|By imagineer on Saturday, January 12, 2002 - 04:56 am: Edit|
I'm currently attending a community college in the Bay Area with the hope of transferring to UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design. I've already compleated my apps and I'm all set for the course requirements. My concern is the grades that I just recieved for this last semester (fall '01). I had dificulty with a Calc course I took over the summer and it had a devastating effect on my 3.0 gpa I was holding. I took the class again this last semeter and got a C, but the extra work I had to put into it drew my attention away from my other 4 classes. I recieved 1 A in Architecture history and C's in all the rest. These last four included the Calc class, US History, Macro-economics, and Construction materials (which was truly a shock since I went into the consturction final with a solid B and left with a very good feeling about how I did on the exam). Despite the fact that it does little to improve my GPA, I'm worried about what the admission officers will think when they see all of the C's in this semester when I regularly recieved B's throughout the last three semesters (I started in spring of '00). Will they think that I flaked out, or will they take into account the difficulty that I had with calculus. Is there anyone who either knows someone or is someone who has been in a similar situation? If so, how did you/they fair?
|By George Meany on Saturday, January 12, 2002 - 07:56 pm: Edit|
I'm no admissions guru, but I think your ~3.0 is going to stick out and require some explaning. One of the big things the top schools look for in transfers is how well you can handle the work at a CC. If, for whatever reason, you're having a tough time at the CC level, then my guess would be that a Berkeley admissions person would seriously question your ability to do well there. Again, that's just my non-professional opinion. Maybe the other experts here can correct me if I'm wrong.
|By imagineer on Saturday, January 12, 2002 - 11:34 pm: Edit|
Thanks for writing back George! I can see where you're coming from, but I think you're thinking the same way I did before I really started researching the possibility of transferring to Berkeley. First, there are far fewer applicants to Berkeley as a transfer student than straight out of high school. Berkeley reported that a mere 8,000+ applied to the env. design college and they accepted around 2,800+. Because of this, the competition is far lower than that between the 28,000+ that apply straight out of High School. Second, the transfer rate from my community college to UC Berkeley is very high, and most of those that transfer to Berkeley have gpa's of 3.0 and above. Still, there are a large number of students from my college which transferred with 2.6 gpa's. So my concern really isn't the GPA (especially since Berkeley stated that they accept gpa's as low as 2.4 IF you're a resident). My main concern is what they'll think when they see my sudden drop in grades. I know that in High School, a sudden drop in grades usually meant that the student suddenly stopped trying. But I'm wonderring if they'll consider my difficulties with Calc. In my application essay, I made a one sentence referrance to my perserverance in Calc, so I'm hoping that they'll think "well, it looks like he needed to shift his focuss onto passing calc and that caused his other classes to suffer". As I already stated, the vast majority of my grades are B's, and I have no other areas in my record where so many bad grades occurred in such a short time span. Wat do you think?
|By George Meany on Sunday, January 13, 2002 - 09:22 pm: Edit|
Maybe you should expand that one-sentence explanation into a carefully worded follow-up clarification. Also, it might help if you could get an advisor or a prof to back you up with a letter. Those just seem like obvious approaches to me. Again, I'm no expert. Maybe Dave might have a chance to comment on this once he sees it.
|By Dave Berry on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 09:48 am: Edit|
George, maybe you should hang out your "college counselor" shingle. Your advice to imagineer is pretty much in the ballpark. I would refine it a bit, though, by adding that the overall key to your success at Berkeley, imagineer, is essentially marketing communications.
While I'm a bit surprised to hear that Berkeley will admit a 2.4, I don't think you should assume that they'll routinely overlook low GPAs in general. Colleges, especially in the Berkeley category, won't be happy with your downward grade trend. That's why you need to communicate with them--as George suggests, both on your own and through your teachers and/or counselors--all the contributing "evidence" that supports your case. As I've suggested in other threads on our board regarding overturning deferrals and waitlistings, you should find out the name of the specific admissions rep at Berkeley who is handling your application. Then you can undertake a campaign of personal contact that will cut through all the red tape. Nothing will enhance your chances for admission as much as developing a personal (as much as possible under the circumstances) association with this person. Don't become a pest, but be certain to reveal all the factors associated with your situation.
Best wishes for your transfer, imagineer. Let us know what happens, will you?
|By Imagineer on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 06:18 pm: Edit|
Thanks for responding Dave! I agree with and uderstand most of what you're saying. However, Berkeley has stated that they do not solicit nor accept letters of recommendations (if thats what you mean by communication). I do plan on meeting with my regular counselor to review possible steps I can take to ensure my entrance into Berkeley. I don't really know of anything that he can do for me, but I will definitely be asking. In regards to you're last suggestion (finding out who is handling my application), I had no idea that any such information would be available to a student. I was told by ALL counselors at my college that whining about academic performance is the biggest NO-NO an applicant can do. Now, chances are that they have all been taught the same thing and it could just be inaccurate. Nevertheless, can you please expand on this suggestion so that I might be able to persue it? Many Thanks - Imagineer
p.s. - if you would like to review the basic addmissions requirements of the CED(Env. Des.) at Berkeley, you can see their addmissions information on their website at www.berkeley.edu
|By Dave Berry on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 08:46 pm: Edit|
I agree about whining being bad. However, there's a difference between whining and rational explanations. If you feel that you have a reasonable set of circumstances for your situation that could have a pivotal bearing on your application, then by all means feel free to express it objectively and concisely.
I can cite instances where a student has been rejected by a certain school and then followed up after the rejection with an explanation only to hear from the admissions rep, "Oh, wow, if only we had known about that before we made our decision!" The simple fact is that you won't be rejected because of your additional (non-whining) information. If you are rejected, it will be because you didn't measure up to the competition in your applicant pool.
Bottom line: If you don't present your case as thoroughly and convincingly as possible, no one else will, that's for sure. You seem to have a decent way with words, Imagineer, so why not put that to good use with your application? Again, best wishes on your Berkeley quest.
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