I remember being massively stressed this time last year, attending as many personal statement workshops and UC admissions information sessions at my junior college to feel more comfortable about the whole transfer process. As of today, the transfer applicant would only have sixteen days left until the UC application deadline, wherein it is encouraged that he/she submits it sooner to avoid heavy online traffic. The purpose of this blog entry thus, is to give prospective Haas transfer students unofficial and informal tips to coming up with a more competitive application.
I am a mentor at the Starting Point Mentorship Program. Starting Point matches community college students with UC Berkeley student mentors to provide them guidance, motivation and access to campus resources. Having a couple of Haas hopeful mentees and having been in their same position, I have a general idea as to what transfer applicants are most concerned about.
#1 Apply only once you can show planned completion of all your Haas requirements by the Spring prior to your intended Fall transfer.
Applying to Haas as a transfer is excessively difficult in comparison to other colleges in Cal, or just UC’s in general. First of, the Haas Undergraduate School of Business does not accept I-GETC as a transfer requirement. Hence, it is extremely important to be familiar with Haas’s specific major pre-reqs. The Haas website shows a admissions rate of 6.2% based on the Fall 2012 class profile. While this fact can be daunting, looking further into the statistics, one can see that 70% of applicants did not show planned completion of the required courses. Their applications were therefore not considered. Make Assist.org your best friend. Fill up the SAR (Self-Reported Academic Record) to ensure that you are on track. Otherwise, your application will not be eligible for review.
#2 Convey passion in the personal statements.
Majority of Haas applicants have competitive GPAs, so the personal statement is your only opportunity to stand out. More than anything, I love Haas because of the passion and drive that I see from my peers and the school’s faculty. In your essay, try to express your passion for business and demonstrate your leadership potential. The first prompt asks how your interest for business developed and that you cite examples of your experience in the field. In my opinion, it would be wise to focus on a specific experience and describe its impact on your decision to pursue your major. What about that circumstance inspired you to get into business? How has getting involved in a particular internship or campus organization reinforced your interest? I suggest this only because you have already enumerated your list of extracurriculars and leadership activities in other sections of the application. The personal statement is your chance to expound on one of them more elaborately; elucidate how that experience has impacted you or others.
As you may know, Haas is most distinguished for our Four Defining Principles, namely: (1) Question the Status Quo; (2) Confidence Without Attitude; (3) Students Always; and (4) Beyond Yourself. These characteristics sharply define the Haas culture. While you will be writing about them in January for your supplementary essay, it would not hurt to incorporate these themes into the two prompts due in two weeks. I feel showing that you adopt these hallmarks would be a great way to differentiate yourself from other applicants. Ultimately, look into the Haas admissions criteria for a clearer understanding of what successful candidates exhibit.
#3 Familiarize yourself with the Haas’s Transfer Admission Website
Believe it or not, I spent long hours reading the answers to FAQs on the Haas Transfer Admission Website. A lot of the questions my Starting Point mentees are concerned about have actually already been answered by the Haas admissions office. I suggest printing the transfer requirements pages, that way you can highlight the most important information that are relevant to your transfer process. It is just a matter of taking your own initiative to learning what qualities or skills the potential student will need to have in order to get into the prestigious business program.
For example, I have received numerous questions about whether or not Haas only reviews applications of 4.0 students. I personally did not have a 4.0 upon transfer, but hey, I am in Haas. Such questions are addressed in the Myths & FAQs page. Be familiar with the website and save yourself the time of having to stay longer in your community college to complete the unfulfilled, missed requirements, and the stress and anxiety of not knowing how Haas admissions work.
There really is no secret to the Haas admissions. Show that you are prepared for the Haas culture through your pre-req and elective lower division courses, be honest in filling out information on the extra-curriculars and honors/awards section, and finally, present yourself and your passion for business as effectively possible in the essays. With that, good luck to the transfer applicants intending to enter the Haas Class of 2015!
**For prospective transfer students reading this entry who will not be applying until next year or later, get to know the resources available to you at your community colleges. Check-in with Haas’s pre-admissions advising or visit the Transfer, Re-entry, & Student Parent Center at Cal. Use various programs such as Starting Point, Transfer Alliance Project, Center for Educational Partnerships, etc., to your advantage.
Feel free to leave a comment or shoot us an e-mail for any questions/concerns.
Class of 2014
Disclaimer: Views or opinions presented in this blog post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Haas admissions office or Haas blog staff.