UC Berkeley

Berkeley Now Accepting Two Recommendations

Berkeley Now Accepting Two Recommendations

UC Berkeley announced that it will begin accepting two recommendation letters from its freshmen applicants beginning this fall.

UC Berkeley undergraduate admissions has not welcomed recommendations since it opened its doors in 1868, yet admission criteria to the UCs (and Berkeley) have been in the throes of change over the last years.


The English Major

The English Major

No matter how one might feel about the utility of the English major, it remains to this day the ninth most popular major among the 50 majors recognized by the Department of Education.

What accounts for its popularity might be difficult to determine because the major itself can differ widely school to school, or even within the same school.

Making your UC Personal Statement

Making your UC Personal Statement

For the first time in recent history, the UC Admissions site goes live on the same day as the Common Application: August 1st.

If you’re going to be a senior next year, it might not be a bad idea to celebrate by writing the first draft of your UC Personal Statement now. As the websites at most the UC campuses advise, applicants should take ample time to brainstorm, write, revise and burnish their essays. It is essential to do as good a job as possible on the personal statements as they are key components in the UC selection process at most of the campuses.

UC Davis, the UC System’s Pearl of the Sacramento Valley


  • UC Davis Applications Rise 2012
  • The Bike Culture
  • Challenging Academics
  • UG Research Emphasis
  • Run by Students for Students

Despite the buffets of budget cuts, the UC System is more popular than ever. This year, UC applications hit over 161,000, up 13% from last year. UC Davis, located just 15 miles west of Sacramento, best known for its biology, agriculture, and engineering programs, was up 5% from a year earlier with slightly more than 62,000 applications. This in the face of the ill-conceived Davis police pepper spraying of students protesting student tuition increases. The steady rise of applications-despite the pepper spray gaff-speaks to the resources and boundless educational opportunities Davis offers.

Davis is a large campus of over 23,500 undergraduates, yet, it has a much smaller and personal feel. Some of this can be attributed to its ‘bike culture.’ The campus consists of 5,300 mostly flat acres—including a 100-acre arboretum and over a thousand buildings webbed together by an extensive network of bike paths. A bike is essential student transportation at Davis. To keep the paths safe, there is a bicycle police force empowered to write tickets for infractions-even for issuing BUI (biking under the influence) citations.

Chances are the academic workload will not allow for many BUIs, as the 10-week quarter system, and the usual load of 3-4 classes, will demand the full sober attention of most students. If this academic pace doesn’t challenge, then possibly an invitation to Davis’s Integrated Learning Program, which is by selection from the incoming freshman class, or the Davis Honor’s program, which any ambitious freshman or sophomore might elect to enroll in, will ratchet up the challenge.

Davis is demanding. The College of Engineering, offering 15 majors, from biomedical to optical engineering, enrolling over 5,000 students, has a national reputation. The College of Agriculture has one of the top pre-veterinary medical programs in the country, and the best viticulture (winemaking) program; it also offers pre-professional programs in Landscape Architecture and Managerial Economics (reminiscent of Cornell U:niversity’s College of Agriculture with its variety of applied economics degrees).

If the rigors of a major are not enough of a challenge, or, to the contrary, are too overwhelming, changing majors, or even colleges, can be done with relative ease. Davis acknowledges that over three-quarters of its students will change majors at least once, and it seeks to accommodate. Within majors and departments there are faculty advisors, though most of the best advising comes from peers who are familiar with the structure of majors, the professors, and the challenging courses, and helps an advisee plan accordingly.

Davis places an emphasis on undergraduate research and internships. Davis’s ICC program assists students in obtaining research and internship positions. Over half of the UC Davis undergraduates work on research with a faculty member before they graduate; annually, more than 5,000 perform internships. Furthermore, to abet research efforts, Davis’s library system has over 3.5 million volumes, making it the 48th largest college library collection in the country and, through the UC Melville System, a student can access all books and resources from any UC library collection. A bus even runs regularly to UC Berkeley’s 27 libraries and 10.1 million volumes (the 5th largest library in the country) should a personal search there be required.

