UC Berkeley is a large public research university in California's Bay Area, and last year, its Haas School of Business debuted its Global Management Program (GMP). I've always been passionate about using my skills and resources to make an international social impact, so GMP seemed tailor-made for me.
After living less than an hour from Berkeley for the past decade, seeing countless friends choose to attend, and falling in love with the campus, committing to Berkeley was a no-brainer. I've now been at UC Berkeley for 6 months and I've been fortunate enough to gain a Berkeley education both on the main campus and in a study abroad placement in London. I couldn't be more content with my experience.
I was accepted to Berkeley and the GMP program in February as part of early admissions and immediately knew I would accept. The following few tips helped me get in, and I hope they help you maximize your chances as well!
1. Know why you want to attend:
Admissions officers are tasked with navigating a massive pool of applicants (especially for the UC system) to find people who will use the resources their university has to offer in the most impactful way possible. You need to be able to articulate why you're that candidate to the admissions officers. Before deciding to apply to a university, conduct thorough research on the resources, classes, campus, alumni and most importantly your desired institution. Not every college I researched felt like the right fit, but the more I learned about UC Berkeley, the more I was convinced I wanted to go there. Once you can identify what it is that makes you a good fit for a particular college, you'll have a much easier time articulating in your essays why you're the candidate the admissions officers are looking for.
2. Be unique:
This tip seems cliché, but its importance can't be emphasized enough. Admission officers read hundreds to thousands of essays each season, and the ideas they contain can easily get lost within the pile. The reality is that every applicant is a very different person, yet many will try to tailor their writing to what they think the reader wants to hear. Instead, write your essay how YOU want, and let your distinct style and content make a lasting impression on the reader. For me, this felt very risky. My essays seemed overly forthright in comparison to many others I had read. But this meant my writing was different from what others wrote. That's exactly what I wanted.
3. Find your passion:
UC Berkeley and other top universities admit students who have narrowed their interests and have dedicated genuine amounts of time and effort to them. In high school, test out every academic and extracurricular opportunity you can until you're able to identify what topics and kind of work genuinely pique your interest! Once you've narrowed down what interests you most, spend your time building your knowledge and expertise, thus allowing you to have the most impact. For me, this meant testing out nearly every club on my high school's campus before focusing my time on the business organizations and my nonprofit, Fremont Debate Academy. Find the organizations that are most interesting to you and dedicate your time to them so that you can have an enriching experience in high school.
UC Berkeley is amazing, and my peers in the GMP cohort are exceptional. These tips will help you as you find your own niche during your high school journey and search for a college that is just right for you. Good luck, and of course, GO BEARS!
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