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## Main Question or Discussion Point

It is still a considerable ways off from the time I'll be applying, but I'm trying to get an idea of what grad programs are realistic for me. My primary disadvantage is that I started at community college, and my first course there was a high-school level course (intermediate algebra).

I progressed very quickly, cumulative 3.93/4.00 GPA, transferred to UC Berkeley. My first semester at Berkeley I took two honors courses and one non-honors, all upper division, math courses (analysis, linear algebra, abstract algebra). I got an A+ in one of the honors, and A's in the other two classes. This semester I am in a second abstract algebra course (Galois theory, mostly), algebraic topology, set theory, and an independent study course. At this point in the semester, I am very comfortable with the material and with my performance: I have basically the highest grades in these classes so far. Over the summer and into fall I've made arrangements to work with a professor on a senior thesis. I should be able to get decent letters of recommendation, at least relative to the condition that I've been here only a short, short time. In the fall I plan also to take my first graduate class, algebra.

So, I've come to Berkeley, which is supposedly a relatively 'tough' school, and I'm able to do hold my own quite well here. The problem is, starting at community college is terrible, and I don't know that these grad schools will recognize how quickly I've progressed (from intermediate algebra to perfect grades in tough courses at Berkeley). The other thing that graduate schools might not recognize is how hard I work. Though I don't often have trouble, I always study as thoroughly as I can to try to understand the subject inside and out. I also study with other people who are not taking the same classes as I am to get exposed to more material. These things don't always come through on a transcript and aren't always easy to work into a statement without sounding big-headed.

Also, I've worked part time as a tutor for the past two years. I'm hoping to get enough financial assistance to be able to cut back or stop entirely during my senior year, but we'll see about that.

What programs are realistic in my case? Were any of you accepted after starting at community college? Should I just go to Cal State San Marcos and call it a day? I wish I had four years at Berkeley so that I could have a transcript that compares to my peers!

EDIT: Note, I'll be applying NEXT year, (that is, 8 months from now), for admission Fall 2009. This gives me a year and a half of Berkeley before grad schools reject me.

I progressed very quickly, cumulative 3.93/4.00 GPA, transferred to UC Berkeley. My first semester at Berkeley I took two honors courses and one non-honors, all upper division, math courses (analysis, linear algebra, abstract algebra). I got an A+ in one of the honors, and A's in the other two classes. This semester I am in a second abstract algebra course (Galois theory, mostly), algebraic topology, set theory, and an independent study course. At this point in the semester, I am very comfortable with the material and with my performance: I have basically the highest grades in these classes so far. Over the summer and into fall I've made arrangements to work with a professor on a senior thesis. I should be able to get decent letters of recommendation, at least relative to the condition that I've been here only a short, short time. In the fall I plan also to take my first graduate class, algebra.

So, I've come to Berkeley, which is supposedly a relatively 'tough' school, and I'm able to do hold my own quite well here. The problem is, starting at community college is terrible, and I don't know that these grad schools will recognize how quickly I've progressed (from intermediate algebra to perfect grades in tough courses at Berkeley). The other thing that graduate schools might not recognize is how hard I work. Though I don't often have trouble, I always study as thoroughly as I can to try to understand the subject inside and out. I also study with other people who are not taking the same classes as I am to get exposed to more material. These things don't always come through on a transcript and aren't always easy to work into a statement without sounding big-headed.

Also, I've worked part time as a tutor for the past two years. I'm hoping to get enough financial assistance to be able to cut back or stop entirely during my senior year, but we'll see about that.

What programs are realistic in my case? Were any of you accepted after starting at community college? Should I just go to Cal State San Marcos and call it a day? I wish I had four years at Berkeley so that I could have a transcript that compares to my peers!

EDIT: Note, I'll be applying NEXT year, (that is, 8 months from now), for admission Fall 2009. This gives me a year and a half of Berkeley before grad schools reject me.