UC Davis, in many areas excluding its police department, sports an air of great efficiency. One key reason is it is a college that is run, to a great degree, by students for students. The campus’s Unisys bus system, which contains a preponderance of double decker British buses, is completely composed of student bus drivers. The Davis fire department consists of UC student volunteers. The COHO student union, which houses in its basement 18 bowling lanes, is almost completely run by students.

Davis, like many large public universities, is what you make of it. There is no reason a student cannot attain a Rhodes Scholarship, play on one of Davis’s 27 Division I teams, and become a volunteer fireman while majoring in viticulture, and minoring in chemistry or classical studies. Davis has the tools, departments, and people to enable unparalleled intellectual growth; the rest is up to you.   

Ralph Becker, Ivy College Prep, LLC, is a resident of Long Beach, he has been counseling students for the last 7 years. A former Yale Alumni Interviewer, he has a college counseling certification from UCLA Extension, and is the author of SAT Vocab 800 Books A, B, C, & D.


UC Davis, Sacramento Valley 위치한 UC 진주

  • 2012 application 접수 증가
  • 자전거 문화
  • 우수한 Academics
  • UG 리서치 강조
  • 학생자율 차지제도

엄청난 예산삭감에도 불구하고 UC대학들은 여전히 인기를 누리고 있다.  올해는 지난해 보다 원서가 13%상승하고 161,000개나 쌓였다.  UC Davis는 Sacramento에서 15마일 떨어진 곳에 위치하며, 생물학, 농학, 공학이 유명하다.  올해 원서는 5%가 상승한 62,000장이 접수되었다.  이번에 Davis경찰이 등록금 상승에 반대하는 학생을 향해 pepper spray를 뿌린 상황에도 원서의 꾸준한 상승은 Davis가 제공하는 우수한 교육기회와 자원을 증명하는 것이다.

Davis는 23,500명의 학부생이 있는 큰 캠퍼스임에도 불구하고, 작고도 개인적인 분위기를 갖게 한다.  이것은 ‘자전거 문화’때문이다.  캠퍼스가 5,300에이크의 평지로 100에이크의 식물원과 1000개가 넘는 빌딩이 자전거길로 연결되어 있다.  이 길을 안전하게 하기 위해 담당 경찰은 BUI (biking under the influence:음주금지) 티켓을 주며 지키고 있다.

위반자들은 10주간으로 이루어지는 쿼터제에서 3-4과목을 신청하기 어렵다.  정말 맑은 정신으로 공부해야 한다.  그래도 더 집약적인 공부를 원한다면, Integrated Learning Program을 신청하거나 Davis Honor’ program에 들 수 있다.  정말 도전을 하게 될 것이다.

Davis는 쉽지 않다.  공학대학은 15개의 전공으로 biomedial에서 안경공학까지 다양하며 5,000명의 학생이 있다.  농과대학은 전국에서 가장 우수한 수의학 예과와 비티컬쳐 (포도재배학)이 있다; 조경학과 경영경제학도 제공한다(Cornell 대학 농과대학의 다양한 응용경제학과 유사하다).

여기서는 공부가 너무 도전적인지 아니면 힘들든지 쉽든지, 전공 바꾸기가 상대적으로 쉽다.  ¾의 학생들이 적어도 한번 전공을 바꾼다.  그래서 전공 상담교수가 있어서 상담을 하여 가장 적절한 전공으로 안내하고 있다.

Davis는 학부의 리서치와 인턴십을 강조한다.  ICC프로그램은 학생들이 이런 기회를 갖도록 돕고 있다.  ½의 학부생이 교수와 함께 졸업 전에 리서치 기회를 갖는다; 또한 매년 5,000명이 인턴십을 가진다.  더욱이 이것을 돕기 위해 도서관은 전국에서 48위에 해당하는 3.5million의 책을 보유하고 있으며, UC Melvill system으로 학생들은 모든 UC 도서관의 책을 빌릴 수 있다.  더욱이 UC Berkeley의 27개의 도서관(전국 5위)과 10.1million의 책을 볼 수 있도록 왕복버스가 운행되고 있다. 

