasn't worth staying another year for those two additional degrees.

    If I could go back, then I would recommend taking those professional courses that set people up with certificates in machine shops or welding (for people who want to work in a fabrication shop but don't want to become mechanical engineers) or electronic systems (for people who want to be electricians but don't want to be electrical engineers), etc... This is because it'll give you hands on experience very quick, and that could be your competitive edge compared to university students who have already been introduced to the theory. The Physics and Chemistry courses at my community college had laboratory components to it as well, and even the "easier" skills like titration or buffering solutions could be useful on a resume should you want to work in a laboratory... again, take a look at the positions you want and see what you need to learn or what you should be "selling" to them on your resume and cover letter.
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