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What schools would accept...

  1. Aug 3, 2015 #1
    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post on PhysicsForums. I am 23 years old and have graduated a CC with a 3.9 GPA. I am a Math Major and yes I have researched how the job prospects are for math majors. I am Hispanic and I am from Salinas Valley. I have been around gangs all my life, my dad, cousins, uncles and friends are all affiliated with/in gangs. I plan on applying to Cal-Poly, UC Berkley and Stanford this upcoming year. I guess I'm just looking for advice on applying to any of those 3 schools or advice in general. I have a year a couple months before applications are needed to be filled in. I am the only member in my family to go to a University. As a result, I missed last years deadline for transferring applicants because I am self-learning my way through this whole process.

    Any advice would be appreciated

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2015 #2
    UC Berkeley actually has a reasonable acceptance of transfers (~20-25%). Stanford is low (~1-5%). Don't know about Poly. I just transferred to a top 50 school for physics successfully and here's my 2 cents.

    First step in any of this is to call or email the schools admissions office or transfer counseling center and talk to each of the schools you want to apply to. I'd start with Berkeley, since I know they have a large group of people in those departments. May be hard to get a hold of them now since fall's about to start, but the sooner you ask questions the better off you'll be.

    With a 3.9 you're more in the running for these schools than most others. Your course rigor is just as important as your high GPA, so if you've taken Diff Eq or similarly tiered classes that will also look good with a 3.9.

    Your life experience is what should stand out on your essays. I had 4 years of experience as a nurse's aide and RN and also came from a low income background with various disorders running around with the people I lived with. Tell them your story, and why you love math, but most importantly be specific about why you want to enroll in THEIR program. If what you say about their program can be said about any other program (even another top tier school) it's not specific enough. Just read about good college essays in general. My sister got into Harvard on her essays more than anything according to her adviser, so that should tell you something about how important they are.

    You will be asked in your application if you're a first generation college student. That will look good no matter where you apply.

    Your letters of recommendation should reflect both your work ethic and your proficiency in your major. Have professors who know you write them. Be sure to wave your right to view the letters so they don't hold anything back. The last thing you want an admissions clerk to see is a letter filled with platitudes and jargon that could apply to anyone, and that's more likely to be what's written if the professors think you'll see it. Quality>quantity too. If you only know 1 or 2 professors really well, don't go to your English professor and ask them to write about how you came to class all the time and how much your opinions line up with theirs. That's an extreme example, but you get my point.

    If those schools don't pan out, I know UC San Diego and the other UC Schools all have good transfer assistance and strong math programs. They all value people with associates degrees already, so research the programs in each school and see if something clicks. Upper division courses and research opportunities were what made me choose my school over some others, so shop around.

    Edit: Grammar
  4. Aug 3, 2015 #3
    Thank you PhotonSSBM for your input. It was greatly appreciated. Going back to what you said about my course rigor, I have taken up to all Calc. III, Linear Algebra and Diff. Eq. I will take up your advice and contact the transferring counseling center as you have suggested and I will definitely work on figuring out who to contact for my recommendation letters. I didn't really get close with any of my instructors except for one, but he ended up getting arrested. So, I will try my best to find instructors who are willing to write me one. Thanks again for your input!

  5. Aug 3, 2015 #4
    I'm sure any professor who has an excellent student in a low-income community in an upper division math course will have good things to say, since I know from experience that doesn't happen too often. Good luck to you.
  6. Aug 4, 2015 #5


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    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Have you checked out assist.org? If you haven't completed the courses listed as required for UCB, don't even bother applying. Luckily for a BA in math they don't require much, did the you complete the IGETC?
  7. Aug 4, 2015 #6
    Thank you for your reply and yes I have completed the IGETC. Also, I have taken all the courses required to transfer to UCB according to assist.org
  8. Aug 4, 2015 #7


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    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    That's good, having the IGETC done really improves your chances of acceptance to UCB. If I were you though I would also apply to UCSB if you want to stay around your geographic region. Other UC system schools are also an option. I went to UCSD.
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