UC Davis는 경찰부서를 제외하고는 정말 효능적이다.  중요한 요인은 학생에 의해 운영되어 진다는 것이다.  캠퍼스의 Unisys버스체계는 2층의 영국스타일의 버스로 학생에 의해 운영되어 진다.  소방소는 학생들의 자원자들로 구성되어 있다.  COHO학생회는 18개의 볼링라인을 갖고 학생에 의해 운영되고 있다.

Davis는 다른 큰 공립대학들과 같이 여러분이 원하는 것을 찾을 수 있다.  포도재배학을 전공하면서 화학이나 고전을 부전공으로 택하면서, Rhodes 장학금을 받을 수도 있고, 27개의 운동부서에서 활동할 수 있고, 소방관으로 자원할 수 있다.  Davis는 가능한 도구와 전공부서를 갖고 있고, 비교할 수 없는 지성을 쌓을 수 있는 곳이다.  나머지는 여러분에게 달려 있다.

Generating Ideas and the Brainstorming Myth

Creating a club, devising an original project, or generating a college essay, often begins with ‘brainstorming’. Brainstorming originated in the late 1940’s when Alex Osborn, a partner at the advertising agency BBDO, wrote his groundbreaking book Your Creative Power.  In it, he introduced his creative juggernaut, “using the brain to storm a creative problem—and doing so in a commando fashion.” (p. 22 “Groupthink” by Jonah Lehrer, The New Yorker, 30 January 2012: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/30/120130fa_fact_lehrer)

A Question of Aptitude: Discovering your Major

A Question of Aptitude: Discovering your Major

College is expensive. Over a hundred colleges (with UC Berkeley for out-of-state students among them) now cost over $50,000 a year, and the price keeps escalating at a 4-6% clip. Yet college can also be difficult and confusing. Only 30% of the students in public, and 53% in private colleges graduate in four years. Some students never graduate, while others have lengthy and expensive stays. There are a number of reasons students do not have timely graduations, but one that truly impedes progress is indecision over what to major in. Some sources report more than 80% of the students change their major after matriculating, with some changing majors 2 to 3 times. What then is a good method of determining your major?  

How Colleges and Salaries Match Up

There will always be endless debates about whether an Ivy League school or other highly selective school is worth the price of admission. Now, however, there is hard evidence about the actual payback for attending a certain school. Not that this information is the last word in these debates, but it certainly supplies the numbers one might want to see  when sharpening the pencil and figuring out what are the probable returns associated with attending an UC San Diego instead of a Princeton.

The Value of Self-evaluation in the Admissions Process

  • Learn what you want from College
  • Start Early
Many students become overwhelmed when it comes time to create a list of prospective colleges. Most have never done anything like this before: How do you get started? What criteria do you need? Among the 2,400 potential schools, which are the best matches?  The best starting point, ironically, is not with the colleges but with the student. Students need to ask themselves some questions: What type of educational methods work best for them? What kind of academic atmosphere best fits their learning style? What college environment do they prefer? Where do they want to live for four years? What kind of social environment is preferred? This list isn't exhaustive, but it's a good place to start. Granted, some of these terms might seem too vague, so let me go through each. All students learn differently. Some students want to apply what they learn in school to the real world. Consequently, a school like Kalamazoo (in Michigan) which integrates internships with classes, might be worth consideration. Other students might prefer theoretical models; for them the research universities might be a better place to attend (UC Berkeley or Yale). Some students enjoy attacking one subject at a time, in depth, instead of taking five courses per semester. A school like Colorado College, with its block program which allows a student to concentrate on one subject for a month and a half, might be a good selection. The permutations are endless. Academic atmosphere can greatly affect many students. Some students aren't comfortable in big lecture halls listening to a professor with 500 other students. They might absolutely fade in a big state university like the University of Colorado, Boulder. Other students thrive in close relationships with a professor guiding them through the complexities of biochemistry at a small school such as Grinnell or Carleton. Other students might need the motivation of a teacher to get them engaged in a subject. Schools such as Allegheny College in Pennsylvania are perfect for this type of student. The key to the process is to ask what your strengths and weaknesses are and honestly answer. Chances are you'll find schools that address what you want. College environment is defined by shared interests. For example, if you don't care for football, then going to USC or Notre Dame might prove to be a bad decision. Some students are keen on liberal politics and social causes: Bard College or UC Berkeley might then be good choices. Other schools are more academically focused: places where students willingly will spend Saturday night in the campus library without any feeling of deprivation. Reed College is such a place. Location can account for a lot. Geographically, where do you want to live? Next, do you prefer a rural, suburban, or an urban environment? Some students want to study on a pretty campus. Pepperdine and Furman (South Carolina) are two of the most beautiful campuses. Learn what's important to you. Consider a school's social environment. Greek Life (fraternities and sororities) can strongly influence it. A lot of schools in the South and East have large portions of their student body in fraternities. You best know which, if this is an issue. Separately, some students prefer living in residential colleges where it's easy to meet a range of students. University of Pennsylvania's house system, might be a perfect answer. Two sources are recommended in the self-evaluation process: How to Get into the Top Colleges by Richard Montauk, Prentice Hall, 2006 has an extensive list of questions (pages 32-38) to spur on even the most timid students; and, Fiske Guide to Colleges 2009 by Edward Fiske, Sourcebooks, Inc. 2008 has detailed descriptions covering academics, social life and quality of life. Both will help make a seeming overwhelming process manageable, maybe even enjoyable. Ralph Becker Founder, Ivy College Prep LLC -------------------------------------- 스스로 어떤 대학을 원하는지 아는 것이 중요하다.
  • 여러분은 어떤 대학을 원하는가
  • 일찍 시작하라
많은 학생들이 대학 지원 리스트를 만들 때 압박감을 받는다.  대부분 이런 일을 해본 적이 없었기 때문이다:  어떻게 시작해야 하나?  어떤 기준을 가져야 하나?  2400개나 되는 대학 중에서 어느 대학이 자신과 가장 잘 맞는가?  가장 좋은 출발점은 대학이 아니라 학생중심에서 시작되어야 한다. 학생들은 스스로 몇 가지 질문을 해보아야 한다: 어떤 교육방법이 본인에게 가장 잘 맞는가?  어떤 학업 분위기가 본인의 학습형태와 맞는가?  어떤 대학 환경을 선호하는가?  어느 곳에서 대학 4년을 보내고 싶은가?  어떤 사회환경을 더 선호하는가?  이 정도가 전부는 아니지만, 우선적으로 시작해야 하는 질문들이다.  어떤 질문들은 너무 막연하지만, 자세히 살펴보도록 하자. 먼저, 모든 학생들은 배우는 방법이 다르다.  어떤 학생들은 학교에서 배운 것을 실생활에서 적용하기를 원한다.  결과적으로 Kalamazoo in Michigan 같은 학교는 수업과 인턴쉽을 통합하고 있어 고려할 만하다.  어떤 학생들은 학구적인 모델을 더 선호한다: 이런 학생들에게는 UC Berkeley, Yale 이 맞다.  어떤 학생들은 한학기에 5과목을 수강하는 것보다는 한 주제를 깊이있게 자세히 공부하는 것을 즐긴다.  Colorado College 같은 대학에서는 한 과목을 한달 반동안 집중할 수 있으므로 그 학생들에게는 좋은 선택이 될 수 있다.  다양성은 끝이 없다. 공부분위기는 학생들에게 영향력이 크다.  어떤 학생들은 한 교수가 500명에게 강의하는 대강당 수업이 편하지 않을 수 있다.  이런 학생들은 University of Colorado, Boulder 같은 큰 주립대학에서는 적응이 안된다.  어떤 학생들은 Grinnell, Carleton 같은 작은 대학에서 biochemistry 의 복합성에 대하여 교수와 친밀감속에서 공부하는 것이 더 공부가 잘 될 수 있다.  어떤 학생들은 교수가 주는 동기유발을 필요로 할 수 있다.  이런 학생들은 Allegheny College in Pennsylvania 가 잘 맞다.  어떤 대학을 선호하는지는 여러분의 강점과 약점을 잘 고려하여 솔직한 답을 찾아야  한다.  정말 여러분이 원하는 대학을 찾을 때 기회는 온다. 대학의 환경은 서로 흥미를 공유하는 것으로 정의할 수 있다.  예를 들면, 여러분이 미식축구에 관심이 없다면, USC, Notre Dame 대학 선택은 좋은 결정이 아닐 수 있다.  어떤 학생은 정치와 사회 이슈에 관심이 많다: Bard College, UC Berkeley가 좋은 선택이 될 수 있다.  어떤 대학은 학문에 초점이 맞추어진다:  토요일 밤에도 도서관이 꽉차는 대학이 잘 맞다.  Reed College가 이런 곳이다. 위치도 중요하다.  지리적으로 어떤 곳에 살고 싶은가?  또한, 대도시, 도시주변, 혹은 전원지역을 선호하는가?  어떤 학생은 아름다운 캠퍼스에서 공부하고 싶어한다.  Pepperdine, Furman in South Carolina가 가장 아름다운 곳들이다.  어떤 점이 여러분에게 중요한지 알아야 한다. 대학의 사회환경을 고려하자.  이런 점에서는 서구적인 남녀사교단체가 강하게 영향력을 미칠 수 있다.  남부와 동부에서는 많은 대학들이 fraternity 단체의 영향이 크다.  이것이 여러분에게 중요하다면, 잘 알 것이다.  어떤 학생은 많은 학생을 만날 수 있는 대학내의 주거환경을 선호한다.  이런 학생에게는 University of Pennsylvania 의 환경이 정답이 된다. 2권의 참고도서가 자기평가에 도움이 된다.  How to Get into the Top Colleges의 여러 질문들이 어디에서 시작할 지 걱정하는 학생들에게 많은 질문을 주면서 해결점을 줄 수 있다.  또한 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2009도 큰 도움이 된다.  2008년판은 학문적, 사회적, 대학생활의 질에 대한 자세한 설명이 있다.  이 2권이 해결하기 어려운 문제에 도움을 주며 즐거운 과정으로 이끌어 갈 것이다.

Researching Colleges

The importance of researching colleges and how to do it.
  • Strategies essential in conducting research
  • Resources useful for the task
One part of the admissions process that is often a bit neglected, is doing the research on potential college fits. Many students, and their parents, pull together a preliminary list of colleges based mainly upon college ratings, rankings, reputations, and opinions; that's human nature. But there is more to the research process than graduating near the top of your class and immediately applying to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and then UCLA and UC Berkeley as your "safety schools". Today every applicant to a selective US college is facing stiff competition; most knowledgeable students and their families recognize this reality. Whether you believe it or not, even if you're the next Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, it's not a bad idea to research colleges of interest.  Furthermore, while you're going through the research process, it is critical to prepare a list of "reach" colleges-colleges that will be a challenge to gain entry, "target" colleges-colleges where you stand a good chance of acceptance, and "safety" colleges-colleges that will admit you, with very good assurance.  This coming admissions season will be the most competitive ever. The demographics confirm it. So, looking at a range of schools, and really getting to know your short list of the most promising and appealing is not just a good idea, but an essential strategy for dealing with what's ahead. Beyond these strategic necessities, there are some other reasons why research is now more important than ever before. Even if you're lucky enough to gain acceptance into your college picks, tuitions, fees, books, and room and board are becoming substantial expenses. Even if expenses are reduced through grants, or 'in state' status, the time a student invests to gain an education is not trivial: nowadays, in many institutions, taking 5-6 years to finish school is becoming less and less unusual. So, not knowing what you're getting into before you get there is plain foolish. To create a preliminary list of colleges upon which to research, some key questions need to be answered: location/setting-which regions of the country are of interest--; campus life-what school size is appealing, is it possible to live on-campus?; academic resources and requirements-does the student prefer a specialized program of study, e.g. pre-med, engineering, fine arts, or liberal arts?; extracurricular activities-study abroad programs, job internships through alumni networks, theater or intramural sports...Answering these types of questions is a good start. One standard college guide, Fiske Guide to Colleges 2008, has a "Sizing up the Survey," which you can use to guide you through this step. Assuming your preferences have led you to produce a preliminary list of schools, and remember, this is only a preliminary list, you can always make whatever changes you wish, now you are ready to get started. The first step is to grab a reliable, current guide, and read through, completely, a description of the university in question. The guide I mentioned above, The Fiske Guide, is a good source for a number of the leading selective schools. In addition, a very useful website, "College Navigator,"  mentioned previously in this column, will also give you a lot of the basic information you need to determine how well a school matches up with a student's needs. Here you'll find general information (including the school's mission statement), estimated expenses (that are pretty accurate, as this site is the government agency that gathers the FAFSA information), financial aid, enrollment, admissions, retention (what percentage of students actually graduate in 4, 5, or 6 years), programs and majors (and the number of students taking each major), and campus security. With this information, you a have a good foundation, but you still need to get more information to gain a better grasp of the school. Go to the school's website and take a general tour.  Let's assume that Dartmouth College is on your list. Then you'll want to go to Dartmouth's general information site, http://www.dartmouth.edu/apply/generalinfo/.  Here you'll find all the basic information, but there is a lot more that might give you a better feel of the campus and the students. There is a virtual tour, both video and still images, and blogs by current students, to gain an even better insight into the daily life of a student. If you have a specific interest in a department within Dartmouth, you can also go to its news site and sign up for a newsletter: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~news/features/sites/ .  There's even a site for Dartmouth experts, with biographies, one of whom, David Kang, is a noted expert on North Korea.  One other area to examine, if you're looking at a specific department, such as Physics or French, is the list of majors and their courses. This will give you a good idea of the course selection and major requirements. If you have specific information you're attempting to glean from a site, and it's not readily found, you can always enlist Google University: (http://www.google.com/options/universities.html), which allows a student to a search over whichever university website she wishes, using the Google Search engine. Sometimes, because the breadth of information available on colleges can seem virtually limitless, it’s not a bad idea to pull together a checklist with the specific information you want to find out about various schools, before you begin an extensive search. This will also allow you to customize your search to specific interests, and make the process that much more focused. Let’s assume you’re interested in MIT, and have a strong interest in studying physics. You can actually take a MIT Physics class on their website. MIT is part of OpenCourseWare, a group of universities that supplies complete courses, videos of lectures, booklists, tests, syllabi, all free, on-line. If you mention, on your application, should you decide to apply, that you have already worked through their 1999 class on Classical Physics, it tells the admissions office that you have done your homework and are more prepared to take advantage of the full scope of activities that MIT has to offer. By the way, the link to the physics class is: http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Physics/8-01Physics-IFall1999/CourseHome/index.htm. Your aim is to arrive at a list of 7-8 colleges (with the state university systems counting as one) containing reaches, targets, and safeties. Your research will lead you to schools, regardless of selectivity, that you like a lot.  I have had students that were so taken with one of  their “safety” schools, that it became difficult for them to choose where to go, when they were accepted to all of their schools. More importantly, don’t think this is a useless exercise. Researching your future is an invaluable skill that will come into play throughout your life (e.g. graduate schools, job searches).  So, do it well and look beyond the famous colleges: there are over 2,000 four-year schools awaiting your investigation. You might just fine some gems if you venture off the beaten track. Ralph Becker Founder, Ivy College Prep LLC -----------------------------------